Niagara Falls is a world wonder; there is no other place on Earth quite like it. Every second, 6 million cubic feet of water rushes over the edge of the falls, plummeting nearly 200 feet before meeting the river below with a thundering crash. Even the landscape around the falls is breath-taking, with forest-covered hills and mountains that are as old as the falls themselves.
Considering its sublime beauty, it is no wonder that Niagara Falls has become one of the world’s greatest tourist attractions. On one hand, it is marvelous that so many travelers have an interest in visiting and viewing nature; on the other hand, the millions of sightseers Niagara Falls attracts every year has made it difficult to experience the falls without feeling like an inauthentic and ungrateful tourist. However, it is possible to experience the falls naturally and honestly ― if you adhere to the following Niagara travel tips.
Stay Close to the Falls
Though the region relatively close to the falls is exceedingly developed, the closer you are to the falls, the more opportunities you have to see them up-close and naturally. By staying nearby, you can stroll through gorgeous Queen Victoria Park to reach the best views and nature paths. You can wander around Dufferin Islands, a quiet, natural park south of the falls, or you can head to the Niagara Glen Nature Reserve, which offers unique views of the river and surrounding region.
More distant accommodations would require uncomfortable commuting via car or public transit, limiting your exposure to the one-of-a-kind scenery. Plus, lodgings nestled in nature often lack the amenities of larger Niagara Falls hotels, making dining and shopping a significant chore. To see the most of the falls, you should acquire rooms in the heart of the action.
Use Your Legs
Niagara is a natural wonder, so the less you rely on motorized modes of transport, the more enjoyment you will find. As mentioned above, it is easy enough to walk from site to site when you are centrally located. You can also spend a few hours exploring the Niagara wilderness on any of the area’s stunning hiking trails. To wander around the falls, you might follow the Devil’s Hole Trail or the Whirlpool Trail, and to get out of central Niagara for a day, you can tackle the Laura Secord Commemorative Trail, which is a segment of the long, historic Bruce Trail.
Know the Best Views
Often, visitors to Niagara Falls take snaps of Horseshoe Falls from Queen Victoria Park, enjoy a ride on the Maid of the Mist, and call it a day, but there are dozens more places to see and experience the falls. For example, you might:
Ride the SkyWheel. The enormous Ferris wheel will take you 175 feet above the falls for a birds-eye view of the river and surrounding region. The cabins are temperature controlled, keeping you warm or cool (depending on the season) and the 360-degree, panoramic views are unbeatable.
Climb Skylon Tower. The observation tower stretches an astounding 520 feet tall, providing even more expansive views of Niagara’s landscape. At the top, there is a revolving dining room where you can enjoy a meal while you look out on the falls.
Journey Behind the Falls. This tour takes you behind and beneath the roaring Niagara waters for an excitingly novel perspective on the world’s largest waterfall. The bedrock tunnels behind the falls provide fascinating views impossible to obtain outside of the tour.
Niagara is a wondrously fertile region, allowing all sorts of agriculture to flourish. As a result, the dining in Niagara is exquisite, largely using the abundant local resources to craft deliciously fresh food and drink.
- Peller Estates Winery. One of the largest vineyards in the region, Peller Estates has a long history in Niagara. The food, wine, and ambiance are incredibly romantic ― and incredibly tasty.
- Windows by Jaime Kennedy. Not only does Windows offer some of the most impressive meals in Niagara, it offers one of the best dining views, as well.
- Two Sisters Vineyards. Perhaps less high-society than other eateries on this list, this vineyard and restaurant is no less beautiful, and the food is remarkably delicious.
- AG Inspired Cuisine. A hidden gem, this restaurant is pricey ― but worth it. The cuisine is outstanding, from quality of ingredients to detail in presentation.
- Vineland Estates Winery. This winery is a good example of traditional ingredients prepared and presented in novel ways.