One of the wonders of North America, Niagara Falls is a must-see. Between the crowds and lines, it is easy to get sucked into the tourist trap. Here are some ways to make your visit less stressful and more memorable.
Get there early and park in one of the Niagara Falls State Park lots (US side). As the day goes on, lots will start to fill up but if you get there early enough you should have no trouble. Be sure to check the State Park website for the locations of their parking lots. There are a handful of private lots in the area that are more expensive and advertise as if they were run by the State Park.
Got an RV? No problem. Lot 3 is a big lot for RVs but fills up quickly. Again, try to plan to be there early.
Wear your walking shoes
Park your car and forget it! Most of the sights and attractions of Niagara falls are at a reasonable distance from each other (1-3 miles depending on how far you walk). The park offers a pay-to-ride trolley but we found that walking not only allowed us to see more of the park but also saved us some money and time waiting in the trolley line.
You will also be able to walk across the border to Canada!
Walk to Canada!
One of the cooler experiences at Niagara Falls is the fact that you can simply walk into another country! Head to Rainbow International Bridge with your passport and at least $1 in cash or quarters! In order to enter back into the US you will need to put four quarters into a turnstile on the Canadian side (If you have a $1 bill, they have a Change Machine to change your dollar into quarters just before the turnstile.)
While on the Canadian side, check of the views of the falls and grab a beer at Niagara Brewing Company (less than .25 miles from the border). How many times can you say you walked into another country to grab a quick beer?
Do one of the Niagara Falls experiences
Is it worth the money to go on the park led experiences, such as Cave of the Winds or Maid of the Mist? YES. We were at first hesitant because these are not the cheapest experiences. However, we recommend participating in at least one of the many they offer. These experiences allow you to get a whole new appreciation of the falls as you get up close and personal with the power of the falls.
If you had to chose one, we recommend Cave of the Winds. This brings you to the base of the falls on the US side. You get a first hand experience of just how immense and powerful these falls are. They do provide ponchos, plastic bags, and sandals, but you will most likely still get soaked. Prepare accordingly!
Pack a lunch
With every amazing attraction there is food available, but as you can probably guess, it is overpriced and crowded! We packed a lunch and carried it in our pack throughout the day (even through Cave of the Winds!). There are benches all around the US side that offer priceless views. Find a bench and enjoy a homemade lunch with a view!
Overall, Niagara Falls exceeded our expectations of what we thought it would be. We preferred the US side of the falls because it was more of a park than a city. The Canadian side can be quite overwhelming, especially trying to find parking. The big debate is which side, Canadian or US, has better views of the falls. We preferred the Canadian views better but enjoyed the walk-ability of the State Park on the US side. Hope we helped make your Niagara Falls experience a good one!
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