Niagara Falls represents one of North America’s most striking and fascinating tourist destinations. A natural wonder that straddles the border between the U.S. and Canada, it’s truly among the world’s most beautiful waterfalls. And, as you might expect, the surrounding area has gradually been built up to accommodate a never-ending stream of visitors. The only thing that’s a bit of a hassle is that the attractions and activities exist on both sides of the border, so you may have to go back and forth a bit to enjoy it all. Overall though it’s a fun place to spend a few days, particular when the weather is nice.
These are some of the highlights.
Ride The Maid Of The Mist
The Maid of the Mist is probably the most famous attraction in the area aside from the falls themselves. It’s essentially a company of double-decker boats that takes paying customers up close to the falls – so close that people wear ponchos to protect from the splash! Tickets are very cheap, and while it’s undeniably a very touristy thing to do, it’s also the best way to safely get close to the water, and to see the falls from below. It’s also worth noting that the Maid of the Mist cruises are competitive with Hornblower Niagara, a company offering similar, but for whatever reason less famous experiences.
Visit The Old Fort
The Old Fort at Niagara is on the U.S. side, specifically in Youngstown, New York. It’s actually a very important piece of history, as it helped to control access to the Great Lakes region during the American Revolution. Now, the fort is in surprisingly good shape and thus makes for a brilliant tour. Knowledgeable guides, restored buildings and structures, and pretty views of the surrounding land and water are all a treat.
Explore The Cave Of The Winds
The Cave of the Winds is an extraordinary place to explore. If you aren’t familiar with the falls in detail, you may not know it, but there are actually little bridges that take visitors between islands at the base of some of the waterfall areas. One such island is known as Goat Island, and it has a cave that essentially goes behind and under the falls. Here as on board the cruises mentioned above, you’ll need a poncho to guard you against the persistent splashing of the falls, but the tour is well worth your time. It’s perhaps the most intimate way to experience the natural wonder.
Play The Casino
For a bit of a break from nature, the Canada side of the falls has a casino that can make for some nice indoor entertainment. Canada is actually more widely known for its online gaming activity, which now involves a huge number of legal, regulated sites accessible across the country. In Niagara, as in the Vancouver and Montreal areas however, there’s still a place for a real, physical casino. It’s not a massive resort, but it has everything you expect from this kind of venue, and the game selection is respectable. If you enjoy casinos, it’s certainly a good way to unwind after a day out at the falls.
Do The Whitewater Walk
Just as the Cave of the Winds allows you to go among and behind some of the falls, the Whitewater Walk (sometimes referred to as a boardwalk) more or less puts you on top of them. You get the chance to walk along pathways and stop at a variety of observation decks, all on the Canadian side of the falls and among the whitewater rapids that lead up to the falls themselves.
Try Some Wine
If there’s one area in which the Niagara attraction is somewhat lacking, it’s food and drink. That’s not to say there aren’t some decent options, but you might expect a better collection of neat bars and restaurants in such a popular place. Nevertheless, there is a prominent winery in the area, or rather a collection of them. Inniskillin Winery, on the Canadian side, provides a memorable experience between tastings, cooking clubs, dining, and even other nearby vineyards. If you have good weather and want an afternoon or early evening activity, it’s a nice option away from the typical falls attractions.
Featured image: supplied by author.