Planning a trip to Niagara Falls? Write down these 5 Things To Not Miss In Niagara Falls for a great trip.
If you’re wondering when to visit, we suggest spring break. Find out our Fun & Frugal Spring Break Destinations via that link.
My friend Michelle went with her family to Niagara Falls earlier this summer, and the photos and videos she was sending made me so happy. It has been years since I’ve been there. We went as a family a long time ago, and then my youngest brother went to college up that way so we would sort of be near Niagara Falls when we visited him. It’s a fun area and there are actually a lot of things to do in Niagara Falls besides just looking at the falls.
But you have to do that. If you go all the way there and don’t, well … I don’t know what to tell you.
It can be a pretty romantic place to go, which is why so many people have gone for their honeymoons. But it’s also somewhere you can go as a family. So no matter who you’re going with, you’re sure to have a great time when you’re there. Especially if you make sure to check out everything on our list of 5 Things To Not Miss In Niagara Falls.
Notice how that title doesn’t specify a country. You can check out the falls from the US and Canadian sides, and this list has activities on both sides.
5 Things To Not Miss In Niagara Falls
This is the obvious one. But this list would feel completely incomplete without it. You can’t go to Niagara Falls without actually seeing the falls. You can see them from either the American side or the Canadian side. Both sides are beautiful and only one requires a passport.
And actually, keep in mind that you will need a passport or passport card to get into Canada if you’re an American citizens who are 16 and older. For them, a valid United States passport, passport card, or NEXUS card is required for entry into Canada. For American citizens under 16, only proof of United States citizenship is required to cross the border.
Niagara Falls is actually three separate falls: Horseshoe Falls, which is colloquially known as the Canadian Falls, the (simply named) American Falls, and the Bridal Veil fall, which (along with the latter) are on the American side of the twin cities.
If you like gambling, you’ll like Niagara Falls. There are three casinos in Niagara Falls. Casino Niagara and Fallsview Casino Resort are located on the Canadian side and Seneca Niagara is located on the American side.
If you cross the border to play, you can bring in American money and exchange it at the counter (where you cash in your TiTo tickets and casino chips). You can exchange it back into American money before you go home.
In Ontario, where the Canadian casinos are located, it is against the law to provide free drinks. So both Canadian casinos sell drinks, but casino players can’t get them for free. Seneca Niagara isn’t governed by this law, since it’s in New York, so you can get drinks there for free as long as you are playing at the slots or tables, and, of course, if you are legal drinking age.
By the way, legal drinking age in Niagara Falls, New York is 21 and legal drinking age in Niagara Falls, Canada is 19.
Maid of the Mist
When you tell people you went to Niagara Falls, people will ask you if you went on the Maid of the Mist. It’s definitely the most iconic and memorable thing about the Falls.
It’s a boat trip that starts and ends on the American side of the Falls. It does partially cross onto the Canadian side on its travels. It’s wet down there, so passengers wear the famous bright blue ponchos. If you forget everything about your trip, you’ll remember those ponchos.
A little trivia for you: The Maid of the Mist started out as a way to transport passengers from New York to Canada, which started out great. But when a suspension bridge was built, the ferry system seemed like a less effective border crossing method. So the Maid of the Mist became a sightseeing vessel instead.
Cave of the Winds
If you don’t do boats (me either, so I feel you), but you still want to get up close and personal with the Falls, Cave of the Winds is your best option.
Cave of the Winds started as a natural cave, but a massive rockfall combined with the use of dynamite to blast out an overhang obliterated it. But, not to lose the name or the tourist appeal, an attraction of the same name was built near where the cave was. And that’s what you can explore today.
You take an elevator down between the American Falls and the Canadian Falls, then walk out on a deck at the base of the Bridal Veil Falls. Don’t worry about that decking. Each winter the deck is demolished, just in case there was damage from the water, ice, or just general wear and tear. Each spring, park officials rebuild it by basis,has pushing wood into rock crevasses. So okay. Maybe you should worry about that decking if you’re faint of heart.
Zip line the falls
We did a zip lining course once and it was so much fun. It was pretty scary at first, but I absolutely loved the experience. I recommend it to everyone. So, even though I haven’t done the WildPlay’s MistRider Zipline to the Falls, I still recommend it.
There are four parallel ziplines facing the American and Canadian Horseshoe Falls. You’re 220-feet high and zipline for 2,200 feet at speeds of over 40 miles per hour, landing at the Falls observation landing.
I’ve heard the line for it does take a while, though. So bring your patience. From start to finish, the experience takes 60 to 90 minutes, according to the website. Most of the complaints I read about the zipline is that the line is long and the zipline itself is short. But, honestly, it’s a memory that will stay with you forever. At least, that’s how I feel about our zip lining experience.
WildPlay’s MistRider Zipline to the Falls is on the Canadian side of the falls, so if you’re wondering, “Do you need a passport to zipline over Niagara Falls?” the answer is: yes, if you’re American and coming from the American side, but no if you’re Canadian.
Have you been to Niagara Falls lately? What are your favorite things to do in Niagara Falls?