Niagara Falls Pitfalls
The Best Parts of Visiting Niagara Falls and a Few Insider's Tricks to Having the Best Time at One of the World’s Greatest Wonders
Niagara Falls is one of the United States' most beautiful landmarks. Everyone loves a waterfall, but at 167 feet tall and with an average flow of 85,000 cubic feet per second, Niagara Falls is three of the most gorgeous sights available all in one. That’s right! Niagara Falls is actually three waterfalls all in one. So if you're planning a trip to upstate New York or Canada, here are a few tricks to get you the best out of your journey.
1. Bring your passport and drive (or walk) over to the Canadian side of the falls.
You need a passport (or other acceptable form of identification to travel to the Canadian side and back again just like any other country). However, if you want to add some specialty to your adventure, trying walking over the Rainbow Bridge. Most people cannot say that they walked to a different country today. Overall, the Canadian side of Niagara Falls tends to be less crowded and offers a clearer view of the falls. Especially during the off-season (winter), but the view is just as amazing, so don't be fooled. Frozen waterfalls are just as pretty as flowing waterfalls.
2. Make it a day trip.
No matter which side of the falls you are on, there is enough to make the trip more than just a few minutes of looking at the falls. On the Canadian side, one street away, is Clifton Hill, which offers something for everyone, from a giant arcade, the sky wheel (a huge Ferris Wheel overlooking the falls), a casino, and even a year-round haunted house. On the U.S. side there is an aquarium, shopping centers, and numerous restaurant choices.
3. Walk the whole length of the falls.
It may seem silly to walk along the entire length of Niagara Falls (the U.S. side is 435 acres of land), but there are so many other things to see along the way besides just the waterfalls. There are the rapids at the end of the falls trail on the U.S. side or the aero-car on the Canadian side that takes you out over the whirlpools. There are wind tunnel caves that actually allow visitors to go underneath the falls. Or the Maid of the Mist boat tours that bring travelers right up next to and underneath the splash of the falls.
4. Give yourself enough time to enjoy the beauty.
I’ve seen so many people just go driving by and looking out their car window at Niagara Falls, but they miss so much of the view that way. Honestly, there is not really a good way to see the falls from a car. On either side, visitors must park and walk the to the edge of the falls to realize the full effect. If you’re only interested in seeing Niagara Falls, give yourself at least an hour to walk along the trails and see the beauty up close. You’ll be glad you did and may even decide to stay a little longer.
5. Be a tourist!
Don’t be afraid that you’re going to look silly. Everyone there does. Take lots of pictures, go on the Maid of the Mist tour, buy one of the gift shop’s plastic rain coats (because you will get wet no matter what you do). Just enjoy yourself in one of the United States’ most beautiful places.
6. Bring a change of clothes or at least shoes.
From the edge of the viewing platforms of Niagara Falls, no matter when you go, you are going to get wet feet. The platforms are always covered in water or ice or snow depending on the temperature of the falls. If you are going on the Maid of the Mist tours or into the caves, a whole new outfit may be necessary when leaving. You are right underneath three gigantic waterfalls, you are going to be soaked!
7. Have fun!
Explore, go to a different country, learn about the falls at the Niagara Visitor’s Center. No matter what you choose to do while there, even if it’s just a quick look at the falls themselves, remember to enjoy the beauty. Not everyone can say that they have visited one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
If you want more information about Niagara Falls, this video from the History Channel is extremely helpful.