Suddenly soaked, I stared out to see a rainbow arc across the mist of the thunderous falls. I captured the moment with multiple senses; sight, sound, feeling, smell, and perhaps even a taste of the water. I was standing right next to the Niagara Falls and I felt alive. It was awesome.
This moment is “why” you make the trip to Niagara Falls; you get a chance to not just see the beauty of nature, but also appreciate its power from so close. I wondered why I haven’t made the trip in so many years, since the 80s when “awesome” was a much more popular descriptor, but I decided to just focus on the fact I was here, wet, standing beside one of the wonders of the natural world.
Where are the Niagara Falls?
If you don’t know, the falls are just 30 minutes from Buffalo, New York or 90 minutes from Toronto, Ontario (each distance measured in time via car). The town of Niagara Falls (on both sides of the border), makes the marvel easily reachable and accessible by the public. Sure, the built up infrastructure (surprisingly mostly on the Canadian side) with all the places to stay, eat, drink and even gamble helped it gain a “cheesy” reputation, but truthfully, I loved my few days there. If nothing else, I think you can easily enjoy a few days here just viewing the waterfalls and take on a few adventures. I did.
The Maid of the Mist
The most famous attraction, besides a simulated photograph of you going over the falls in a barrel, must be the Maid of the Mist. Available from either side of the border crossing peace bridge, and it’s a must see in the midst of all the options and attractions.
The Maid of the Mist provides a ferry boat to the very water, the mist of the falls on the Niagara River. It is part of the Adventure Pass on the Canadian side (along with four attractions – but the American side is a different pass). During the (approximately 20 minute) boat ride expect to listen to a recorded message of the sights in multiple languages, expect to get really close to the falls, and expect to hear the screaming of the passengers as the water soaks the boat. Don’t worry you will have a rain poncho to keep you relatively dry.
The boat stops in front of American Falls and also in front of the Horseshoe Falls (Canadian Falls).
Journey to the Falls
Perhaps even better than the Maid of Mist is the chance to view the falls from behind. In tunnels carved out years ago, visitors can walk behind the falls and also stand directly next to them. This is where I felt most alive. It was an incredible moment I highly recommend.
Also part of the Adventure Pass, this is a must do from the Canadian Side of the Niagara Falls.
Other Adventures and the Skylon Tower
The Adventure Pass also includes a White Water Walk alongside the Falls (sadly I didn’t have a chance to take) and the Niagara’s Furry, a experiential movie I wouldn’t recommend to visitors. The cartoon movie didn’t seem to deliver enough history and the special effect, although unique, left little kids scared and adults unimpressed.
Another great option outside the Adventure Pass is the Skylon Tower. The views provide a perfect chance to enjoy a sunset in Niagara Falls, but also offer splendid views during the day, or even night views of Niagara.
Stay adventurous, Craig