I recently went on a trip to Niagara Falls with my sister and her friends. I had seen pictures of the Falls but beyond that, I really had no idea what to expect. It wasn’t technically my trip so I did very little in planning and preparation for it. When chatting with friends prior to the trip, most would say “Go to the Canadian side, it’s such a better view.” That comment really bugged me because I had no idea what that meant! Yes, I understand how you can have a better view from one angle compared to the other; but apparently I didn’t understand the flow of the falls. So for those of you planning a trip to Niagara Falls here is the breakdown that explains where and what you will see!
Things to know in advance…
- The Niagara River Falls off the American Soil
- There are two sets of Falls: American Falls & Horseshoe Falls
- Have your walking shoes on
- Don’t forget to have your passport and cash on you!!
The Niagara River falls off American soil. (Thus, explaining why people want to see if from the Canadian side!) When viewing from the American Side, you can see the falls from top looking down or at a next-to/side angle. You can access the Falls from the American side through Niagara Falls State Park. The park has paved paths for you to get a closer look to the falls.
The park is open but also under construction, but once finished it will be very nice! We walked maybe 1.5 – 2.0 miles around the park for the different viewing spots. T(I did not understand this before hand. I was tad bit disappointed at first with just the American Falls until I saw the Horseshoe falls hidden from view). The park gets you right next to American Falls and a slight view of Horseshoe Falls. [Cost to get into Park is $0.]
Since the river falls off the American side the view is on the Canadian side. You get the full panoramic of the American and the Horseshoe Falls across the border. The American Falls are ruggedly beautiful, much more rocky. The Horseshoe Falls are vast, smooth, and powerful. Definitely walk the Canadian side during the day. There is a paved scenic path for tourists.
Go back again at night, during the light show. It’s a change of scene and crowd in the evening. [Have some cash on you, there is toll to drive across the bridge into Canada – if you walk, you have to pay a toll to get back into US).
View from Above
I can’t afford a helicopter ride; however, if you want a lookout from above, there is a skyview from a Ferris Wheel in the heart of Niagara Falls, Ontario. Spending this $11 allows you to see from above the town. It is not necessarily a beautiful, up close view, but it gives you a broader scope of the Falls as a whole, and where they fall within the surrounding society. It’s somewhat tragic to see something so natural and powerful amongst so much capitalism.
From The Water
THIS IS THE BEST VIEW!! I highly recommend taking a boat ride via Maid of the Mist. You get the full experience of the Falls: the rugged and beautiful, the majestic awe, the calm, the power, the mist, the ferocity. From the water is where you get it all! Maid of the Mist also has a paved stair path up the side of the American Falls so you can truly get as close as safely possible. You cannot beat the view the water and it takes you from the hustle and bustle from above and truly blows you mind how beautiful and powerful the water is.