“Amazing”, “Breath-taking”, “awe-inspiring”, are just a few of the words people use to describe the beauty and majesty of Niagara Falls. It is a place high on many people’s “Travel Bucket List,” and luckily for me, Niagara Falls was high on my mom’s list, otherwise, I don’t think I would have seen these iconic waterfalls the same, if at all.
I am guilty of being one of those people that forgets the amazing things to see in their own “back yard” so to speak, and I thought of Niagara Falls as a place to visit “someday;” after I visit far off fairy tale castles, or ancient wonders abroad. I think that in my mind, seeing the many photos, travel channel specials, and blogs featuring Niagara Falls made me believe that I’d “seen it” and therefore might be underwhelmed if I spent all that money to actually see it in person.
I was utterly and completely wrong because Niagara Falls in person is anything but “underwhelming.” Even being crammed among the throngs of tourists on the Hornblower did not diminish how incredible it was to get soaked by the mists of Horseshoe Falls (the biggest of the three waterfalls in Niagara). Descending 150 feet below and viewing the Falls through 130 year-old tunnels was what made Journey Behind the Falls so memorable and fun. However, nothing compares to my favorite: Cave of the Winds where you can get up close and personal with the two waterfalls on the American side all while donning an appropriately stylish outfit consisting of specially designed sandals and a bright poncho.
But the best thing about this trip to Niagara falls for me was serving as a tour guide/ photographer/driver for my mom and aunties. Searching for and booking affordable flights and hotels, researching the “must-dos,” finding good places to eat, capturing good photos, making sure everyone was getting the most out of their trip, and navigating through border checks and unfamiliar roads while still trying to be a tourist myself was A LOT, and quite challenging at times, but it made for great memories and an unforgettable trip to a wonderful place. I’m so glad we went, and that I was wrong about my initial (and very naive) thoughts on seeing such a truly magnificent force of nature.
If Niagara Falls is on your list here are some tips:
- Allow your self time to see both sides.
I thought 5 days would be too much time but there is a lot to see and do on both the Canadian and American sides as both are very different. Many people prefer the Canadian side because you get a full panoramic view of all three waterfalls. I personally prefer the American side because I feel closer to the Falls, and it’s more scenic and natural. Crossing the borders is relatively quick and easy so long as you have your passport handy.
2. Stay in a hotel close to the Falls.
Lots of walking, lots of people, lots to do. It was so nice to have a room so close that I could take a quick nap in. I scored great deal on hotels.com and booked a room overlooking the Falls at the Hilton Niagara Falls/Fallsview Hotel and Suites for $109 a night. This was one of the most inspiring views I have ever woken up to:
3. Don’t miss Niagara Falls light up at night.
During the day, there are swarms of people going to and fro trying to get that perfect photo by the Falls. This photo below was taken at around 11pm on the Canadian side when the bulk of tourists were either sleeping or enjoying the nearby shops and casino. The Falls are just as captivating by night with less people. Also, the colors change! So pretty.
4. Make a reservation for dinner at the Skylon Tower.
There are tons of good, decently priced restaurants around the Falls area to choose from for a quick bite or hearty meal, but don’t miss out on dining at the Skylon Tower. In addition to either delicious fine dining in their famous Revolving Dining room or an array of yummy dishes to choose from at their Summit Suite Buffet, guests are treated to an amazing aerial view of the Niagara waterfalls.
5. Consider purchasing The Discovery Pass (American side) and/or Adventure Pass (Canadian Side).
If you are spending an entire day on either side, purchasing a pass that groups together multiple attractions is a good option. The prices are not too bad considering you get a few popular attractions as well as transportation. It saved us a ton of time, and after all time is money!