Have you ever visited Niagara Falls? On our recent Summer road trip, we took the time drive up to the American side of Niagara Falls and show the kids this amazing landmark. We have been to Niagara Falls many years ago and were surprised at the crowds on this visit. If you are planning to visit Niagara Falls, take a minute and learn from our experience.
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How to Enjoy Niagara Falls
We visited Niagara Falls on one of the busiest weekends of the year so we learned a few things that may help you on your next trip.
Did you know that there are actually three waterfalls at Niagara Falls? The American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and of course the most famous of the waterfalls, the Canadian Falls (best known as Horseshoe Falls.)
One week back in 1999 before we had kids, my husband and I hopped in our old clunker and headed on a 3,000 mile road trip that started in Kentucky and took us up through Michigan, over through Canada, past Niagara Falls, through Massachusetts, New York City, Pennsylvania and then back home. We did it all in less than 7 days. What an amazing trip. One of the many highlights was our visit to Niagara Falls.
Know what tour you want
There are many ways to enjoy Niagara Falls. You can ride the Maid of The Mist to the bottom of the Falls or take the Cave of the Winds tour so you can hike around the famous steps as seen in the 1950’s movie Niagara. There are several different tours and the lines get long very quickly. So take a little time and research the tours so you will know exactly which one you want to take.
Get There Early
We had originally planned to take the ride to the bottom of the Falls on the Maid of the Mist but by the time we got there the line was backed up so far that we decided we to skip the boat ride and just do a little walking instead. We thought about doing the Cave of the Winds tour but again, the line was so long that we didn’t want to spend three hours waiting. We definitely would like to go back and get there early enough so we can enjoy the tours.
My husband and I visited Niagara Falls about 20 years ago from the Canadian side and loved the view. The American side just doesn’t quite get the best view of the Falls. Yes, it’s gorgeous and amazing when you get down to the first overlook, but to really get the best view from the American side you need to keep walking. Follow the signs to the Top of the Falls Restaurant and walk around to the overlook behind the restaurant! Trust me, you’ll appreciate the view too!
This was one of the favorite parts of our visit to Niagara Falls. Look at my hair – there was so much electricity in the air that all our hair was literally standing straight up.
Pictures are great, but getting close enough to touch Niagara Falls inspires genuine awe. Millions of gallons of water rocket over Niagara Falls every minute – about 750,000 gallons each second! There’s no closer place to “feel Niagara’s flow” than from the decks, boats, vista points and trails of Niagara Falls State Park – America’s oldest state park.
Parking is going to cost you
The area down near the Falls is very commercial with lots of stores, vendors and people everywhere. By the time we got there, most of the parking lots were already full. We did find that there was plenty of parking in the parking garage. ($20 during the peak season).
Niagara Falls State Park Visitor Center
332 Prospect St Niagara Falls, NY 14303
Have you been to Niagara Falls? What is your favorite time of year or overlook? I’d love to hear!