Spanning the Niagara River between Ontario and upper New York, the thundering falls are one of Canada's top tourist destinations, drawing over 14 million people annually. They look good by day and by night, when colorful spotlights flicker across the misty foam. Even in winter, when the flow is partially hidden and the edges freeze solid, the watery extravaganza is undiminished.
We've developed the following 3-day itinerary in partnership with NiagaraParks.com, the official Ontario Government tourism agency responsible for Niagara Falls and the surrounding area. We've focused on the main things to see and do at Niagara, whether you're here on a honeymoon or vacationing with the kids.
The main landmarks around Niagara Falls are Table Rock (a large complex of shops, visitor centers, restaurants, etc) and the beautiful Queen Victoria Park that surrounds the town of Niagara Falls. Niagara-on-the-Lake is a small town about 12 miles (20 km) north (downstream) and the center of an up-and-coming wine region so it is definitely worth a visit while you are in the area!Day 1: Niagara Falls & Table Rock
Dive right into Niagara Falls, so to speak, at one of the two iconic attractions at Table Rock: Niagara's Fury or Journey Behind the Falls. The former is a 4-D (that's a polite way of saying you will get wet!) tour of the creation of Niagara Falls: temperatures drop 20 degrees and water bubbles and sprays as the floor tilts and trembles beneath you. Kids love it!
Journey Behind the Falls is a literal behind-the-scenes walk in a tunnel behind the falls. In spring and summer months, don a free biodegradable rain poncho as protection from the mist of the Falls. Elevators drop 150 feet through bedrock to tunnels that lead and to the Cataract Portal and the Great Falls Portal. In winter the mist of the falls freezes in spectacular ice formations on every tree and building to form a breathtakingly beautiful display.
When all of this excitement leaves you starving, head over to Elements on the Falls Restaurant, which has a truly spectacular view of the Horseshoe Falls and is the closest dining experience offered near the stunning natural wonder. This is a good choice for a pre-dinner cocktail as well.Day 2: On, over & in the water!
This is the day you've been waiting for! Getting wet, getting up close to the falls and experiencing them first-hand. You have a few choices. First up is the iconic Maid of the Mist boat ride to the foot of the falls (there are Maid of the Mist options from both the Canadian side and American side of the falls). Bring your camera, and your sense of adventure!
Feeling even more adventurous? There's another option that departs from Niagara-on-the-Lake: a Jet Boat tour of the Niagara River and its whirlpools. You are guaranteed to get wet on this one!
Another popular and fun way to experience Niagara is on the White Water Walk, a walkway perched along the edge of Niagara's most turbulent rapids. Close by is the equally popular Whirlpool Aero Car, an antique, aerial cable car suspended 250 feet (76 meters) in the air, crossing between two points of the Canadian shore above the Niagara River's spectacular rapids and whirlpools.Day 3: A little history, a little nature
Start Day Three with a visit to the Sir Adam Beck power station. You can observe the workings of one of Ontario's largest hydroelectric stations and learn first-hand how this natural, non-polluting power source captures the overwhelming flow of the Niagara River. The station is about six miles (10 km) north of the Falls.
Then it's off to the Butterfly Conservatory, with more than 2,000 colorful butterflies floating freely among lush tropical blossoms. Kids love wandering along the paths through the rain forest setting.
Have more time to spend at Niagara Falls? Check out our full selection of tours at Niagara Falls and Around
. You can also visit NiagaraParks.com for more information on where to play, eat and stay.