Niagara Falls, Ontario, affectionately dubbed the Honeymoon Capital, is indeed a romantic place for couples to vacation. But it’s also a great place for families to visit. With so much to see and do, all concentrated in a small region, it makes the perfect destination for a vacation or weekend getaway, no matter the season. For more detailed information on some of the attractions listed in this overview of Niagara Falls, be sure to click on the blue links which will take you to our corresponding reviews.
This tourist hot-spot welcomes approximately 30 million people annually, all of whom come to see the thunderous waterfalls that straddle the international border between Canada and the United States. Of course, anyone can view the falls, they’re visible from a variety of outlooks, including the walkway along the Niagara Gorge, from hotel rooms, and from rooftop restaurants. For visitors looking for more of an up-close experience, there is the Maid of the Mist, a boat ride that travels as close to the falls as possible. There’s also Journey Behind the Falls, a self-guided walking tour that ventures through underground tunnels that offer views from directly beside and from behind the falls. If you’re not afraid of heights, Niagara Helicopter tours will fly you directly over top of this world wonder.
Whirlpool Jet Boat provides a wild ride of thrills and soakers as adventurers speed through the rapids. Or, for a tamer experience, there’s the White Water Walk, a man-made walkway alongside the rapids that is perfect for a leisurely stroll.
Tourists interested in other natural attractions should consider a walk through the Botanical Gardens, which is 40-acres of prime landscape that includes a wide variety of trees, shrubs, herbs, vegetables and flowers, including 2400 roses, all of which are beautifully maintained by on-site horticulture students.
For a different look at the botanical gardens, opt for a horse and carriage ride around the property and, for $20 per person, be treated to a relaxing 40-minute tour complete with interesting and sometimes humorous narration. Two person carriages (as seen above) offer a romantic ride, or bigger carriages suitable for 6-8 persons are also available.
On the property of the Botanical Gardens (shown on the left), visit the Butterfly Conservatory for an unforgettable experience involving a walk through an enclosure of 2000+ tropical butterflies. Also for consideration is Bird Kingdom, a 45,000 square foot aviary of tropical birds, many of which are cage free and roam the rainforest-themed property. Or, just a short drive away, visit Safari Niagara, a beautiful facility that began as a wild animal rescue and has morphed into a massive and impressive zoo featuring plenty of amenities and educational interactive experiences with animals and birds.
Moving onto man-made fun, tourists should head to Clifton Hill (as shown on the right) for a variety of restaurants, shops and attractions, including the Niagara Skywheel, a 175-foot Ferris Wheel for sweeping views of the area. Mini golf can be found, along with Niagara Speedway Go Karts, which offers a multi-level go-karting experience. Surprisingly, even more is packed into the small area of Clifton Hill, including The Great Canadian Midway, a 70,000 square foot entertainment complex along with a variety of fun houses and wax museums, including Ripley’s Believe it or Not, Movieland Wax Museum, and Louis Tussands.
For even more family fun, travellers can spend an afternoon at Fallsview Waterpark or opt to stay at Great Wolf Lodge, a woodsy-themed resort with a waterpark right on the premises.
For evening entertainment, couples and families alike should consider dinner and a show at the Greg Frewin Theatre and prepare to be wowed by a spectacle of world-class illusions and exotic animals. Or, ensure that your Niagara getaway takes place on a special holiday for late night fireworks displays that take place over top of the falls. For adults, 2 casinos are available in the area – Casino Niagara and Fallsview Casino, both of which feature fine dining and live entertainment.
Feeling sporty and energetic? Check out Niagara Freefall for an indoor skydiving experience, or golf til your heart’s content at one of many beautiful courses in the area. For one of the most scenic clubs, we suggest Whirlpool Golf Course (shown in the left photo), which runs adjacent to the Niagara Gorge and connects to the Botanical Gardens.
There are plenty of restaurants in Niagara Falls, with something to suit every budget and taste bud. Some examples of popular and moderately-priced restaurants include TGI Fridays, Ruby Tuesdays, Denny’s, and the Rainforest Cafe as a jungle-themed restaurant with animatronics that are sure to please young children.
For fine dining, the region also has plenty of options, including Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse (as shown on the right), as well as the 21 Club, Brasa Brazilian Steakhouse, Morton’s Grille, Elements on the Falls, and the Skylon Tower, where diners can choose between a full service revolving restaurant or a buffet, both of which overlook the falls.
Accommodations in Niagara Falls range from a myriad of bed & breakfasts to inns and motels, and a host of chain hotels, most of which are skyscrapers that overlook the falls.
Time spent in Niagara Falls is always fun, with a smorgasbord of attractions and activities that will keep you busy from morning till night. No matter the time of the year, there’s always something on the go so be sure to visit Niagara Parks to help you plan and make the most of your getaway.