Everyone loves a two-for-one deal — and at Niagara Falls you’ve got a great one!
You’re used to traveling from place to place to take in the world’s natural wonders, but there’s one destination where the awe-inspiring power of nature is not only shared by two cities but by two countries. That place is Niagara Falls. Created over 12,000 years ago as water flowed into the Niagara River from the North American Great Lakes, these three breathtaking waterfalls are at the center of a beautiful sightseeing and recreational area with more than enough outdoor and indoor activities to make a great weekend getaway or an extended work/play stay.
Niagara Falls is actually two cities with the same name, divided by the international border between the United States and Canada. The Canadian part is in the province of Ontario and the American part is in the state of New York.
When you’re planning where to stay, you can choose from luxury accommodations and exciting Niagara Falls packages that include your hotel and local tours and attractions, to affordable short- and long-term choices. Almost without exception, you’ll even find the many campgrounds and RV parks equipped with reliable Wi-Fi and all the amenities you’ll need to work on the road.
Once you’ve dropped your bags, you can fill your days and nights nonstop or just relax and enjoy the views. Niagara Falls has tons for singles, couples and families to do, and many of them are accessible via WEGO, the hop-on, hop-off bus system that connects all of the Niagara Parks attractions.
Here’s a sampling:
See the Falls up Close
The best way is to get on board the Maid of the Mist for a cruise from the Canadian docks past the base of the American Falls and through the powerful current onward into the basin of the magnificent Canadian Horseshoe Falls. (You’ll get a little wet, but souvenir raincoats are included with the price of admission.) Operating since 1846, and the oldest tourist attraction in North America, the Maid of the Mist has closed for the 2018 season but will open for 2019 in April when the last of the ice melts on Lake Erie.
Even if you can’t take the boat trip, you can experience the Niagara Parks Journey Behind the Falls where you’ll take an elevator 150 feet down to a series of tunnels that take you right to the brink of the astonishing wall of water crashing down from the top to the basin of the Horseshoe Falls. This attraction is open all year except on Christmas Day.
Explore the Trails
Most visitors don’t know about the Niagara Gorge trails which traverse north from the falls for 6.8 miles (11 kilometers) and offer a superb view. One of the highlights is the stairway that takes you down to Niagara Glen, where you’ll find prehistoric geological formations in a pocket of pristinely preserved Carolinian forest. If you’ve got the kids with you, you might like to take a guided hiking tours through the Glen.
Take in the natural beauty of the region on one of its many cycling trails. There are more than 200 trails, catering to riders of every level. Niagara Parkway has been named one of the top 10 cycling routes in the world, stretching 36 miles (58 kilometers) along the Canadian side of the Niagara River. For a serious ride, the Lake Ontario Waterfront Trail stretches 485 miles (780 kilometers), following the shores of Lake Ontario from Niagara-on-the-Lake to the Quebec border.
Have an Adventure
If you’re ready for some adrenalin-pumping thrills, buckle up for an exhilarating zipline to the falls, challenge yourself on the Niagara Glen Bouldering Trail, or take a kayak trip on a fast-moving current. If more serenity is your goal, you can enjoy an outing on the Niagara River via canoe or river raft. And even if the weather’s cold, there’s also a huge indoor waterpark with slides and a wave pool.
Taste the Grapes
The Niagara Region is known for its award-winning wines including the unique ice wine, made from grapes harvested when temperatures are below freezing and sugar content is highest. The Niagara Wine Route on the Canadian side, and the Niagara Wine Trail on the American side feature dozens of wineries with tasting rooms set amid acres of gorgeous vineyards.
Enjoy the Night Life
There’s still plenty to do after dark. There are fine-dining and kick-back restaurants and two action-packed casinos offering blackjack, roulette, poker, slots and sports gaming along with comedy shows and live entertainment with headline stars.