Niagara Falls: Horseshoe Falls
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How to have the best 3 Days in Niagara Falls, Ontario

How to have the best 3 Days in Niagara Falls, Ontario

 

You can have the best 3 days in Niagara Falls by either having a full-on itinerary with guided tours or a flexible one where you can explore to fulfil your wanderlust. In either case, you would want to have the maximum experience possible.

We opted for a flexible itinerary where we could explore as we wanted to. One advantage to prior planning our visit to Niagara Falls was that we realised all the attractions were within close proximity. We could walk to the Falls itself and the town centre or we could drive to the nearby attractions.

If you do not have a car when visiting Niagara Falls, you could use the City’s public transportation – the bus system is renowned for its service to connect tourist  accommodations to attractions throughout the City. More on this below on Travel tips.

Click the official Niagara Falls Tourism link to find out more.

 

Niagara Falls, Ontario

The majestic Niagara Falls was a magical experience and I am sure it is on everyone’s bucket list! If it is not, get it in – because you will be blown with total wonder and amazement at the six million cubic feet of water which goes over the crest of the falls every minute, at a vertical drop of 50m (165 ft)!

Niagara Falls is situated on the New York /Canadian border along the Niagara River which flows between two of the Great Lakes, Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. Niagara Falls really refers to three waterfalls – the Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls. The Horseshoe Falls sits on the border of the US and Canada, the American Falls sits entirely on the US side, separated by Goat Island. Also, on the American side is the smaller Bridal Veil falls, separated from the American Falls by Luna Island. The Horseshoe Falls is the most powerful waterfall in North America.

 

Journey to the Falls, Ontario

We began our journey to Niagara Falls from Cincinnati. It was a good and pleasant 7.5 hours’ drive, stopped twice for breaks. Our journey was via I-71N and I-90E, passing Cleveland into Buffalo (see the below map) making our way to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. You will need your passports! 😊

The immigration checks took about half-an-hour or so which gave us the opportunity to stretch our feet. There were no issues. We vacated our car, left all our belongings in. The immigration officials ran through a quick check of our identities and checked the car.

 

Cincinnati to Niagara Falls_driving route_1
Cincinnati to Niagara Falls: Driving route

 

3 Days at Niagara Falls

3 days at Niagara Falls could be considered a short one, yet we felt we did everything we wanted to do on this occasion. We saved a few activities for our next visit. Oh yeah! definitely, another visit, if not more!

Our room overlooked the Falls and it was pretty nice to see the colours change at night from our bedroom. Although, we had an itinerary of sights we wanted to visit, this was a very loose one. We wanted to explore the surroundings as we had our car which made it convenient to do so.

 

The Horseshoe Falls_view from our hotel room.
The Horseshoe Falls_view from our hotel room.

 

From our hotel room, we also had a clear view of the Rainbow Bridge, the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls.

 

The view from the hotel: Rainbow Bridge, American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls.
The view from the hotel: Rainbow Bridge, American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls.

 

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So, here is an itinerary for a two-night, three-day visit to Niagara Falls. Hope you will enjoy this journey with us and do let us know what you think in comments below.

 

Day 1 at Niagara Falls

We arrived late afternoon. After a quick check-in, bags dropped, refreshed and we were ready to explore.

 

1. Table Rock Welcome Centre

Table Rock Welcome Centre was our first visit. It was right next to the Falls, the heart of Niagara Parks. This is the place that connects you to the Falls and other major attractions such as the Journey behind the Falls and the Hornblower Cruises. The Centre can be accessed in two ways.

Driving:

If you are driving, you can access it via Niagara Parkway. You can drive along Niagara Parkway as there are a number of designated parking available.

If you are not driving:

If you are in one of the hotels in the vicinity, you access it via the Falls Incline Railways from the Fallsview Boulevard/tourists area. The Falls Incline Railway is a convenient link to use and gives you a good view of the Horseshoe Falls as it rises and descends along the track.

The Falls Incline Railway is wheelchair accessible.

 

There are food-courts, gift shops and information centre here. Also access to Niagara’s Fury and Journey Behind the Falls. There is a candy shop called Pop & Lolly and Elements of the Falls offer a great dining experience with spectacular views of the Falls.

Table Rock Welcome Centre: Pop & Lolly's Candy Shop - famous for its handmade candy.
Table Rock Welcome Centre: Pop & Lolly’s Candy Shop – famous for its handmade candy.

 

Walk through the Welcome Centre and out of the doors and you will see the Falls.

