When to Go
It is hard to define what draws us to waterfalls. Perhaps it is the magnetic power of water plummeting to earth and the beauty of nature that draws us to them. Visiting waterfalls top travelers’ lists the world over. If you live on the east coast of the U.S. you don’t have to travel far to see one of the most enticing waterfalls in the world - Niagara Falls which straddles the border of the U.S.A. and Canada.
The falls were formed more than 12,000 years ago when glaciers melted and large torrents of water were released from melting ice into the Niagara River. The resulting powerful flow of water created a river that rushed over a steep cliff known as the Niagara Escarpment that became the voluminous falls people from all over the world come to see.
The formation of Niagara Falls is a slow process of gradual erosion that continues today. Work has been done to preserve the Falls, and the volume of water has been reduced by diversion for hydroelectric power, which is one of Niagara Falls’ most important products. Together, power plants on both the American and Canadian sides of the Falls have the capacity to produce up to 2.4 million kilowatts of electricity.
The New Niagara Falls Experience
When was the last time you have been to Niagara Falls? So much has changed on both sides of the border. Each side has its own unique charm and offers visitors an astounding number of things to do.
Niagara Falls - The American Side
While the Canadian side of Niagara Falls has always been considered “a diva” with better options for dining, shopping, and lodging, there is plenty to do on the American side. Although the American side is still less developed, things are changing. Today, you can try your luck at the tables at the four-star Seneca Niagara Resort and Casino, and afterward, enjoy their restaurant. For a change of pace, you might want to explore the Niagara Wine Trail. Situated between Lake Ontario and the Niagara Escarpment, the Niagara Wine Trail features almost two dozen award-winning wineries and cideries to enjoy. Niagara Falls may not be on the top of your foodie list, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a good meal here, especially since, we know where to go! In many eateries, you have the added bonus of a view of the falls.
The American and Bridal Falls
This area has been preserved since the 1880s and is located in America’s oldest State Park. The scenery is the star attraction. The park was designed by famous landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, who created “an oasis in the city,” known as Manhattan’s, Central Park. Niagara Falls State Park is perfect for lovers of the great outdoors because there are unique things that you can only experience on the American side of the falls.
Cave of the Winds | In the 19th century this was one of the most celebrated experiences on the American side of the falls. One of the most beloved thrills for visitors was climbing down a rickety staircase to stand in the Cave of the Winds, a 130-foot-tall cavity behind Bridal Veil Falls. By the 1950s, the mouth of the cavern had deteriorated past the point of salvation, and this area was closed due to rock falls. Today, new walkways have been installed in front of Bridal Veil Falls and an elevator takes visitors to the base of the falls for a close-up view.
Maid of the Mist | This vessel has been cruising past the falls since 1846. Leaving Niagara Falls State Park taking this cruise is one way to float on Canadian waters. The boat plys its way through the turbulent current toward the defining thunder of Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side of the border. Because the Maid doesn’t dock in Ontario, you don’t need a passport!
Whirlpool Jet Boat | If you want to get your adrenaline pumping and are willing to get drenched take a Whirlpool Jet Boat ride that navigates the fury of Niagara’s Devil Hole Rapids. The waves can reach 20 feet high and your speed can be 20 miles an hour or more – so, be sure to sit in the back of the boat and hang on tight for a slightly less heart-pounding ride.
Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center | Opened in 2018, the Heritage Center is perfect for history buffs. The mission of the Heritage Center is to tell authentic stories of the Underground Railroad abolitionists and freedom seekers in this area.
The Canadian Side of Niagara Falls
The Canadian side of Niagara Falls is more glamourous. It is more built-up than the American side and today it is even more so. Here you will find Clifton Hill, the self-proclaimed “fun street” that is like an Ontario version of the Las Vegas strip. The street is packed with attractions, shops, restaurants, bars, and even the Niagara Speedway. Another hotspot is the Fallsview Casino overlooking Horseshoe Falls. This is Canada’s largest gaming facility with more than 20 dining options. Historic Queen Street is a charming destination for dining and shopping. Even though the Canadian side is more built up, there are still many ways to experience the natural beauty of Niagara Falls.
The Views | The Canadian side is where you get the most gorgeous panoramas of both the American Falls and the mighty Horseshoe Falls that are situated on the Canadian side of the border. On the Canadian side, you can get to the brink of Horseshoe Falls on a Hornblower cruise, which is the Canadian version of the Maid of the Mist. Horseshoe Falls are 2,590 feet wide while the American Falls are 1,050 feet wide.
The Skylon Tower Observation Deck | The Deck offers amazing views of the falls. It stands 764 feet above the ground. The views of the falls and the city of Niagara Falls is nothing short of stupendous. Every evening the drama of the falls is heightened by a mesmerizing colored light show where hundreds of LED lights create a spectacular spectacle of color. Besides the observation deck, Skylon Tower is home to two restaurants that rotate 360- degrees over the course of an hour offering impressive views of the falls and beyond.
Journey Behind the Falls | This exciting adventure is located at Table Rock Centre and is an exciting way to experience Horseshoe Falls. Visitors descend 125 feet by elevator where a short tunnel gives them access to two outdoor observation decks located directly behind the falls. Here you will experience the amazing sensation of one-fifth of the world’s freshwater thundering down to the basin below!
Ride the Skywheel | If you just can’t get enough views, take a spin on the Niagara Skywheel. This Ferris wheel is the largest observation wheel in Canada that soars 175 feet above Niagara Falls. The views are stunning and unforgettable.
Travel in Comfort With Tours of Distinction
At the end of the day, the waterfalls are the main attraction here. Although the best views of this world-renown natural wonder are best seen in Canada, the American side offers a more unspoiled and natural setting. Both sides offer many unique experiences which is why Niagara Falls is a favored destination for travelers near and far.
At Tours of Distinction, we want you to enjoy both sides of the falls and we are ready to take you there in comfort and safety. Traveling in our luxurious motor-coach with temperature controls, comfy seating, entertainment systems, and fabulous views out your window, the time it takes to get to UpState New York and Canada on the Thruway flies by. Along the way, there are interesting shops and attractions to explore so that you can get out and stretch your legs and see something new. Our tour director will be traveling with you and available to help you in every possible way to make sure you are getting the most out of your journey.