Niagara falls is a group of three waterfalls at the southern end of Niagara Gorge.
Spanning the border between the province of Ontario in Canada and the state of New York in the United States. The largest of the three is Horsehoe Falls, which straddles the international border of the two countries.
Located on the Niagara River, which drains Lake Erie into Lake Ontario, the combined falls have the highest flow rate of any waterfall in North America, which has a vertical drop of more than 50 m. During peak daytime tourist hours, more than 168,000 m3 of water goes over the crest of the falls every minute.
Horseshoe Falls is the most powerful waterfall in North America, as measured by flow rate. Niagara Falls is famed for its beauty and is a valuable source of hydroelectric power. Balancing recreational, commercial, and industrial uses has been a challenge for the stewards of the falls since the 19th century.
Niagara Glen Nature Reserve
If you need a break from the crowds near the falls, visitors recommend you enjoy a relaxing afternoon at the Niagara Glen Nature Reserve. Situated off the Niagara Parkway in the Canadian side of the falls, this nature preserve overlooks the Niagara River and its natural whirlpool, offering more than 2 miles of trails through the preserved Carolinian Forest.
Recent visitors enjoyed hiking through the preserve, especially in the fall, when the trees begin changing color. Reviewers were also impressed with the on-site nature center and its knowledgeable staff. From the center, visitors can also join daily guided hikes, which are available from May through August.
The reserve is open year-round. It’s free to access, though you’ll have to pay CA$1.25 (around $1) an hour for parking.
Aside from the falls themselves, the Niagara Falls region is known for one other thing: wine. If you have time, then take a drive north along Ontario’s scenic Niagara Parkway to Inniskillin Wines in Niagara-on-the-Lake. This winery is known for its icewine, which is made from grapes that are left to freeze on the vine over the winter. Once temperatures drop to -8 degrees Celsius (about 18 degrees Fahrenheit), the grapes are then collected and allowed to thaw, a process that helps intensify their flavor.
Take a break and see.About the hard work and dedication needed to produce a bottle of fine wine, both regular and ice.At the end of the tour, stop by the tasting bar for a sample. You can also purchase some of the famous icewine here, but reviewers do warn it’s expensive.
The winery is open year-round, seven days a week. From May through October, it welcomes visitors from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; the winery closes at 5 p.m. November through April. Regular tours cost $10 per person; icewine tours, which are only offered on weekends at 1 p.m., cost $15 per person. Tour times vary by season.
Niagara Fallsview Casino
When the sun goes down, get your game on at the Niagara Fallsview Casino, where 150 table games and several thousand slot machines await your duel with Lady Luck. If you’re not much a gambler, the casino’s 225,000 feet of shopping space and the Avalon Theatre – which hosts numerous concerts and other performances throughout the year – are sure to keep you entertained. There is also a spa and a golf course, plus more than a dozen different dining facilities that are sure to keep you full to bursting.
Recent visitors were pleased with the variety of games and praised the attentive staff. Reviewers also commented on the casino’s cleanliness and the incredible view.
The Niagara Fallsview Casino sits on the Ontario side of the falls, just west of the Skylon Tower. While entry to the casino is free, you should have your wallet ready for the games, the shopping and the other activities found here – you may find the dent in your credit card to be slightly larger than you anticipated. Note that you must be 19 years or older to enter. The casino is open 24/7, year-round.
With acres of secluded paradise, Dufferin Islands is made up of several small islands connected by bridges and footpaths. Loved by locals and visitors alike, the tranquil picnic-perfect spots and diverse wildlife make the islands a great place to spend the day.
Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens
Established nearly 100 years ago, the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens contain 99 acres of immaculate horticulture, including the world-famous rose garden with more than 2,400 roses. Themed seasonal displays always complement the collection of perennials, trees and shrubs.
Niagara Falls History Museum
Every Thursday evening, the Niagara Falls History Museum offers free admission from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Explore Niagara Falls’ rich history, including the pivotal Battle of Lundy’s Lane, considered one of the bloodiest during the War of 1812. They also offer a variety of events, from yoga classes to movie screenings, every Thursday as part of their ‘@ The Museum Thursday Night’ series.
While it may seem simple, taking a beautiful drive or cycling along the picturesque Niagara Parkway, from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Fort Erie (or vice versa), is a great way to enjoy the scenery. Stop for a picnic lunch along the way or savour locally inspired cuisine at restaurants and cafes. Whatever route you decide to take, as long as you have a great soundtrack and even better company, you’ll enjoy the ride.
Maid of the Mist
The main reason to visit Niagara Falls is to see the falls and one of the most memorable ways to do just that is to sport a poncho and hop on a Maid of the Mist boat. These boats have been shuttling visitors to and from the base of the falls since the 1840s.
Recent visitors said you can’t leave Niagara Falls without taking a ride on the Maid of the Mist. Aside from the incredible views, reviewers were also pleased with the tour length (20 minutes) and the modest ticket price.
Ticket price is $18.25 for adults; 10.65 for kids 6-12.
Though you are provided with a poncho, you should plan to wear waterproof shoes and gear, according to travelers. To beat the crowds, some visitors suggest getting to the attraction first thing in the morning (trips begin at 9 a.m.).
