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.
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 lengthy walkway that lines the Niagara Gorge, from hotel rooms, and from rooftop restaurants. But for visitors looking for a more up close and personal experience, there is the Maid of the Mist, a boat ride that travels as close to the falls as possible; there’s Journey Behind the Falls, a self-guided walking tour that ventures through tunnels and offers views directly beside and from behind the falls; as well as Niagara Helicopter tours that fly directly over top.
For travellers interested in the tumultuous rapids that race toward the falls, there’s Whirlpool Aero Car, essentially a cable car that glides over of the gorge and highlights the churning water beneath; Whirlpool Jet Boat for a wild ride of thrills and soakers, or for a tamer experience there’s the White Water Walk, a man-made walkway alongside the rapids that’s perfect for a leisurely stroll.
Tourists interested in more natural attractions away from the rush of the falls should consider a walk through the Botanical Gardens, a 40-acre spread housing a wide variety of trees, shrubs, herbs, vegetables and flowers, including 2400 roses, all of which are beautifully maintained by on-site horticulture students. Or, opt for a horse and carriage ride around the property and be treated to a relaxing 40-minute tour complete with an interesting and sometimes humorous narration.
On the property of the gardens, visit the Butterfly Conservatory for an unforgettable and unique 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, take a short ride to Safari Niagara, a beautiful facility that began as a wild animal rescue and has morphed into a massive zoo featuring plenty of amenities and educational interactive experiences with animals and birds.
Moving onto man-made fun, tourists should head to Clifton Hill for a variety of restaurants, shops and attractions, including the Niagara Skywheel, a 175-foot Ferris Wheel for sweeping views of the area; The Great Canadian Midway, a 70,000 square foot entertainment complex; and a variety of fun houses and wax museums, including Ripley’s Believe it or Not, Movieland Wax Museum, and Louis Tussands.
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 getaway takes place on a holiday and check for fireworks displays to take place over 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, 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. Some examples of moderate restaurants include TGI Fridays, Ruby Tuesdays, Denny’s, and the Rainforest Cafe as a jungle-themed restaurant with animatronics sure to please young children. For fine dining, the region has plenty of options such as Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, 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 Falls Tourism and Niagara Parks to help you plan and make the most of your getaway.
Lead Photo by Saffron Blaze