Niagara Falls is one of those places I’d thought about seeing my entire life and was determined to experience everything possible once I finally made it to my dream destination. But, little did I know I would need far more than seven days to fully absorb all the area had to offer putting a return trip right at the top of my to-do list.
Here are some highlights from my week-long visit to Niagara Falls including a few hints and tips to help make your own journey to this beautiful region even more enjoyable.
Must See Attractions
Naturally the falls themselves are the main attraction whether you are on the American or the Canadian side. I chose to visit the falls in both countries beginning with the United States and its smaller Bridal Veil Falls then crossing over to Canada’s larger Horseshoe Falls.
Be sure to check out Observation Tower at Prospect Point for a fabulous up close view of Bridal Veil Falls as well as Horseshoe Falls which are colorfully lit up at night.
Venturing across Rainbow Bridge to the Canadian side I took a ride on the infamous Maid of the Mist. The 600 passenger boat travels into the base of the falls giving riders an unbelievable view of rushing waters complete with perfect rainbows that seem to transcend from the heavens.
In Canadian dollars, tour rates at the time of my visit were $16.50 per person ($13.50 US), $10 for children ages six to 12 and free for children five and under.
And if you aren’t afraid of heights, I’d suggest riding to the top of the Skylon Tower to see a complete view of the entire Niagara region.
Although definitely kid-friendly, Niagara also boasts an impressive nightlife scene. First, on the American side we dined at the familiar Hard Rock Cafe the evening a great band was playing then spent the last few nights in Ontario on Clifton Hill, one of the most well known regions in Niagara Falls.
Clifton Hill is the ideal place for family fun during the day with its wax museums, IMAX theater, and restaurants galore, but once the sun sets it’s also the perfect place for adults to enjoy music, drinks, and good times.
Having already been to Las Vegas, Nevada, home of some of the best places to try your luck in North America, I wondered if any casino in Niagara Falls would live up to my expectations. I didn’t have to wonder for long as there were several to choose from as well as places to play bingo, one of my absolute favorite games.
Close to Clifton Hill is the Casino Niagara on Falls Avenue in Ontario which features buffets, live music and entertainment, free shows every Tuesday, multiple gaming tables and 1,700 slot machines to keep you busy.
Nature in Niagara
Beyond the bright lights and nonstop excitement of Niagara Falls lies a whole other world of gorgeous scenery, breathtaking vistas, and plenty of places to see all the beauty of nature.
On the States’ side of the Falls lies Niagara Reservation State Park and Goat Island, a place I could have easily spent an entire day just marveling at the view. Be prepared for plenty of walking throughout the park and plan on spending at least a half a day here especially if you love hiking and exploring. The day of my visit happened to be particularly warm and sunny.
Be sure to visit Goat Island’s Cave of the Winds, admission price $10 per adult and $7 for children six to 12.
My Cave of the Winds experience, one of the most memorable of the entire trip, began with a thrilling 175 foot descent into the Niagara gorge via a small elevator. The friendly staff then handed out ponchos and footwear as protection from the spraying waters.
Following the tour guide around the wooden walkways I was entranced by the thunderous sounds of the rushing waters. Feeling rather adventurous and not minding if I got soaking wet, I decided to continue on up to Hurricane Deck, located a mere 20 feet from Bridal Veil Falls remembering the guide’s warning about the winds.
Although there is a railing to hold onto, if you have any reservations about heights you may want to skip Hurricane Deck and stick to the larger deck located more than 100 feet away from the falls but with an equally stunning view.
While the falls aren’t the only notable nature attraction the area has to offer, they are undoubtedly the most popular. I wish I had at least another week or two to see the many other scenic places in the Niagara region including the Butterfly Exhibit and Botanical Gardens.
Hints and Tips
The busiest time of year for the Niagara Falls region is during the warmest summer months. You can usually expect larger crowds in July than in October, which was the month of my visit, but not all attractions are open year-round.
When it comes to packing for your trip, first consider the number of days and nights of your visit as well as the time of year. It is definitely colder nearest to the falls especially during the winter months.
Here is a short list of the items I wish I had brought with me on my trip to Niagara Falls:
- - A few extra pairs of socks and comfortable shoes
- - My laptop computer for quickly transferring pictures from my digital camera
- - Extra plastic bags to keep my camera dry along with cloths for keeping the lens clean
- - An itinerary of events to stay on track
- - A large folder to keep all of the many brochures I acquired in one place
Whatever you choose to bring and however long you stay, Niagara Falls has plenty to see and do whether you just want to see the sights, experience the upbeat nightlife, head to the casino or play a game of bingo.
Niagara Falls is simply one of those places you must experience yourself to truly appreciate all of the natural beauty, wonder, and excitement that awaits surrounding those majestic falls.
Where is Niagara Falls
The Niagara Falls, located on the Niagara River draining Lake Erie into Lake Ontario, is the collective name for the Horseshoe Falls and the adjacent American Falls along with the comparatively small Bridal Veil Falls, which combined form the highest flow rate of any waterfall in the world and has a vertical drop of more than 165 feet (50 m). Horseshoe Falls is the most powerful waterfall (vertical height along with flow rate) in North America. Niagara Falls forms the international border between the Canadian province of Ontario and the U.S. state of New York, also forming the southern end of the Niagara Gorge. The falls are located 17 miles (27 km) north-northwest of Buffalo, New York and 75 miles (121 km) south-southeast of Toronto, between the twin cities of Niagara Falls, Ontario, and Niagara Falls, New York.
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