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Traveling to Niagara Falls, Ontario? Here are 4 incredible ways to experience Niagara Falls!
Niagara Falls has always been a favourite of mine.
I grew up near Niagara Falls, Ontario – about a half hour’s drive away. Now that I’m living closer to Toronto, Niagara Falls is still a relatively short distance away. I’ve always felt very blessed to live near such an awesome natural phenomenon.
Living nearby, I can just hop in the car and take a day trip to Niagara Falls. When friends from out of town come to visit, I always offer to take them to the Falls. It’s one of those places that you really must see in your lifetime. When Ashley, a blogger friend of mine, travelled to Toronto from her home in Tennessee, we met in Niagara Falls to check it out together.
While visiting Niagara Falls in the winter is an entirely different experience, there are so many things to do and see in the spring, summer, and fall months. This guide details four incredible ways to witness this spectacular waterfall will help you plan a day trip to Niagara Falls.
You can see these natural attractions easily in a day or even a half day. At the end of the article, I’ll provide some suggestions to fill out the rest of your Niagara Falls day trip.
HORNBLOWER NIAGARA CRUISES
If there’s one truly iconic attraction to do in Niagara Falls, it’s the Hornblower Niagara Cruises boat tour. It’s also the only boat tour operating in Niagara Falls, Canada. If you want to get as close as possible to the Falls by water, this is the tour to take.
So, pull that bright red rain poncho over your head and come experience Niagara Falls!
Your boat tour will take you past the American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and circling past the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. Be prepared – it’s gonna get misty! While you can stay indoors, the best view is from the top deck. Gather around the front edge of the railing for the ultimate thrilling ride.
While you won’t go completely beneath the Horseshoe Falls (the flow of water is super intense!), you get as close as possible.
The poncho will keep you nice and dry, but your electronic devices can get wet when you get closer to the Falls. Be sure to pack waterproof cameras and smartphones. I was able to use my DSLR until a certain point, and then I put it away as I didn’t want to destroy my camera.
Hornblower Niagara Cruises operates from April 1st – November 30th, daily in the summer and on select days in the spring and fall.
I’d love to return and experience the Falls Illumination Cruise. Every night, Niagara Falls is lit up in a dazzling display of bright colours. This year, there’s a brand new, $4 million dollar enhanced projection system, so the Falls at night looks better than ever.
JOURNEY BEHIND THE FALLS
Journey Behind the Falls, a Niagara Parks attraction, gives you an alternate perspective of this spectacular waterfall. Take a self-guided walking tour through 130 year old tunnels to experience the power of Niagara.
There are multiple cave entrances where you can see Niagara Falls plummeting down right before your eyes. Hearing the crashing waters was another reminder of the sheer amount of water that cascades to the river below every second of the day. It’s actually one fifth of the entire world’s fresh water!
The best part of Journey Behind the Falls is the observation deck at the end of the tunnel system. Standing right beside Niagara Falls is an experience like no other. It’s a good thing that we received another set of ponchos as the mist was even more intense here than on the Hornblower Cruise.
If you’re worried that all of these rain ponchos generates a huge amount of waste, fear not. Both Hornblower Cruises and Niagara Parks have a fantastic recycling initiative. The plastic ponchos are reused to make plastic bags, water bottles, and even outdoor furniture. Feel free to also keep your poncho as a souvenir of your day exploring the Falls.
WHITE WATER WALK
I couldn’t believe that I’d never heard about the White Water Walk before going there with Ashley. It’s a little known gem in Niagara Falls, and I highly suggest that you check it out.
A short distance down from Niagara Falls, the White Water Walk is a boardwalk extending along the Niagara River. Take a stroll down this boardwalk to observe the intense rush of this turquoise blue water, reminding me of tropical destinations at times.
Just how fast moving is the water in this river? These are class six white-water rapids, among the most intense in the world. The Niagara Whirlpool Rapids are four kilometres of three to five metre standing waves. These rapids are not caused by rock formations at the bottom of the river bed. Instead, it’s the force of the water (both volume and speed) that creates these raging rapids.
Don’t even think about going white-water rafting here – it’s illegal, and I don’t think you’d fare too well.
The photos of the rapids don’t do them justice, so you’ll just have to see it in person for yourself.
WHIRLPOOL AERO CAR
Here’s where you can view the Niagara River from above. The Whirlpool Aero Car recently celebrated its 100th anniversary, making it one of the oldest Niagara attractions. Designed by Spanish engineer, Leonardo Torres Quevedo, here’s your chance to ride an antique cable car suspended across the gorge.
You can see the raging rapids right beneath you as you soar up high in the air. Even though the Whirlpool Aero Car ultimately reaches two Canadian edges of the gorge, you’ll actually cross into the United States twice during your journey. This section of the river hovers on the Canada / USA border, and you’ll travel between both countries on your trip.
Tip: If you’re thinking of visiting several attractions, it might be worthwhile to purchase the Niagara Falls Adventure Pass!
LOOKING FOR MORE?
Want some more suggestions of things to do in Niagara Falls to fill out the rest of your day?
- Go hiking at the Niagara Glen
- Drive a short distance to Niagara-on-the-Lake for a wine tour or wine tastings
- Start hiking the Bruce Trail – you’ll find the Southern Terminus near Niagara Falls
- Try the new zipline attraction at Niagara Falls
- Ride the Niagara Skywheel, Canada’s largest observation ferris wheel
- As touristy as it may be, walk around Clifton Hill (Justin and I always play some arcade games)
- Pack your passport and cross to the American side, by car or on foot, for new perspectives!
If you’d like to expand your Niagara Falls getaway to an entire weekend or even three days, check out my article for Trivago Magazine, The Weekend Travelogue: Niagara Falls. I give suggestions on exploring Niagara Falls, Niagara-on-the-Lake, hotel and restaurant suggestions, and ideas for the trip back home.
PLACES TO STAY
While there are a ton of hotels and accommodations in Niagara Falls, here are a few that I personally can recommend after staying at them over the years.
- Marriott Fallsview Hotel & Spa – Rooms with an awesome view of Niagara Falls!
- Great Wolf Lodge – Fun for the whole family! Check out the Falls and go to a gigantic indoor waterpark.
- Embassy Suite Niagara Falls – Fallsview – Spectacular views of the Falls
- Pillar and Post Inn and Spa – In Niagara-on-the-Lake, close to wineries and has an indoor pool and outdoor jacuzzi
Check out my entire travel photo album of my day trip to Niagara Falls Ontario!
PIN this image to your Pinterest board for future reference.
Thanks so much to Hornblower Niagara Cruises and Niagara Parks for inviting me to experience the natural attractions of Niagara Falls. My opinions, as always, are entirely my own.
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