Thu, December 22nd, 2011 - By
Niagara Falls, bordering the state of New York on the American side, and the province of Ontario on the Canadian side, is one of the world’s greatest wonders. Not the biggest, or tallest waterfalls, but the volume of water that pours over these two sets of ledges is simply incredible, and you have to see it to believe it.
While Niagara has some naysayers, I really enjoyed myself here. I’ve got 10 tips for helping you enjoy your experience more.
- Stay on the Canadian side. There are more hotels (so you can get a better deal), more bars, and more restaurants.
- For some peace and quiet, walk around Goat Island. Downtown Niagara can be pretty crazed, but if you walk over to Goat Island, and head away from the river shore, you’ll find yourself alone, because most tourists just hop on the transport bus.
- If you want to do a haunted house, Nightmare Factory is it. The other ones are cheesy, whereas the Nightmare Factory is possibly the scariest place I have ever seen.
- Daytrip to Niagara on the Lake if you can. It is so pretty up there, and you can see the massive gorge that the falls have torn away as they erode the riverbed underneath them.
- Don’t take the guided tours. The hotels all have these options where a bus will take you to all the attractions and get you a pass in. I didn’t think it was good value, and it can be hard to find a bus that goes to the specific attractions you want to see.
- Do the touristy stuff – its fun. I loved taking the boat underneath the falls and getting soaked. I loved the “hurricane deck” where you’re underneath a fall. So much fun. Just do it – yeah, they’re cheesy, but worth it.
- Get up early to avoid the crowds. Niagara is crowded in general – hotel lobbies are crowded, attractions are crowded, streets are crowded. I suggest if you’re going to do a lot of sightseeing, try to get n early start on a day or two in order to make the most of it.
- Budget for food and drink – it adds up quickly. While there are a lot of great choices, if you’re eating in the main corridor or at a hotel or mall, it can get pricey.
- Take advantage of any of your hotel’s freebies. Some hotels offer free breakfast, shuttle, or other complimentary services. These are also often part of a package. So be sure to ask what’s available, and take advantage.
- Make it your vacation – there’s something for everyone. Niagara is really a very customizable vacation. You can gamble, you can bike ride, you can eat, you can relax – it depends on what you want to do, so don’t feel like you have to do every one of the classic attractions – just pick the things that excite you.
And don’t miss my budget tips for Canada.
Photo by Andy Hayes, Sam
Posted : Thursday, December 22nd, 2011 at 11:00
Andy Hayes is a travel journalist currently based in Seattle, Washington. When not soaking up the Pacific Northwest lifestyle or enjoying life on the road, he is spending time hanging out on his own travel lifestyle magazine, Sharing Travel Experiences.
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