Vacation Spotlight: Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls is a fantastic place to take a summer trip. Even though this is the busiest time of the year, you will be able to take full advantage of the water attractions in the sunny, warm weather. Seeing one of the largest falls in the world is definitely an awe inspiring experience. I was able to make 2 trips over to the falls in the last few years, however, I would love to explore the area more and take a trip to the Canadian side. From what I’ve heard, the Canadian side is supposed to be more fun as there are more attractions and even better views of the falls.
Either side you decide to stay on, you are bound to enjoy amazing views, take great photographs, and have a memorable vacation. Surprisingly, this spectacular sight does earn a place on the the “Seven Wonders of the World,” although it is considered by many to deserve a spot on the list. Because of this, Niagara Falls is often referred to as an Eight Wonder of the World.
Niagara Falls is actually the collective name of 3 falls: The Horseshoe Falls in Canada, and the American and Bridal Veil Falls in New York. The American falls reach a height of about 180 feet (due to the rocks at the base) and a width of 830 feet. The Horseshoe Falls are approximately 173 feet high with a width of around 2200 feet.
There are plenty of activities and attractions in the area. Unfortunately, I never had a chance to do the Maid of the Mist tour which is supposed to be amazing – maybe next time! For now, here are a few that I would put on any must-do list!
5 Fun Things to do at Niagara Falls
1. Cave of the Winds – I had so much fun getting up close with the falls at this awesome attraction which allows you to get up close with the falls. First, you will put on a special poncho and sandals (which you get to keep as a souvenir). Next, you go down an elevator over 170 feet. You will then get to walk across wooden walkways along the Niagara River to Hurricane Deck, which takes you within a few feet of the falls! This was an incredible experience! You can’t get any closer to the falls then this! Beware that you will get soaked, so plan this activity on a warm day!
2. Visit Niagara Falls State Park – The oldest state park in the US is the perfect place for photography. There are plenty of scenic overlooks to take great pictures. Binoculars for getting an up close look at the falls are scattered about in different scenic locations. Various activities in the area include: hiking, attractions like Cave of the Winds and Maid of the Mist, trolley rides, and more!
3. See the illumination show at night – Every night, the falls are illuminated with a rainbow of spectacular colors. What an incredible sight! This was even more fun than seeing the falls during the day! The show runs until 10:00pm from January-April, and until Midnight the rest of the year.
4. Visit the Seneca Falls Casino – Seneca Falls was just a short walk away from our hotel, which made it the perfect stop for nightly entertainment. The highlight for me was the beautiful spa, where I received a deep tissue massage. What a gorgeous spa – just relaxing in the facilities is almost as nice as the massage! In addition to traditional casino amenities, you will also find live entertainment, shopping, and a great “Thunder Falls” buffet!
5. Eat dinner at the Hard Rock Niagara – Although a bit smaller than other locations, we still had a blast at this tourist hotspot. At Hard Rock, you will enjoy a great menu, great memorabilia, and great music! The perfect before/after choice for those heading over to Seneca Falls. Try the twisted mac and cheese – it’s comfort food at its best!
Tips for a great trip!
*Bring with a waterproof camera for the Cave of the Winds attraction
*A spring trip will bring less crowds and cheaper hotel rates.
*Tours are popular and sell out frequently. Avoid weekends and holidays. Buy tickets in advance online.
*Apply for a passport several months in advance(if you don’t already have one) – you will need it to visit the Canadian side.
Top 5 Things to do on my next visit
1. A helicopter ride over the falls – This looks like an amazing experience! I can’t imagine a better view of the falls than soaring above in a guided helicopter tour. We were so tempted to do this on our last visit, but had to skip due to time constraints. Check out details on the tour here.
2. Maid of the Mist – This boat tour is often regarded as the best attraction in the Falls area. It can be taken from either the American or Canadian side. I imagine this is a great way to get up close with the falls and also learn a little bit more back history on the Falls.
3. Niagara Sky Wheel – Located on the Canada side, this 175 foot high Ferris Wheel, is supposed to give spectators a fabulous view of the Niagara River, and both the Horseshoe and American Falls. The enclosed cars are even heated in the winter and air conditioned in the summer months! Can’t wait to try this out on my next visit!
4. White Water Walk – This attraction on the Canadian side allows you to walk across a boardwalk, looking below at Class 6 rapids. This seems like it would be a unique opportunity to witness the true powers of the water!
5. Hiking in Niagara Glen – I love hiking, so what could be better than a hike with spectacular waterfall scenery? The 2.5 mile trail along the Niagara River Whirlpool is supposed to be a magnificent trek with a 200 foot elevation gain.
Cave of the Winds: Goat Island Niagara Falls, NY 14303
Niagara Falls State Park: 24 Buffalo Ave. Niagara Falls, NY 14303
Seneca Falls Casino: 310 4th Street Niagara Falls, NY 14303
Hard Rock Cafe: 303 Prospect Street Niagara Falls, NY 14303
Rainbow Air, Inc. Helicopter Tours: 454 Main Street Niagara Falls, NY 14301
Maid of the Mist: 151 Buffalo Ave. Niagara Falls, NY 14303
Niagara Sky Wheel: 4946 Niagara Pkwy Niagara Falls, ON L2E 628, Canada
White Water Walk: Niagara Pkwy Niagara Falls, ON L0S 1J0, Canada
Niagara Glen Nature Center: 3050 Niagara Pkwy Niagara Falls, ON, Canada
For information on parking options, visiting the following website: Niagara Falls State Park Parking Lots