How to Get the Most out of Niagara Falls
Tiffany Rowe - The waterfalls are enormous ― impossible to miss ― but traveling all the way to Niagara Falls just to stare at the falling water can cause a bit of a disappointment. Natural wonders like Niagara Falls are better experienced rather than seen, which means you will get more out of your trip to the falls if you do more than just look at them. Fortunately, both sides of Niagara Falls are filled with activities that allow you to enjoy beautiful views of each of the three waterfalls while keeping your mind and body busy.
The Niagara region is absolutely beautiful, with mild weather nearly year-round, which makes it the perfect place for golf. There are 30 courses around Niagara Falls, including a few charming small towns like St. Catharines and Welland, but a select few offer the true Niagara experience while you follow your ball around the holes.
The Legends on the Niagara Golf Complex contains some of the most noteworthy courses, including Battlefield, which has hosted a number of international opens, and Ussher’s Creek, which boasts beautiful natural landscaping with deciduous trees and fescue rough. However, John Daley’s Thundering Waters Golf Club is the only course around that offers a full-sensory Niagara experience. True to its name, Thundering Waters is surrounded by the sound of Niagara’s falls, and you can smell and feel the fresh air from the rushing water throughout the course. A round of golf here is utterly unforgettable.
The legendary Maid of the Mist has been taking travelers up the river to the falls since 1848, which makes the boat tour not only the most popular but also among the oldest of Niagara Falls’ activities. There are docks on both American and Canadian sides of the falls for you to hop on board and sail to all three of Niagara’s falls: American, Bridal Veil, and Horseshoe. Seen from below, the falls are even more impressive, and kids will absolutely love getting drenched in the falls’ spray.
Spots on Maid of the Mist go quickly, so you should definitely buy tickets ahead of time. Fortunately, if you forget, you can probably find room on the other popular boat tour in the area, Hornblower from Niagara Cruises.
Clifton Hill is commonly regarded as the tourist district of Niagara Falls; it is the neighborhood with the best resorts, casinos, restaurants, and nightlife. Fortunately, Clifton Hill also boasts some amazing views of the falls if you know where to go.
The Niagara SkyWheel is Canada’s tallest observation wheel, soaring 175 feet into the air for exceptional views of the falls and countryside. The wheel’s gondolas are fully enclosed and equipped with heating and cooling for your safety and comfort. For an even more dazzling experience, you should ride the SkyWheel at night when the region is glittering with lights.
Just a short walk from Cliton Hill, you will find Skylon Tower, an observation tower that overlooks the entire Niagara region. More than 600 feet taller than the SkyWheel, Skylon provides breathtaking aerial views stretching as far as Buffalo, New York and Toronto, Ontario. Additionally, you have the opportunity enjoy the magnificent sights while you dine at Skylon’s Revolving Dining Room, which slowly spins so you can take in the full panorama.
After you see the falls from above and below, you should see them from behind. Journey Behind the Falls is an exciting adventure that takes you 13 stories down and directly behind the thundering Horseshoe Falls. You won’t believe how quickly the water flows off Niagara Falls until you get this close.
Niagara Falls isn’t just a thriving city. Inside and outside the metropolitan center, the Niagara region is filled with beautiful natural parks and wilderness areas that provide expansive views of the falls. The hikes with the best views are located on the American side, though you can find plenty of challenging and fun adventures in nature on the Canadian side, as well. For your hike, you might pack a picnic ― to include a bottle of wine from one of the Niagara region’s top-rated vineyards.
Closest to the falls, Niagara Falls State Park is calm and restful in comparison to the busy Canadian side, which you can see across the river. The park offers a unique perspective on the falls, though it does lack the breathtaking angles of Horseshoe Falls you’ll find the Canadian side. You will find more challenging hikes in Whirlpool State Park, though views of the three largest waterfalls are harder to find.