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An Epic Waterfall Wonder: Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls at night with a rainbow of colors illuminating the falls and a city skyline in the distance

Along the United States/Canada border in the state of New York is a wondrous example of nature in all its glory. Although not officially listed as one of the wonders of the world, Niagara Falls encompasses three individual waterfalls—the American Falls, the Bridal Veil Falls, and the Horseshoe Falls. The American Bridal Veil and a portion of the Horseshoe Falls are located in Niagara Falls, New York, USA. The larger part of the Horseshoe Falls is located in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. Open year-round, the area offers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week access to amazing views.

The water flowing over the Falls comes from four of the Great Lakes–Erie, Huron, Michigan, and Superior. On our trip, we visited both sides of the Falls and can tell you that there are many things to do and see on both sides.

An up close and personal (and very wet) view of the Falls is an unforgettable experience from the Niagara City Cruises boat. Prior to boarding, you will recieve a waterproof poncho. The boat travels up the Niagara River and passes the American and Bridal Veil Falls. Before coming so close to the Horseshoe Falls, there is a torrential mist that will likely soak you. The deafening roar in that area explains the name Niagara, believed to be the native origin of “thundering waters.” You can board the boats from either the United States or Canadian sides of the river.

The Falls are illuminated nightly, year-round. Although the time schedule changes monthly depending on what time it turns dark in the area. Random colors are usually used, but the Niagara Falls Illumination Board honors requests to use special color combinations for charitable and not-for-profit organizations. From the middle of May to early October, there is a fireworks display each night at 10 pm which is visible from anywhere in the vicinity.

We saw an amazing view of the Horseshoe Falls while enjoying lunch at the Table Rock House Restaurant. Anywhere along the Niagara Parkway, you are able to see all of the Falls and take amazing photos. Closer to the Horseshoe Falls, you may experience a mist shower, depending on which direction the wind is blowing that day.

Located behind the Table Rock Centre is the Falls Incline Railway. This Railway allows pedestrians a quick way to go from the many hotels located on Fallsview Blvd. to the Horseshoe Falls below. Tickets are available for one-way, two-way, or all-day use and we rode it every day during our stay.

An image of people standing below Niagara Falls and off to the side with mist spraying on them as they are wearing yellow rain coats.

The Journey Behind the Falls entrance is located at Table Rock Centre. This adventure starts with an elevator ride down 125 feet. You will explore tunnels while feeling the vibration of the falls over your head. At the end of one tunnel, an opening allows you to take a photo from behind the Horseshoe Falls while thousands of gallons of water flow over it. Another tunnel ends in a viewing area. Here, you are at the bottom of the falls, looking up at the water, making for another unforgettable photo opportunity. This adventure also requires a waterproof poncho, as you will get wet.

As you walk down the Niagara Parkway through the Central Niagara Parks, you will see beautiful flower displays and manicured bushes, with numerous park benches for a break to rest and enjoy the view. WildPlay Zipline to the Falls offers four riders at a time a view of all three Falls, landing at the base of the Horseshoe Falls.

A view of the back of two people as ehy view the large floral clock at Niagara Falls

Clifton Hill is a family-friendly area with the Niagara Skywheel, Movieland Wax Museum, Dinosaur Adventure Golf, and the Cosmic Coaster. There are also numerous restaurants and snack areas. You can spend a full day in this area enjoying the attractions. The Fallsview Indoor Waterpark has water activities for all ages and is a year-round attraction.

A major highlight of our trip was dinner at the Skylon Tower revolving dining room. Since the room completes one revolution per hour and our reservation was for 7 pm, we were able to see all of the Falls in both daylight and illuminated. There are numerous choices on the menu. We selected different entrees, as well as a shared dessert. After dinner, we walked up to the observation deck for more beautiful views of the illuminated Falls. Although you can ride a “yellow bug” elevator to the observation level for a separate charge, dining includes that experience.

During our stay, we parked our vehicle at the hotel and walked everywhere we went. After checking out of the hotel, we drove down the Niagara Parkway to see the Whirlpool Aero Car. This cable car, suspended above the Niagara Gorge, gives riders an unforgettable view of the Niagara Whirlpool below. We continued down the Parkway to the Floral Clock. It contains over 20,000 small plants, which change twice each year.

Above view of the Whirlpool Aero Car at Niagara Falls

In New York, we spent a day at Niagara Falls State Park, which is the oldest state park in the United States. Although there is no charge to enter the park, there is a charge for parking. Beautifully landscaped, this 400-acre park allows you to walk alongside the American rapids above the Falls. You can visit the wooden walkways of the Cave of the Winds and stand on Hurricane Deck. This is just below the Bridal Veil Falls. Prepare to utilize another poncho, as you will get soaked at that vantage point.

We had lunch at the Top of the Falls restaurant. This gave us yet another amazing view of the rapids and the American Falls. Numerous walking paths and observation areas throughout the Park offer different views of all three Falls, as well as a possible mist shower. You can easily spend an entire day exploring the area. Snack bars in the area offer picnic tables for a quick bite or an afternoon ice cream treat. Perfect to cool off on a hot day.

If you are looking to get away for an overnight, a weekend, or a few days, Niagara Falls is certainly a beautiful place to visit. Just a few hours away from northeastern Ohio, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what you can see and do.

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