Whether you’re visiting the Canadian or America side – or both – there’s a lot to do in this area of southern Ontario/northern New York. The Niagara Falls region has blossomed into a fun and unique vacation destination, perfect for a family trip.
North America’s waterfall queen
Niagara Falls is actually 3 waterfalls, broken up by 2 islands.
• The Horseshoe Falls are almost all on the Canadian side. They tower over 16 stories tall and they are the most powerful falls in North America.
• The American and Bridal Veil Falls are on the American side; these are separated from each other (and HorseShoe Falls) by Goat Island and Luna Island.
Families can view the Falls from a number of viewpoints. The ‘Rainbow Bridge’, closest to the Falls, gives an excellent view, and the ‘Whirlpool Rapids Bridge’, just a mile downstream, is also an option to see the Falls from a distance, on foot or by car. For a truly unique family adventure, and to truly understand the immensity of the Falls, you should include a trip on one of the charter boats that tour below and under the Falls. Yes, it’s wet, but getting wet at Niagara Falls is a big part of the fun! And there’s no better perspective of Mother Natures’ power than from the bottom of a 165’ waterfall.
If water’s not your thing…
There are so many other family fun options to explore. For thrill riders, there’s Clifton Hill, an amusement park with a wide range of activities: kids can play over 300 games; parents can challenge them to mini golf or hold their hands through the FX Ride Theater, which is a ‘motion simulator ride through a fun house’ – truly virtual fun!
For a slightly tamer adventure, you can enjoy the Niagara Skywheel and/or the Skylon Tower. The Skywheel soars over 175 feet in the air, and carts visitors to the top in environmentally-controlled, enclosed gondolas, so it’s open all year round. It is Canada’s largest observation wheel.
The Skylon Tower not only offers amazing views, it also has food services available for all styles of dining. The Observation decks offer the opposite view of the Falls from the Maid-of-the-Mist: a view from the top!
Local Niagara history also abounds
The area also offers fascinating historic and nature based attractions. Kids can tour battle fields from the 1812 War between America and England. The nearby Butterfly Conservatory is home to over 2000 species and its tropical rainforest setting provides a change of pace from the bracing environment of the waterfalls.
Preservation of the land surrounding the Falls has been an international process, with both Canada and America issuing laws protecting these areas from private ownership. There are state and national parks on both sides of the border to explore, which offer stunning views of the falls, and their own unique botanical beauty.
Accommodations are plentiful and varied
It’s easy to find the best Niagara Falls hotel for a family, but there are many options of all rates and amenities. The Canadian side alone has more than 200 hotels in the vicinity! Many smaller hotels play on the heritage of the location, and provide fun, historically-informed rooming options.
One thing is for certain – Niagara Falls promises a fabulous family vacation all year round.