What if there were a vacation destination perfect for adventure travelers, lovebirds and families with kids alike? What if that destination was English-speaking, used a familiar currency and didn’t take days of travel to reach? What if a vacation in this place didn’t break the bank, even if you devoted a week (or more!) to seeing its sights?
Believe it or not, that place exists: It’s Niagara Falls. In the past, we’ve covered why Niagara Falls makes for a great day trip during a vacation in Toronto, but today, we’re going to explain what to do in a week-long Niagara vacation — and why you should definitely make your plans soon.
Whenever and wherever you travel, it’s a good idea to reserve your first day for getting settled in your space. While Niagara Falls isn’t halfway across the world, travel is always a bit uncomfortable and exhausting, so it’s wise to have a few hours on day one to reach the hotels near Niagara Falls, shower off the smells from airports and cars and maybe take a quick nap. If you feel up to it, you can go for a stroll around the neighborhood to take note of nearby attractions, which you might want to visit in the upcoming days.
Days Two and Three
The falls themselves are the primary reason so many millions of people visit the region every year, so you should expect to devote a couple days to exploring the falls in all their glory. There are dozens of ways to see and feel the falls as well as the roaring Niagara River, but a few should take precedence on your first day out and about in Niagara Falls:
• Queen Victoria Park. Queen Victoria Park is a long, gorgeous strip of park on the Canadian side that provides some of the most popular views of the falls, especially Horseshoe Falls. This park is free to visit, meaning you can return here throughout the day and enjoy a picnic or peoplewatching to relax.
• Hornblower River Cruise. The Maid of the Mist is the more famous Niagara River cruise, but it is also located on the American side, sells out months in advance and is always packed with tourists. Hornblower provides a near-identical experience with more convenience and less crush. This is a must-do in Niagara Falls, even
• Journey Behind the Falls. You can see the falls from below and behind at this attraction offered by Niagara Parks. As with the river cruise, you’re likely to get wet, so expect to head back to your hotel to change afterwards.
If you still have time and energy, you should also venture down the Niagara River to the whirlpool rapids. The White Water Walk is a pleasant hike that provides heart-pounding views of the class-six rapids — and if you feel up to it, you can pump up your adrenaline more on the Whirlpool Jet Boats or the Whirlpool Aerocar.
Though the vast majority of Niagara’s attractions exist on the Canadian side, it’s worth your time to venture to the American side for at least a day. Doing so will give you another perspective on the massive waterfalls from a few unique vantage points. You should consider walking or biking across the Rainbow Bridge, which connects the two sides; not only is this cheaper, but it allows you more time to take in the sight of the falls and avoid the teeth-gnashing vehicle traffic on the bridge.
Once you get to the American side, you should head straight for Goat Island. This is the landmass the breaks up Horseshoe Falls from Bridal Veil and American Falls; because of its unparalleled proximity to the falls, it provides dozens of excellent lookouts you should enjoy, especially Terrapin Point. On Goat Island, you can also visit the Tesla Monument, which memorializes Nikola Tesla’s important innovations in hydroelectric power at Niagara Falls.
Days Five and Six
Here’s where the itinerary will deviate a bit, depending on what type of Niagara vacation you want and need.
For a family-focused trip, you might devote one of these days to the historical sites around Niagara Falls. These include Old Fort Niagara, the Lundy’s Lane battlefield and various museums focused on the history, culture and art of the region. You and your kids can learn about the significance of the falls to First Nations groups as well as escaped American slaves, which is often neglected in formal studies.
The other day should be spent on frivolous fun. Clifton Hill is a wonderland of arcade games, amusement rides and more. You can take a ride on the Niagara SkyWheel, see an immersive documentary at the IMAX and more. You might also spend a few hours at an indoor water park, which is open year-round.
For a more adult-focused trip, you should spend both of these days exploring the Niagara wine country. This part of the world rivals California’s Napa and even much of France in terms of its terroir; thus, Niagara vineyards are rapidly rising in esteem, and now is the time to sample before prices rise to unattainable heights.
On the final day of your vacation, you should feel free to revisit whatever Niagara attraction you most enjoyed, be it the wine, the waterpark, the whitewater rapids or something else. You should take it easy and soak in your experience — so you know exactly what to do the next time you visit Niagara Falls.
We are happy to present this collaborative post to offer valuable information to our readers.