Erie Basin Marina and Gardens

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Location / Directions / Maps

Location: On the northeast end of Lake Erie; within the Buffalo Harbor; City of Buffalo; Erie County; New York.

Maps: Google mapBing Maps (Bird’s-eye)Multi-map (topo)Interactive map

GPS: Gardens: N 42.87884 / W 78.88733
Entrance to parking: N 42.87935 / W 78.88764
The Hatch: N 42.87902 / W 78.88784
Overlook tower: N 42.88447 / W 78.88999

Directions: From Buffalo: Take Elmwood Ave south. It becomes Lower Terrace. Make a right on Erie St. and follow it to the marina.

From Erie/Dunkirk (south): You can follow Rt 5 (Lakeshore Rd.) north into Buffalo and over the Buffalo Skyway. Take the exit toward Seneca St. Follow signs for Pearl St and merge onto Pearl St. Continue onto Commercial St. Turn right onto Marine Dr and then left onto Erie St. Follow it to the marina.

Use Google Directions.

Parking: The lot to the north (right as you enter the marina on Erie St.) is free parking. Do not park in front of the slips – that is for slip-owners only. If parking at the marina is full, roadside parking is available along Erie St. to the east. There are also pay lots further east under the Skyway.

Information / Accessibility / Accommodations

Latest Buffalo, New York, weather conditions and forecastSeasons/Hours: You can walk along the marina and lake all day/night. The Hatch restaurant, ice cream stand, boat launch, and restrooms are open seasonally and hours vary. Check here for specifics.

Admission: Free.

Best time to visit: Summer.

Time: A walk around Erie St will take about 30 minutes if you rush it. Take some time to have lunch at The Hatch, get ice cream, watch boats come and go, browse the gardens, and climb the tower, and it can take a few hours.

Handicap accessibility: Yes, paved sidewalks all the way.

Pets: No dogs allowed in the marina.

Swimming: Not allowed.

Boat launch: The Marina’s concrete launch is located just north (right) of the entrance. It is a 24-hour launch that operates May through Oct. Rates are here.

Accommodations: Full-service marina with concrete boat launch; casual dining at The Hatch; ice cream stand; community garden; historic markers; public art displays; viewing platform; naval museum (to the east); restrooms (seasonal); public phones; small market; marina office; various restaurants and shops down the road along the waterfront.

Contact Information

Erie Basin Marina
Operated by Brand-On-Services Inc.
329 Erie Street
Buffalo, NY 14202

Phone: (716) 851-6501 (April 1 – Nov 1)
(716) 851-5389 (answering machine)
e-mail: eriebasinmarina@verizon.net
eriebasinmarina.org

Description

The Erie Basin was once just a breakwater and commercial slip at the mouth of the Buffalo River at Lake Erie, designed to prevent the build up of sand within the gateway to the Erie Canal and to lessen the impact of storm surges. Having gone unused as the Great Lakes manufacturing and shipping industries waned, it was rebuilt under a major construction effort in the early 1970s to help revitalize the waterfront as a place for city residents to enjoy and harbor personal watercraft. Today, it caters to tens of thousands of visitors in the hot summer months. From passers-by, to suburbans in to visit the lakefront and catch a meal, to locals out for their daily stroll, it is one of the more popular waterfronts in Erie County, and a real pleasure to photograph.

Starting out at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park just upriver, one can walk along the river’s edge towards the lake watching ships of all types enter and leave the inner harbor. At the lake, people congregate at The Hatch, a waterfront eatery that serves comfort food and features an outdoor patio with excellent views, regular clam bakes, and a seasonal ice cream stand. Nearby, the Gardens, a beautiful community-built display of color blooms, lures nearly every visitor to get out their cameras for a picture bursting with bright colors. Across the water from this corner of the marina is Lighthouse Point Park, and the Buffalo Light. This is one of the best spots to catch a photo of it with the water in the foreground and watercraft passing by.

From there the sidewalk turns north and runs along Lake Erie. This section was built upon the original breakwater prior to the marina’s construction. To the right is the Erie Basin, a small harbor that serves as a full-service marina for local boat-owners and overnight transients.  Along the way to the end of Erie St and the breakwater, a monument lists various historic events that occurred along Lake Erie. It is by far an abridged version. At the end of Erie Street is a lookout tower that serves unparalleled views of the Buffalo waterfront. It is several flights of stairs to get to the top, but well worth it. From here you can see the tallest buildings of downtown, all the waterfront condos, the full marina, lighthouse, and far off into the lake. Definitely not a time to forget your camera.

Erie Basin Marina

Hiking / Walking Trails

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: Our recommended loop is about 1.1 miles around the marina.

Markings: Just follow the paved walkways around the marina.

Description: Start from the parking area and head across Erie St towards the Erie Marina Gardens and the Hatch Restaurant. You can view boats entering and exiting the harbor from the walkway along the river here. You can also see the Coast Guard station and Buffalo Light on the other side. Follow the walkway north past a small grassy area and along Erie St with the stone jetty and lake on your left. Reach a viewing platform at the end of the jetty. You can climb up the tower for a panoramic view. Restrooms and a convenience store are also located here. Walk back to the parking lot along the marina.

Combine this walk with the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park to the east.

Map: Click here

Erie Basin Marina and Gardens Interactive Map

Drag the map or click the arrows to move around and use the +/- to zoom in or out. Click on the icons for more information. This map is not accurate. Caution and common sense should be used when hiking.

View Erie Basin Marina, Buffalo in a larger map

History

Erie Basin Harbor Map 1909

Erie Basin Harbor Map 1909

The first inhabitants of the eastern Erie shoreline were Native Americans, with the Seneca tribe of the Iroquois Confederacy controlling this “western door” of their territory. In 1797 the Holland Land Company purchased much of Western New York from the Seneca, and that block of land was divided and resold, with plans for the Village of Buffalo as a port city beginning as early as 1801. An 1805 act of Congress created the port at Buffalo, which initiated a long history of development along the Erie and Niagara shoreline. Little of what exists today is an original feature of the lake, but one thing we do know, is that much of this shoreline was originally a wetland and a critical stopover for migratory birds as they journeyed across the Great Lakes.

The road and walkway here were previously just a breakwater with large commercial slips facing the city. It was built to protect the inner harbor on the Buffalo River from storm surges and sand build-up. It was not connected to the mainland, but a lakefront improvement project from 1970-1973 constructed the road, walkways, marina, tower, and buildings.

It is owned by the City of Buffalo and operated by Brand-On-Services Inc.

Interesting Stuff

Across the Marina

In recent decades, waterfront development has brought in upscale apartments and condos. They dominate the other side of the marina.

Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park

Not quite on Lake Erie, this beautiful Buffalo River-side park serves as a memorial to American wars. The Military Park is a museum for decommissioned vessels and includes a cruiser, submarine, and destroyer. It is located right next to Erie Basin Marina and Gardens.

Photography Tips

Erie Basin Gardens and Buffalo LightSunsets

  • The eastern shore of Lake Erie is ideal for sunsets. The Buffalo waterfront is a great place to catch boats, birds and the interesting seawalls in the frame to keep those sunset photos interesting.
  • Near The Hatch is the best place to catch the Buffalo Light with a sunset backdrop.
  • Climb the observation tower to get a panoramic shot spanning from downtown to Lake Erie.

Gardens

  • Bring that macro lens and tripod for flower and insect macros.

More tips

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