Niagara Waterfall is one of the 20 waterfalls pointed out on my bucket list. You can check the other 19, here. Visiting Niagara was a great experience and I must say that it was even more than I expected.
It’s impossible not to have heard of Niagara Falls, being the strongest and most famous in the world. However, I remember that my first memory linked to the waterfall had Marilyn Monroe in the foreground. How? Well, when I was very little and my parents were big fans of old movies, we watched together the movie Niagara. The movie was produced in 1953 and having as protagonists, Marilyn Monroe and Joseph Cotton. I don’t remember exactly what the plot was, but the image of the spectacular waterfall remained burned in my memory.
The falls are located on the Niagara River, at the border between the state of New York (US) and Ontario province (Canada). Niagara River connects Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. The river is divided in two, by the Goat Island.
How to get to Niagara Falls
Like all trips that we made in the USA, the way to Niagara Falls also began in the town of Norfolk, VA. 11 hours, 970 km, 4 states (Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York). This would be the road trip in numbers if you were to go by the GPS orientation, but in reality, the road lasted much longer, considering how many times we had to stop to get some rest and to eat. However, we arrived just before the sunset, so we caught the right moment in watching the light show projected onto the falls.
If you decide to travel by car, as we did, you need to know that the right address to set the GPS in, is 36 Niagara St, Niagara Falls, NY 14303 . It will get you right next to the entrance of Niagara Falls State Park.
There is also the airplane option available. So, the nearest airport is situated 30 minutes away, Buffalo Niagara International Airport.
Without even having a clue about this, a big coincidence made us visit the Niagara State Park exactly in its date of inauguration, 15th of July. Despite this, I haven’t seen anyone celebrating and I didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary activities in the area and, if I hadn’t noticed the engraved date on a monument, I wouldn’t have realized that Niagara State Park was fulfilling 130 years of existence, under the name of Niagara Reservation. Of course, many tourists of all nations were watching and marveling at the miracle of nature, but I am sure that this happens any other day at Niagara Falls.
What to see and do:
The colored lights show:
I can’t decide what is the best time of the day in order to admire the waterfall, but it wasn’t needed, because we were lucky enough to watch it during the daylight, but also after dusk. Definitely, the best place to do this is the Observation Tower, which offers a splendid panorama at 85 m above the ground. This is also where you can admire some landmark constructions on the territory of neighboring Canada: Skylon Tower, Niagara Sky Wheel, Rainbow Bridge and some famous hotels.
Another wonderful spot from where you can have access to some of the most breathtaking views of the world wonder is the Goat Island; the island divides the river Niagara into two smaller rivers. The most appropriate observation place is Terrapin Point. You can reach Goat Island walking or driving your car, having two parking lots at your disposal. In order to get to the island, you have to cross the American Rapids Bridge. If you prefer walking, then you have to cross the Pedestrian Bridge. On the island, you can admire the imposing monument of Nikola Tesla, who designed the first major Hydroelectric Power Plan in the World. The sculpture belongs to the Croatian Frane Krisnic.
Maid of the Mist Boat Tour:
I would strongly recommend you to take this tour. For more than 150 years, the visitors have had the opportunity to get very close to the waterfall. This is what we did, as well. Therefore, we bought the tickets at a price of $18.25/ person and we descended to Maid of the Mist Boarding, located at the foot of the Observation Tower. There they gave us some blue raincoats to protect us against the very strong water flow. Next, the boat took us close to all the three waterfalls and I can say that, even though we were some tens of meters away from the Horseshoe Falls, we felt like we were underneath the water. You can buy the tickets from the Visitor Center or on the website.
This is a spot situated at the foot of the Observation Tower, which can be accessed if you walk on a narrow path and climb some stairs. Here, we were very close to the American Falls, but we decided not to spend too much time in this place for two reasons: the wet steps that can easily become dangerous and the crowd. Also, here we had the chance to see the rainbow, a very common phenomenon at Niagara Falls. It was gorgeous!
There are many stores from where you can buy souvenirs for yourself or the loved ones. In the Maid of the Mist shop, the prices are little too high. Therefore, I would recommend you to check the stores in the town, where you will find the same products at a more reasonable price. Their collection is varied, so you will have from where to choose. I bought this photo frame for $8.59, from a store located on Old Falls Street.
Rainbow Bridge to Canada:
Rainbow Bridge is the famous bridge that connects the US with Canada, but also the two cities with the same name: Niagara Falls. The construction of the bridge finished in 1941 and it’s 62 m above the water.
Niagara Falls town:
Although situated in a thriving tourist area, the city doesn’t have too much to offer. With the exception of only few souvenir stores, the Seneca Casino, and the plethora of Indian, Arabic and Chinese restaurants, there aren’t other attractions which you can explore.
- The flow rate of the water is about 3200 tons per second
- The water has a drop of 51 m on the Canadian side and 21 m on the American side
- Niagara is composed actually of three waterfalls: the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls (American portion) and Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian portion
- 4 out of 5 Great Lakes flow into the Niagara River: Superior, Michigan, Huron and Erie
- The park is opened to visitors absolutely any day of the year and at any time of the day
- There are two towns named Niagara Falls, one in Ontario, Canada, the other in New York State, USA
- Niagara State Park and Central Park are designed by the same architect, Frederick Law Olmsted
One of my dreams came true when I visited Niagara Falls, but I have to admit that I wish to also see it from the Canadian territory because it’s said that the panorama is even more beautiful from that side. On my bucket list you can also find a tour behind the waterfall, dinner at the top of the Skylon Tower, and to see Niagara while I am riding the Niagara Sky Wheel.
- How about you? Have you been at Niagara?
- How did you spend your time while you were there?