This is a guest post written for Taylor’s Tracks.
You may have noticed my list of the 10 most incredible natural attractions in Canada, and Niagara Falls was featured. As noted in that article, it’s a spot that truly has to be witnessed in person. But if you’re going to make the journey to see the Falls in person, you may want to have a few other things planned also! True, you could stand and gaze at the incredible power and beauty of nature for hours and not get bored. But if you decide you want to stay in the area for a few days, here are a few of the top things to do there.
Maid Of The Mist
Seeing the Falls is one thing, but riding on the Maid Of The Mist – the famous boat tour that goes right up to the churning water at the base of the Falls – is also a necessary part of the experience. As you may note at the state park website, the tour is technically from the American side of the Falls, but that shouldn’t stop you. You get to put on a rain poncho (you will get soaked), ride along while enjoying gorgeous views, and ultimately drift by the bases of the American and Horseshoe Falls alike. Sure, it’s about the most touristy thing you could do at any national park, but that doesn’t make it any less worthwhile. You can’t fully understand the majesty of the Falls without getting up close and personal.
Many don’t realize that the Niagara Falls attraction is actually split up into two different waterfalls (I mentioned the American and Horseshoe Falls above). In between them and on top of them, there happen to be a number of little islands that you can actually explore perfectly safely. This is just a fun way to enjoy the park, and an option you ought to take advantage of. From Goat Island, the biggest of the bunch, you can even do the “Cave of the Winds” tour, which is one of the few ways to see the Falls from below without being on a boat.
It’s conceivable that gambling is a popular attraction in the Niagara Falls area even without considering the casino. That’s because the Falls basically exist on the U.S. border, and while casino games are mostly illegal in the States, Canada has online platforms that are legal, fun, and can be trusted to offer fair play. It’s not unheard of for Americans to cross the border and play games online while on vacation. But at Casino Niagara visitors can go one step further and enjoy an actual in-person establishment. There are slots, table games, live musical performances, and dining options. It’s not quite Las Vegas but it’s a full entertainment hub right on top of the Falls, and that’s worth a few nights out.
Somewhat overshadowed by the Falls and the state park, Inniskillin Winery is actually a top-notch establishment that makes for a fun visit, particularly if the weather is nice. It’s particularly well regarded for its icewine collection, including a Vidal, a Riesling, a Cabernet Franc, and a Sparkling option. Icewine is a dessert wine made from frozen grapes, and at least one review absolutely raved about this selection, saying rarely have dessert wines vanished from its headquarters so quickly!
The Botanical Gardens are effectively the Ontario side of the Falls’ answer to the Niagara Aquarium, which exists on the U.S. side. It’s a beautiful, sprawling, and well-maintained natural area, known largely for its butterfly conservatory. It’s certainly a place to explore if indeed you’re allocating a couple days for your time at Niagara Falls.