Niagara Falls is a magnificent landmark straddling the border between Canada and the United States.
The location and natural wonder are probably familiar to most readers on both sides of the border.
But there are also aspects of the Falls that many people don’t know.
There is way more to this destination than just watching water flow over three massive waterfalls.
Tours such as www.niagaratorontotours.com can show you the many other sites to see besides the Falls themselves.
Recommend Niagara Falls Tours
Below are five excursions that I recommend and that you probably didn’t know you could do on your visit to Niagara.
How to Find Luxury at Niagara Falls
How to Find Leisure and Luxury in Niagara Falls
Niagara, Ontario has utilized their micro-climate to develop an array of well-crafted wines.
They have increasingly become quite famous for the wines they produce there.
Their famous Niagara Ice Wine is created by grapes that are frozen while on the vine.
This area is the host to the Annual Wine Festival and other festivals every year.
You can tour wineries, sample wine and enjoy Niagara cuisine.
Take a trip to one of the wineries to unwind and relax on your much-needed vacation.
Niagara on the Lake
This quaint and very aged town holds years of rich Canadian history.
Keeping its colonial style look, it will flash you right back to when it was settled in 1781.
You can visit Niagara on the Lake to indulge in the history, shop at an outlet mall, or golf at the oldest golf course in Canada.
It is also home to the Shaw Festival, a non-profit show of a local theater company’s various plays.
Just a short drive from the Falls, this town can be a great day trip to learn how the area came to be.
You also can ride in a real horse-drawn carriage and experience life as it was in the 1700’s.
Hydro Power Stations
For more of a thought-provoking and informational excursion, visit the hydro-power stations.
Niagara Falls is one of the largest producers of hydroelectric energy, having generated around four million kilowatts.
The Sir Adam Beck Hydroelectric Generating System diverts water away from the Niagara River and releases it at the base of the falls.
They are able to produce electricity from the captured energy of falling water.
This is known to be one of the most renewable resources, as the cycle of water never ends.
Through this process, the Falls produce seventy percent of Ontario’s electricity.
Luxury at Niagara Falls
As the falls have eroded over the years due to the freezing and thawing of the river, they have receded upstream.
The Niagara Gorge is the original site of the Falls 12,500 years ago.
With the current in the gorge being so strong, it produces some of the most dangerous rapids in the world.
Kayaking is prohibited, so the only way to experience the rapids is on a commercial tour.
This beautiful destination is home to the Niagara Whirlpool as well.
It formed over 4,000 years ago and is the largest natural whirlpool in the world.
Where the rapids end at the base of the gorge, the water is forced to spin counterclockwise, which creates the whirlpool effect.
The naturally forming and marvelous features of this terrain is a sight you must see.
The Floral Clock
Powered by the hydroelectric energy from the Falls, this massive clock is one that no one should ignore.
The name says it all in that all forty feet in diameter is covered in an array of flowers that are changed twice a year.
Throw a coin in the wishing pond or take a stroll alongside it in the park, but make sure to snap a picture to admire the hard work that goes into planting all 16,000 flowers it takes.
You’re mistaken if you think showing up to take a picture in front of Niagara Falls is getting the full experience.
This magnificent landmark affects the community in more ways than just giving people something to look at.
To get the most out of your trip, visit these great places Canada has to offer!
Niagara Falls Eco Tourism: How to Enjoy the Niagara Gorge
Niagara Falls is one of North America’s most stunning and magnificent natural wonders, and well-worth a visit whether or not you’re a fan of eco-tourism.
But, if you’re looking for a destination that has a lot to offer an eco-tourist, know that the Niagara Gorge is home to some of the most ruggedly beautiful terrain on the continent.
You’ll find trail heads, great fishing, picnic facilities, viewing platforms, and more on both sides of the border.
Niagara Falls Gorge
Of course, if you’re like most people who visit the Niagara Gorge, the first item on your agenda will be seeing the waterfalls themselves!
Niagara Falls sits on the American/Canadian border, with American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls in the U.S., and Horseshoe Falls in Canada.
Many visitors want to make the most of their experience by visiting Niagara Falls in both countries.
If you’re looking forward to rustic camping as part of your eco-tourism experience, you’ll find comfortable and unique campgrounds in the New York countryside surrounding the Falls as well as on the other side of the border.
But even if you like camping, it’s worth spending at least one night in one of the riverside Niagara Falls hotels.
Rent a room with a view of the falls to take in the nighttime light displays and fireworks shows that occur over the water.
You’ll want to spend an entire day taking in the power and majesty that is Niagara Falls.
Don’t forget to don your waterproof poncho!
Afterward, visit the Journey Behind the Falls, where you can enter tunnels cut into the rock behind Horseshoe Falls more than a century ago.
From here, you can peer through observation windows cut in the rock to observe water rushing over the Falls at a rate of 600,000 gallons (2.8 million liters) a second.
At the end, you’ll reach a viewing platform that allows you to observe the 13-story-tall waterfall from behind.
Explore the Trails on the American Side of Niagara Falls
You’ll find peaceful parks full of trails, picnic areas, hiking and fishing spots on both sides of the border.
On the American side, visit Devil’s Hole State Park, a park that overlooks the Devil’s Hole Rapids on the Niagara River.
Devil’s Hole is a popular fishing spot, with a stone staircase leading visitors down to the water.
You’ll see great views of the rapids and get an up-close glimpse of the geological strata of the gorge from Devil’s Hole Trail.
Whirlpool State Park, also on the American side of the border, offers scenic overlooks of the Niagara River Whirlpool and rapids, as well as hiking and fishing on the lower level of the park.
