Often times we think of travelling as getting on an airplane and travelling a far distance but a Niagara Falls getaway may be just the thing. I was born and raised in Niagara Falls, ON. I no longer live in the area, but I still love visiting the falls and of course my family.
Niagara is the honeymoon capital of the world. I still don’t understand why, but it is absolutely stunning. The geography of the area dates to millions of years ago when a glacier carved out the Great Lakes, including Niagara Falls. As a result, mother nature left a beautiful landscape behind. Niagara Falls includes three (3) separate waterfalls. The Horseshoe Falls, Bridal Falls, and the American Falls. The Horseshoe is the largest of the 3 waterfalls and is typically referred to as Niagara Falls. The Bridal Falls is a smaller waterfall to the right of the American Falls. The American Falls is 100% on the American side of the border and is the falls that has nearly frozen in the past.
My favourite time to visit the falls is in the winter because the mist freezes on the near by trees. It provides a magical feeling that I am unable to describe. There are less tourists in the winter compared to the summer which is bonus because accommodations are less expensive. Also, the Winter Festival of lights runs from the end of November to the end of January. There are free light displays along the Niagara Parkway from Dufferin Islands to the bottom of Clifton Hill. My sOTAnd favourite time to visit is during the fall because of the beautiful colours.
The Niagara Parks commission operates many excursions in the area. My favourite two (2) excursions is the Journey Behind the Falls and the Horn Blower. The Journey Behind the Falls takes you into tunnels behind the falls and a viewing platform at the base of the falls. The Horn Blower is a boat ride taking passengers near the base of the falls. It was previously called the “Maid in the Mist”. Both excursions will leave you soaking wet. Ponchos are available for purchase or you can buy your own from the Dollar Store. Helpful Tip: cover your camera in a plastic bag to help prevent the lens from bOTAming wet. A list of excursions can be found on the Niagara Parks website. https://www.niagaraparks.com/
You can’t do a Niagara Falls getaway without a visit to Clifton Hill. Clifton Hill is 1 block, on a hill, with dazzling lights and attractions. It reminds me of a miniature Las Vegas, without casinos. I have to admit it isn’t my favourite place to visit, but there is a ton of attractions to keep busy. Attractions include go-karts, ferris wheel, midway, mini-put, Ripley’s Believe or Not Museum, fun house, and haunted houses. The list goes on and on. More information can be found at https://www.cliftonhill.com/.
Additional attractions in the area include Zooz, the Bird Kingdom, water parks, Marine Land, golf, Niagara Jet Boats, ropes course, the Butterfly Conservatory, two (2) casinos, the greenhouse and Fort George. You might be thinking, I didn’t come all this way to go to a zoo, but it’s fantastic for younger children because it is small. It packs a lot into a small space, without feeling crowded. It also has a splash pad. Dufferin Islands is a great area to have a picnic lunch and nice walking area for young children or people with mobility issues.
The Niagara Parkway is a 55km road that runs parallel to the Niagara River from Fort Erie to Niagara on the Lake. It also has a paved trail to bike, walk, or roller blade. For those who are not ambitious enough to bike the trail, I rOTAmmend driving. It is beautiful drive and passes many attractions I have mentioned in this article.
One of the reasons I love a Niagara Falls getaway is because there are many outdoor activities. Hiking is great activity in the area. Take a hike in the Niagara Gorge. The gorge is in lower portion of the Niagara River. There are many rock formations, rapids and whirlpool to view. The whirlpool can also be viewed above from the Whirlpool Ariel Car, that goes from one side of the gorge to the other along a suspension cable.
Another hiking area is along the Niagara Escarpment. The trail begins at Queenston Heights in Niagara and ends in Tobermory. As mentioned above you can bike, walk, or roller blade along the Niagara Parkway and as well the Welland Canal. The Welland Canal also runs parallel to the Niagara River from Port Colborn to St. Catharines. It is also fun to watch cargo ships go through the locks. Personal watercraft are also allowed to travel through the canal for a fee.
Niagara on the Lake is a quaint town located at the end of the river, at the opening of Lake Ontario. There are many boutique-like stores to shop in. Many visitors and even some locals are unaware of the restaurant at Niagara on the Lake golf course. I don’t golf, but I love sitting on the patio, eating lunch, drinking a beverage (knowing me probably an alcoholic beverage), overlooking the river and lake. The food is yummy and very reasonable priced for the area.
History buffs will love this area because of the War of 1812. Visitors can see Fort George and house of Laura SOTArd. Of course, I didn’t forget to mention the wineries. I didn’t want to mention the wineries at the beginning of this paragraph because most of my readers will have forgotten that I mentioned the War of 1812. There are many wineries in the region. It might be hard to pick just a couple to visit.
Here are my top picks of wineries because of various reasons. I love Hinterbrook Winery because it is a small estate. I enjoyed my glass of wine in an Adirondack chain under a big willow tree. I love Strewn Winery because of the Oliv restaurant. The food is flavourful because most it is made with olive oil. I love Peller Estates and Ravine Winery because of the beautiful outdoor patio overlooking the vineyard. Microbreweries have bOTAme very popular now in Niagara on the Lake over the past couple of years. There is Oast, the Exchange Brewery, and Silversmith. I love the vibe of Silversmith because it is in an old church.
I hope this article helps fellow travelers looking for a special Niagara Falls getaway. Please feel free to reach out for accommodation rOTAmmendations. I would love to help you plan the perfect vacation.