Niagara Falls is one of the most popular and awe-inspiring attractions in the world. The combination of three separate waterfalls straddles the border between Canada and the USA, creating a natural phenomenon that has to be seen to be truly appreciated. Thousands of gallons of water thunder over the three falls every second, resulting in a spectacle that draws travellers from all over the world.
But, if you are planning to visit this natural wonder, there are a few things to consider before you dive right in. Here are some great tips that will help you make the most of your trip.
As you may know, the Bridal Veil, Horseshoe and American Falls can all be reached from either Canada or the USA. Therefore, the first thing you need to decide is which country you would like to see them from. It’s worth knowing that it’s relatively easy to walk across the Rainbow Bridge from one nation to the other (this involves a quick customs process), but where you decide to base yourself will dictate the ease with which you can access certain attractions and the choice you have in terms of hotels and restaurants.
Firstly, the main activity – the boat trip to the base of the Horseshoe Falls – can be done from either side. In America, this is fulfilled by the iconic Maid of the Mist and, in Canada, it is Hornblower Cruises that operates the tour. Although the Maid of the Mist is better known, both services offer a very similar experience.
The Canadian side of the falls is certainly a lot more built up, offering a larger selection of hotels, things to do and places to eat. However, this also means it is more commercial.
Finally, views of the Horseshoe Falls (the largest and most impressive of the three waterfalls) are much better from the Canadian side. You also get much better panoramas that include all three torrents of water at once. On the other hand, the only way you can access the American Falls and the activities surrounding it is from the American side. Our preference is for Canada, but it comes down to what you want to see and do.
There are some great hotel options to consider when you visit Niagara Falls, some of which offer breathtaking views from the comfort of your own room. Choose something like the Sheraton on the Falls or The Oakes Overlooking The Falls and you won’t even have to leave your bed to enjoy some jaw-dropping moments. You’ll wake up and go to sleep to the sound of the water and have the falls all to yourself during those small hours where everything is so peaceful.
Staying in one of these properties can also guarantee a great seat for the regular firework displays and illumination shows. Just be aware that not all rooms will offer these views, so make sure you check the room types available.
Obviously, these suites come with a hefty price tag and are, therefore, not for everyone. Luckily, plenty of other options are available if 24-hour views of the falls are not so important to you.
During your trip, you will get the chance to experience the falls from every perspective, angle and vantage point. Thrilling activities abound in the area, from the chance to go behind the Horseshoe Falls to the opportunity to speed alongside the river on a zipline.
If you are looking to do some of these, it is worth researching the various passes that are available from Niagara Parks. These allow you to enjoy multiple attractions for just one price, saving a lot of money in the process. The passes also cover free travel on the buses which run up and down Niagara Parkway, taking tourists to various different sights. Options include the Adventure Pass, which offers Journey Behind The Falls, a Hornblower cruise, the White Water Walk and Niagara’s Fury for around £40pp.
Whilst there is plenty to do in the immediate area around Niagara Falls, you may also want to explore further afield, particularly to the beautiful town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. Much more laid back and with fewer crowds, this community on the shores of Lake Ontario is famous for its wine estates. With beautiful views and plenty of wineries in which to sample a glass or two, it’s definitely a relaxing place in which to spend a day before or after your trip to the falls.
If you’re looking for a twin-centre stay then you could also add some time in New York or Toronto. Both of these iconic cities are easily reached via road or rail from Niagara and will add something different to your holiday.
With so much to see and do, you could easily spend a week or more in Niagara Falls and not run out of ways to keep yourself busy. However, we suggest that three or four days is about right. This will give you enough time to enjoy the main attractions and really feel the force of the falls.
Obviously, North America is a long way to go for just three or four days, but Niagara is situated perfectly for it to be part of a much bigger tour of the US/Canada. Consider the destinations mentioned above or discover cities further away like Detroit and Ottawa (above). You could even try a Great Lakes cruise which will be full of highlights and end in style at Niagara.
If you would like to know more about a holiday to Niagara Falls, the team at TravelQuest can help find the perfect option for you. Call us on 0800 021 3237 or visit our travel agents in Ipswich or Woodbridge.
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