I’d been eager to go to Niagara Falls for some time. I don’t exactly know why. It’s just one of those places I had stuck in mind. I meant to road trip up to Niagara Falls with the kids over the summer, but just ran out of time. You know how that goes.
So, the school year started and Niagara Falls was still stuck in my head, so I bought two plane tickets for a long weekend away, just me and my middle daughter, Kate. Since I have four kids, I try to go get away with just one or two of them from time to time. It’s tough when all four are clamoring for my attention at the same time.
I learned a lot about the Niagara Falls area in the three days, so if you’re thinking about a trip, here are 10 things you should know about Niagara Falls.
1. There are Actually Three Waterfalls. There isn’t just one waterfall called “Niagara Falls.” There are three: American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and Horseshoe Falls. You can see all three from the Observation Tower at Niagara Falls State Park on the U.S. side, but you’ll enjoy the best views from the Canada side (in my opinion, at least).
2. It’s a Must to Take in the Views from Up Above. I’d never been in a helicopter before, so I was eager to see what the falls looked like from 2,000 feet up in the sky. Totally worth it. I’ll admit that my stomach dropped when we first lifted off, but then it was all about the views. Thank you, Rainbow Air. 🙂
3. There’s Not Much Free Wi-Fi on the Canada Side. I didn’t purchase a data plan from AT&T, so we had to rely on free wi-fi to go Pokemon hunting, and it was very hard to find. We could only connect to the Clifton Hill free wi-fi network, which got us a couple of blocks. There wasn’t even free wi-fi in Starbucks.
4. You’ll Want to Buy the Niagara USA Discovery Pass. When we visit a new city, I often pick up a multi-attraction pass to save money and the Niagara USA Discovery Pass is a great deal. It’s $45/adult and $34/child and it gives you access to five popular attractions, including Maid of the Mist and the Niagara Aquarium.
5. Be Ready to Pay a Toll When You Cross the Border. If you’re walking between the U.S. and Canada, you’ll need to pay a $.50/person toll on the Canada side to cross the bridge (there are change machines). If you cross the bridge by car, you’ll pay $3.50 on the U.S. side in order to cross.
6. You Will Get Wet. Whether you ride into Horseshoe Falls on the Maid of the Mist or you explore Niagara’s Cave of the Winds, you will get wet, like really wet (fortunately, they give you ponchos). Even just a walk to Horseshoe Falls on the Canada side will leave you drenched from the mist coming off the falls.
7. You’ll Thank Me for Suggesting the Niagara Scenic Trolley. Niagara Falls State Park is pretty big with lots of attractions and paths to walk around and see the falls from various angles. Fortunately, the Niagara Scenic Trolley runs regularly through the park. It’s only a couple dollars per day, but totally worth it when you find yourself out at Three Sisters Islands at the far end of the park.
8. The Niagara Power Vista is a Must-Go. We probably could have spent all day at the Niagara Power Vista. It’s a free attraction that re-opened over the summer and there are loads of hands-on STEM-related activities. Kate loved the touch screen table where she made multiple power grids, as well as the 4-D movie.
9. It’s Worth a Side Trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake. Billed as one of Canada’s prettiest towns, take a side trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake (20-40 mins away, depending on the wait at the border). Known more for its wineries, it’s worth a stop for lunch, a stroll and an ice cream cone from Cow’s.
10. The Canada Side is the “Fun” Side. If you’re looking for arcade games, candy stores, wax museums, miniature golf and fast food restaurants, you’ll find it all on the Canada side at Clifton Hill, including the 175-foot Niagara SkyWheel. There’s even a Fun Pass to save money when you go.
Also, as a side note, once you’ve gone back and forth across the border seven or eight times, the agents pretty much stop asking you questions. Our last time back into the U.S. the border agent simply asked us where we were from and let us go, though mind you, we were a couple of low-risk travelers. 🙂
Disclaimer: My daughter and I were guests of Niagara USA while in Niagara Falls. However, all opinions expressed here are my own.