Niagara Falls really is Mother Nature at its best. The raw beauty of the these Falls shows you the power Mother Nature has. Niagara Falls can be seen from both the USA side and the Canadian side. They say you feel the Falls from the USA side and you see them from the Canadian side. I couldn’t argue with that.
Niagara Falls has a history of people trying to conquer the water in different ways – tight rope walking, barrels. Many have perished for their troubles. It is not hard to see why. In some sees the water flows at 100km an hour!
I flew into Buffalo, New York, then took an Uber to my hotel from the Buffalo airport. It is about a 20 – 30 minute drive. There are cheaper options – rail and bus. I was short on time so I didn’t want to have to juggle luggage in a bus or train and lose time waiting for the scheduled times. I found the Uber was a reasonable price of approximately $40 US given it was giving me precious time.
I stayed at the Comfort Inn which is pretty much in the car park of Niagara Falls. You can see the water and the Falls from the Hotel. Weekday prices are far more reasonable that weekend rates. This hotel had to have been the best positioned but within a few blocks there were many quality hotels to choose from. It was well priced given the standard and location.
If I went again I would probably stay on the Canadian side as there are far more Hotel options and there are many more options for food and entertainment. The Canadian side would best suit families, the USA side would better suit older people. Pick your side if you don’t fit into either of these groups.
I was visiting the Falls in September which is a great time of year, the temperature is perfect and there are not too many people visiting so access to the best viewing spots was not a problem at all. There are many, many, many places that you can view the Falls from on both sides. There are no shortage of opportunities. It’s easy to take postcard perfect photos.
Make sure you visit the Falls during the day and night. At night the Falls are lit up with changing light colours. Just spectacular!
Be prepared for the spray. I found the Falls were very different each day. Some days were better than others for viewing. The spray was so big one day it was hard to see the Falls.
Both the Canadian side and the USA side of Niagara Falls have excellent walking tracks. The Canadian side has well manicured gardens, the USA side has a natural green setting, both just as enjoyable as the other. On one day I walked over 30km taking in all the sights. I guess this is why it pays to be fit so you can get around on Foot Falcon if you want to.
If walking isn’t your thing you can hire bikes, scooters, take a tour or take a bus. It is a place where mobility really does allow you to get to all the good spots but those who need assistance with mobility can also enjoy all of the major spots, both sides.
The Rainbow Bridge takes you from the USA side to the Canadian side. You can walk across but remember to take your passport and identifying documents as you need to go through Customs and Border Control on both sides. There is a walking toll of $1 to go over the walking bridge.
Things to do
You can view the Falls from many angles for free.
If you are interested in something a little more heart pumping there are many different activities you can pay for. Here are the ones I participated in:
- Cave of the Winds (USA side) – this tour takes you in a lift through the rock down to the bottom of the Falls. Before you go down you are shown a short video of the interesting history of the Falls. You get rubber sandals and a disposable raincoat included in the price. You get to walk through a maze of wooden walkways at the bottom of the Falls. Definitely worth doing. You do get completely drenched. I wouldn’t recommend this tour if you are not stable on your feet or can’t climb stairs well. The stairs and walkways are slippery wet and steep. The true power of the Falls are definitely experienced on this tour. It was approximately $20 US.
- Maid of the Mist (USA and Canada side) – this is a boat tour that goes right to the bottom of the Horseshoe Falls where the water flows at approximately 100km per hour. Again, you are supplied with a disposable raincoat. The raincoat is more for looks I think as I was once again drenched to the bone. This boat tour was also awesome as you are in a boat at the bottom of the Falls. I was again glad I had good mobility as I was standing in a wet rocking boat with strong water spray coming from all angles. The cost was approximately $20 US.
- Whirlpool Falls Boardwalk (Canadian side) – this walk is a few kilometres walk away from the Falls. It is downstream. There are busses that stop at this location if you don’t want to walk there. You get a lift down to a boardwalk that is level with the water flowing downstream from the Falls. It is the spot where many tightrope walkers have tested their balance. The true beauty and force of the water is evident on this walk. There are stairs and wet areas so make sure you are mobile to do this walk. There were two security guards at the top who searched my bag and belongings before I went on this boardwalk. I have no idea why. Access to this boardwalk was approximately $15 Canadian.
- The Whirlpool (both sides) – I walked to this area on the Canadian side. It was a good walk to get there. The busses do stop at this location too. The whirlpool is a point in the Niagara River where it changes direction at an elbow, creating a whirlpool. It is free to go and have a look at it. There is a cable car that goes from one side to the other over the whirlpool. Not a chance I was EVER going on that with my fear of height. I never enjoy those rides. Many people were going across so it does appeal to those who are adventurous.
There are a variety of other things you can do while you are there that I didn’t partake in. There is a walk that takes you under the Falls on the Canadian side but by then I was all waterfalled out. There is also a zip line that can take you over the river for those who like extreme activities. Check if your travel insurance covers zip lining before you do this activity.
When you arrive on the Canadian side from over the Rainbow Bridge you are met with a street area fun park and Casino’s. I had never expected that! There are streets of amusement rides, haunted rides, amusement halls and a wax museum. It’s loud and rowdy just like a fun park. It would be great for families if that is your thing.
It’s a bucket list destination
Niagara Falls is definitely a bucket list destination. You could do it on a budget very easily as many of the attractions are free to access. The Falls have great access points and tracks so everyone can see the Falls no matter what your fitness level is. I absolutely enjoyed this trip and would highly recommend it to anyone thinking they may want to visit.
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