The most majestic waterfall of them all…Niagara Falls!! Snuggling the Canadian U.S. boarder these monumental falls are a hop, skip and a jump away for many East Coasters. However, people travel from all over the planet to come soak in (pun intended) these three major falls. Yes, you heard me right there are actually three falls making up Niagara Falls. They are American, Bridal Veil and Horseshoe Falls. Now, I know you can’t wait to get out there and explore for yourself. So here’s my ultimate guide on spending the day in Niagara Falls!
The Falls Details
I feel like I’m letting down my American roots by saying this, but one of the most important aspects of visiting the Falls is visiting the Canadian side eh! There really is little to no comparison on the two sides. The Canadian side has done far more to draw in visitors. More tours, more attractions, more fun! So if you’re an American citizen traveling to the falls, you better bring your passport cause you’re venturing out of the country my friend!
Now, you’ve arrived in Canada and you’re slightly overwhelmed because well there is a lot to do. The falls brings in so many visitors that the entire area has turned into one very large, over the top, bizarre mixture of Atlantic City…Las Vegas…carnival playground.
Before you even reach the falls you’ll be tempted by a 175 feet sky wheel soaring above the falls, a dinosaur adventure golf course just sitting there begging your children to mini golf past 50-life size dinosaurs, or you might even want to stop in at the Riley’s Believe It or Not, with over 800 jaw dropping exhibits. (This is just a few of the larger than life attractions in Niagara Falls.)
But don’t be tempted. Not yet at least. Close you’re eyes and drive on past….well of course unless you are the driver….then just keep your eyes on the road! You’re here to see the glorious Niagara Falls for goodness sake. Make sure you get all that goodness in before you’re tempted by shiny lights, neon signs, and funnel cake!
Once you park by the falls and realize how many activities you can do that include epic views, you’ll be happy you weren’t tempted by the wacky and weird world being offered arms length away from one of the most popular waterfalls in the world.
What Tours Do I Recommend
You can browse online before you head out on your Canadian adventure or you can purchase tickets at the falls. I really like the Adventure Pass, more information here. It combines different attractions to give you a discounted rate. You have three different options, Classic, Nature, or Plus. The prices range from $56.95-$90.00 (2017 rates when this post was written).
If you weren’t expecting to pay this much on your visit, but still want to pick one tour to do, I think you can’t go wrong with the Hornblower Niagara Cruise. This puts you in the middle of the madness. Sneaking up closer and closer to these powerful falls. It takes your breath away, you have literally feel the force of the water. And you seem so small in comparison, when looking up at such a massive and intimidating waterfall.
The tour is very short and wait times can be long on nice summer days but for $25.95 (price for just this attraction) I think it’s on the must do list!
One attraction that I think you can pass up and not feel guilty about is the Journey Behind the Falls. With that being said if you are interested in history and want to learn and see more about the blending of the natural and man made aspects of the falls you’ll appreciate this attraction.
However, you’re made to feel like you’ll be walking right behind the falls, taking it all in from a different view. When in reality you walk through a large tunnel system and occasionally have arch opening to view the falls. You do get a nice up close side view of the falls (much closer than you get on the Hornblower) but I did still feel let down from what I was expecting! This attraction, on it’s own, is only $17.30 so you’re at least not wasting too much money if you decide to explore and don’t enjoy.
But…Tours Aren’t My Thing
Now I see nothing wrong with skipping the tours. That’s one of the beautiful aspectz of Niagara Falls. You can see those amazing views without spending a Canadian dime. So if you’re short on cash or just stopping through for a quick visit on a long road trip. Just take some time to walk the Niagara River Recreation Trail stretching 33 miles along the Niagara River. You’ll be able to view all three falls and still get those Instagram worthy pics to share with all your friends. (You can pick up a handy dandy map of the Recreation Trail at any of the welcome centers.)
Oh…but whatever you do, tours or no tours, just make sure you stop in at the famous Canadian coffee and donuts delight known as Tim Hortons! Enjoy a delish coffee and savor you time in the Great White North!
Tips For a More Enjoyable Trip
- Packing Tips: No matter the time of year plan on getting soaked. Bring something water resistant to wear.
- Money Honey! A lot of places on the Canadian side will accept US dollars. Just be aware you’ll receive change in Canadian dollars.
- Always Pouring Never Boring! Get your craft beer on at Niagara Brewing Company.
- Illumination of the Falls gives you another reason to love sunset hour! Illumination of the Falls
- So much more fun you can have at the falls. Just follow Louis around!
This pic sums up the soakness level on the visit to Niagara. Here’s to water spot photos…Adventure Awaits!