Old Fort Niagara
If you enjoy history, make sure to save time for a visit to Old Fort Niagara. Located on the U.S. side of the falls, this 17th-century fort has changed hands between French, British and American troops. This site has seen action during numerous wars, including the American Revolution and the French and Indian War, making it the longest operational fort in North America. Today, the fort occupies one of the most scenic areas in western New York, overlooking both Lake Ontario and the Niagara River. Inside, you can explore underground gunpowder rooms, old army barracks and ancient cannons. If you’re looking for a more in-depth history, make sure to stop by the visitor center.
Old Fort Niagara is perched on the banks of both Lake Ontario and the Niagara River just north of Youngstown, New York – across the river from Niagara-on-the-Lake. If you don’t have your own set of wheels, you can use the free Discover Niagara Shuttle to reach the fort during the summer season. The fort welcomes visitors from 9 a.m. to 5 or 7 p.m. daily, depending on the season. Admission costs $12 for adults and $8 for kids 6 to 12.
Journey Behind The Falls
On the Journey Behind the Falls, you’ll be able to stand directly behind the roaring sheet of water and get a literal behind-the-scenes peek at this magnificent natural attraction. The tour begins with an elevator ride to an observation deck where you can take in the view of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls and the Niagara River.
From there, follow the caverns and enjoy the roaring curtain of the falls from a different perspective. However, be prepared for crowds – Journey Behind the Falls is one of the most popular ways to see the falls, so you may find that the tunnels are rather cramped.
The Journey Behind the Falls tour begins on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, and the caverns are open daily. Hours vary by season, but generally the attraction begins welcoming visitors at 9 a.m. Tickets cost CA$14 (around $10.65) for adults and CA$9 (about $6.80) for kids between 6 and 12. Beginning Jan. 1 2020, tickets for adults will cost CA$15 (around $11.45) and CA$10 (about $7.60) for children. Summer prices increase to CA$23 (around $17.50) for adults and CA$15 (approximately $11.45) for children.
Cave of the Winds
Many recent visitors have called the Cave of the Winds a “must-do.” After taking an elevator 175 feet down into the Niagara Gorge, you’ll be able to roam a series of wooden walkways that put you within feet of the Bridal Veil Falls. It’s called the “Hurricane Deck,” thanks to the tropical storm-like conditions. Even with the souvenir poncho and shoes, you’ll likely get wet.
Recent travelers didn’t seem to mind the soggy outcome of a visit to the Cave of the Winds. Visitors were amazed at how close they could get to the falls and loved being able to witness the powerful rush of water up close.
You’ll find this attraction on the New York side of the falls on Goat Island. The attraction is open year-round, though you can only access the walkways from April to October. From May to September, tickets for Cave of the Winds cost $17 for adults and $14 for kids ages 6 to 12.
If you visit in the winter, you can still access parts of the attraction, including the elevator ride down to the gorge. Tickets cost $7 for adults and $5 for children. From November to April, the attraction welcomes visitors from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Once you’ve seen the falls from below and behind, consider seeing them from above at the Skylon Tower. Dominating the Ontario skyline, this 775-foot high tower offers particularly breathtaking views of the Horseshoe Falls. You can enjoy the view from either the indoor or the outdoor observation deck and – if you don’t mind shelling out a small fortune – you can also revel in the landscape from the tower’s revolving restaurant. To reach the top, you’ll board a glass-enclosed elevator that takes just 52 seconds to reach the top of the tower. Many recent visitors recommend going at night to catch a bird’s-eye glimpse when the falls are illuminated. Many of the region’s top guided tours also make stops at the Skylon Tower.
In the summer, the tower is open from 8 a.m. to midnight and from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. in the winter.If tickets are purchased on-site, a ride to the top costs CA$15.02 for adults and CA$9.22 for kids 6 to 12.You can save a few dollars by purchasing your tickets in advance online.
White Water Walk
If you’re looking to view the falls from a more natural setting than the Maid of the Mist or the Journey Behind the Falls, spend an hour or two stretching your legs on the White Water Walk. After taking an elevator 230 feet to the base of the gorge, you’ll be able to walk along a quarter-mile boardwalk that overlooks the Great Gorge Rapids from the Canadian side of the Niagara River. Along the walk are several observation areas where you can get a great view of the falls and the turbulent whirlpool below.
Entry to the White Water Walk is located along the Niagara Parkway, and prices are CA$13 for adults and CA$8.15 for kids 6 to 12.The attraction welcomes visitors from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends.
When to visit Niagara Falls?
The best time to visit Niagara Falls is June to August. Summer is the peak season, and with good reason: average highs rest in the low 80s. Mists and breezes from the waterfalls can make the area feel cooler. You’ll spend more money and face more crowds, but visiting in summer will allow you to take full advantage of the weather and attractions. Plus, the free Discover Niagara Shuttle is in full operation during the summer season, making it easy to get from one attraction to another.
Spring and fall welcome fewer tourists thanks to the plummeting temps, but there are a few advantages to each season. Fall constitutes harvest season at local wineries, while spring’s warming temperatures usher in colorful blooms at the botanical gardens.Winter sees below-freezing temperatures, causing many attractions, such as the Maid of the Mist boat tours, to shut down. However, the frigid climate does drive down hotel rates.