 

Niagara Falls: Table Rock Welcome Centre
Niagara Falls: Table Rock Welcome Centre

 

2. Horseshoe Falls, Niagara Falls

What you will see as you walk out of the Welcome Centre is the most beautiful, powerful and amazingly extraordinary waterfall on this beautiful planet!

There it was, right before us. I was so close to it that I felt I could almost touch it. Watching so much water gushing over the brink of the fall was an awe moment. We felt the mist on us and it was both refreshing and sticky.

 

Niagara Falls: The Horseshoe Falls
Niagara Falls: The Horseshoe Falls
The American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls from the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.
The American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls from the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.

While taking-in the majestic views of the Falls, we took a stroll along the wall and captured some breathtaking moments of the sunset and views of the American Falls, the Rainbow Bridge and the Bridal Veil. No two photos were the same.

I can assure you, you will be totally amazed. When you are here, capture the rainbow! I have so many photos with the rainbow and it is totally amazing to see the little shade of colours.

Further down the Falls along the wall, there is the view of the Skylon Tower, we got the feel of the town and stopped over for coffee and some souvenirs at Queen Victoria Place.

Catch the view of the Skylon Tower and its rotating restaurant at Niagara Falls.
Catch the view of the Skylon Tower and its rotating restaurant at Niagara Falls.
Niagara Falls: Experience the sunset over the Rainbow Bridge and the American Falls
Niagara Falls: Experience the sunset over the Rainbow Bridge and the American Falls

Capture the evening sensation with the mist along the Falls

Capture the evening sensation with the mist along the Falls

Niagara Falls: Take a break here at Queen Victoria's Place for some coffee and shop for souvenirs.
Niagara Falls: Take a break here at Queen Victoria’s Place for some coffee and shop for souvenirs.

 

When you visit Niagara Falls, be sure to capture the view when the water is illuminated by bright lights on the backdrop of the night sky.

Most of the evening of our arrival, we spent it at the Horseshoe Falls and just strolling around, taking in its beauty and the atmosphere, reluctantly withdrawing from here because of dinner!

The next day was our first full day and we opted to do 3 activities, dinner at Remingtons and explore a little of the nightlife.

 

Day 2 at Niagara Falls

On the morning of Day 2 at Niagara Falls, we made our way to the Falls Incline Railway, through the Table Rock Welcome Centre and again, face-to-face with the majestic view of the Horseshoe Falls. There was something about the morning mist and the morning sun reflecting off the thundering water rushing over the brink of the fall that just captures your admiration no matter how many times you look at it. To get up-close and personal to this majestic wonder of the world, we strolled along the stone-wall, making our way to our activities.

The following were on our itinerary:

  1. Hornblower Niagara Cruise
  2. Journey behind the Falls at Niagara Falls
  3. The Whirlpool Aero Car
  4. Whirlpool State Park
  5. Dinner at Remingtons

The first activity on our itinerary on Day 2 was the Hornblower Niagara Cruises.

 

1. Hornblower Niagara Cruises

The Hornblower Cruise takes you on an intimate 20-minute wet and wild boat ride to the foot of the Horseshoe Falls. Yes, you do get wet!

You will be given a red poncho before you board. I would highly recommend that you slip it on. Once you board, get a good spot up-front near the railings for the best experience. You do get close to the American Falls and the Bridal Veil falls, which is a great photo opportunity.

Hornblower Cruise activity at Niagara Falls will take you close to the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls.
Hornblower Cruise activity at Niagara Falls will take you close to the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls.

 

However, the “real” experience is when the boat reaches the very heart of the Horseshoe Falls, at the foot – and its pouring rain – the breath-taking power of the water and the mist makes this experience a magnificent one. The boat stayed in that position for a couple of minutes before making its way back.

 

The Hornblower Cruise takes you right to the heart of the Horseshoe Falls. An incredible experience not to be missed at Niagara Falls
The Hornblower Cruise takes you right to the heart of the Horseshoe Falls. An incredible experience not to be missed at Niagara Falls
The Hornblower Cruise up-close and personal to the Horseshoe Falls.
The Hornblower Cruise up-close and personal to the Horseshoe Falls.

 

We highly recommend this experience.

Travel tips and practical information on Hornblower Cruise in Niagara Falls:
  • Boat ride is 20 minutes
  • Departs every 15 minutes
  • Best time to visit: April 1st to November 30th
  • Take a waterproof camera

Mist Gear – is a retail shop located in the Lower Landing prior to boarding. Sells souvenirs and other items which you may need for your trip.