The Whirlpool Rapids Trail connects to the Devil’s Hole Trail.
Canadian Side of Niagara Falls Trails
You’ll find even more opportunities for hiking on the Canadian side of the border of Niagara Falls.
Hardcore hikers will appreciate the Bruce Trail, which follows the Niagara Escarpment for 550 miles (890 km).
The Bruce Trail also has more than 250 miles (400 km) of side trails.
Trail users will see a wide variety of local flora and fauna, including centuries-old coniferous trees growing on the edge of the Niagara Escarpment.
The trail also offers views of numerous waterfalls and rapids, as local waterways pass over the escarpment.
For a hiking experience of moderate difficulty that can be had without leaving the city of Niagara Falls, head to Niagara Glen Nature Preserve, where you can learn about the geology of the Niagara Escarpment, and the animals and plants that live within it, on one of the preserve’s twice-daily guided tours.
Explore the park’s numerous hiking trails, or rent bouldering equipment at the Nature Center.
The Whirlpool Trail is the most difficult one in the park, but it’s worth the effort to sit by the water and take in the scenery.
The nearby Upper Whirlpool Trails also offer great views of the water.
Closer to downtown, the White Water Walk provides multiple viewing platforms from which you can gaze upon the power of Niagara River’s Class VI rapids.
If getting the opportunity to explore a new ecosystem is an important part of traveling for you, you’ll love Niagara Falls.
With miles of hiking trails, boardwalks overlooking the white water, and tunnels carved into the rock behind the Horseshoe Falls, you’ll find plenty to do outside on both sides of the border.
Just don’t forget your rain jacket!
How to Find Leisure and Luxury in Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls likes to brag that it receives more than 8 million visitors per year, making it one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world.
If you do the math, the average daily attendance of Niagara Falls is over 21,000 — which means when you are trying to get a good view of the majestic, thundering falls, you are jockeying with literal thousands of others who are trying to do the same.
To most leisure travelers, that doesn’t sound like a good time.
Still, Niagara Falls is a wonder — among the largest waterfalls in the world — so it remains on many tourists’ bucket lists.
The truth is that many Niagara Falls hotels do offer outstandingly luxurious amenities, so it isn’t difficult to enjoy a relaxing and rewarding trip to Niagara Falls if you know where to look.
Here is a quick and easy guide to finding leisure in Niagara Falls, so you can see the famous and exhilarating falls yourself.
Top Hotels for a Relaxing Stay
Whenever you are planning a trip to Niagara Falls, you have an important decision to make: the American side or the Canadian side?
While you can travel back and forth across the border (assuming you have the proper paperwork) the trip takes time that might better be spent on other activities around the falls.
Generally, you should choose a side and stick to it, and the side you choose should be selected based on the kind of Niagara vacation you seek.
The American side of the falls is primarily filled with national forestland, meaning there aren’t many amenities to make your stay feel luxurious.
While the American side is worth visiting if you want a outdoors-focused, camping adventure trip, this time around you should set your sights on the Canadian side.
Your luxury Niagara Falls hotel Canada options are far from limited.
There are an abundance of hotels and resorts that combine high-class accommodations with shopping, dining and entertainment opportunities.
For example, Falls Avenue Resort offers rooms with stunning views of Niagara Falls from four different hotels: Clifton Victoria Inn at the Falls, Crowne Plaza Fallsview, Sheraton on the Falls and the Skyline Hotel.
As well as on-premises access to the Fallsview Indoor Waterpark, the Christienne Fallsview Spa, Clifton Hill and convenient shuttles to Casino Niagara.
Why bother staying somewhere less convenient when you are after a leisurely trip?
Secret Falls Viewing Spots
Queen Victoria Park is a must-visit viewing spot for the world-famous waterfalls.
Just a few steps from most hotels on the Canadian side, the park provides sweeping views of both Horseshoe Falls and American and Bridal Falls on the U.S. side.
However, Queen Victoria Park is also devastatingly crowded for most of the year; not only is it a common place for tourists to linger, taking pictures and whatnot, but it is also a popular event space for the occasional festival.
For instance, at the end of the year, Queen Victoria Park is the location for the annual New Year’s Eve concert.
Thus, it is wise to get your pics in Queen Victoria Park and head elsewhere for lingering views.
Some spots with a slower pace and greater personal space include:
- Oakes Garden Theatre. Located at the base of Clifton Hill, this theatre allows you to step into its open pavilions, where you can catch panoramic views of all three waterfalls.
- Niagara Skywheel. For a small entry fee, you can ride Canada’s largest observation wheel to gain birds-eye views of the falls and surrounding countryside.
- Hornblower Funicular. This incline railway has been resurrected to help transport visitors up and down the gorge, providing unique views of the falls the entire trip.
The Best Wine Tasting Experiences
Perhaps the most leisurely and luxurious activity to participate in during a trip to Niagara Falls is a wine tasting tour.
Niagara Valley has a terroir not unlike that of France; the soil is rich and fertile, the weather relatively temperate thanks to the surrounding lakes, and the grapes grow as if by magic, producing fantastic vintages.
Several vineyards and wineries in the area have won international awards, drawing critical attention and praise to the Niagara wine country.
There are roughly 400 winemakers spread around the Niagara Valley — much too many for you to try them all during one trip.
You might consider consulting your hotel’s concierge for advice on convenient and quality wine adventures; most resorts offer discounts on tickets with certain tours, and you might even gain behind-the-scenes access to some vineyards thanks to your association with your accommodations.
There are ways to see and experience Niagara Falls without fighting against crowds of eager tourists.
By planning ahead and choosing options that take you away from the hustle and bustle, you can enjoy a quiet and relaxing trip to the falls.