Standard Admission Prices:

Adult (13+) – $25.95

Child (6-12) – $15.95

 

You can skip the line and Get your Guide here ⇓⇓⇓

 

 

 

2. Journey behind the Falls at Niagara Falls

Journey Behind the Falls

Journey Behind the Falls is a once in a lifetime experience which should not be missed! We had a unique view of the Horseshoe Falls from below and behind, offering an unforgettable experience of seeing one-fifth of the world’s fresh water crashing down to the foot of the Fall.

To experience this amazing spectacle, you will descend 45.5m (150ft) by elevators, cutting through bedrock to a short tunnel of about 45.5m (150ft), giving you access to two outdoor observation decks and two portals. The observation decks, Upper and Lower decks takes you to the very foot of the Falls.

 

Niagara Falls: The Journey behind the Falls.This is how close you get when you are on the viewing deck
Niagara Falls: The Journey behind the Falls.This is how close you get when you are on the viewing deck

 

At the Lower Deck, you will witness up to 2,800 cubic metres of water gushing over the brink of the Fall every second, at 65km per hour. This is where you need to put on your yellow poncho which is given to you when you exit the elevator.

The Journey behind the Falls also involves experiencing the two portals, Cataract Portal and the Great Falls Portal. Both of these portals are located directly behind the Falls, at one-third of the way behind the massive sheet of water. These viewing portals are cut straight through the rock, giving you a view of the gushing water down to the basin below.

 

One of the Portals on Journey behind the Falls at Niagara Falls.
One of the Portals on Journey behind the Falls at Niagara Falls.

 

You will feel the thunderous vibration of the Horseshoe Falls as you walk through the 130- year old tunnels cut through the bedrock. There are posters with lots of information regarding the history and evolution of the tunnels as you walk through them.

 

 

 

Travel tips and Practical information on Journey behind the Falls
  • Journey Behind the Falls will take about 30-45 minutes.
  • Year-round attraction
  • The Lower Deck is not wheelchair accessible
  • Free poncho

Standard Admission Prices:

  • Adult (13+) – $19.95
  • Child (6-12) – $13.00

 

You can skip the line and Get your Guide here ⇓⇓⇓

 

 

3. The Whirlpool Aero Car

The Whirlpool Aero Car is another natural wonder which should not be missed on your visit to the Niagara Falls. This experience offer a spectacular view of Niagara Whirlpool, just 4.5 km (3 miles) north of the Falls. We drove to this destination.

The best way to see it is aboard an antique cable car called The Whirlpool Aero Car. This antique cable car was designed by a Spanish engineer, Leonardo Torres Quevedo and has been in operation since 1916. The Whirlpool Aero Car is suspended from six sturdy cables, and you will be transported through air, safely between two different points of the Canadian shore of the Niagara River, a little over 1 km.

 

Whirlpool Aero Car Experience at Niagara Falls: The cable car is suspended with six sturdy cables and transports between two-points of the Canadian shore.
Whirlpool Aero Car Experience at Niagara Falls: The cable car is suspended with six sturdy cables and transports between two-points of the Canadian shore.

 

You will get a spectacular view of the Rapids, the Whirlpool and the Gorge. The Whirlpool is formed at the end of the rapids, where the gorge turns abruptly counter-clockwise, to the northeast and the river escapes through the narrowest channel in the gorge.

 

The Whirlpool forms at the end of the rapids, where the gorge turns abruptly counter-clockwise to the northeast.
The Whirlpool forms at the end of the rapids, where the gorge turns abruptly counter-clockwise to the northeast.
Niagara Whirlpool at Niagara Falls where Niagara River escapes through the narrowest channel in the gorge.
Niagara Whirlpool at Niagara Falls where Niagara River escapes through the narrowest channel in the gorge.

 

As you are transported, you will witness, far below, the torrent of water abruptly changing direction and creating a natural phenomenon – the Niagara Whirlpool. It is danger free excitement and a mesmerising experience.

Niagara Whirlpool at Niagara Falls: A natural phenomenon.
Niagara Whirlpool at Niagara Falls: A natural phenomenon.

 

Travel tips and Practical information on Whirlpool Aero Car Experience at Niagara Falls
  • Round trip is about 10 minutes
  • Opens April to November
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Capacity is 35 standing passengers

Standard Admission Prices:

Adult (13+) – $15.00

Child (6-12) – $ 9.75

You can skip the line and Get your Guide here ⇓⇓⇓

 

 

4. Whirlpool State Park

From the Whirlpool Aero car experience, we drove a little further to the State Park to explore the hiking and nature trail. The Whirlpool State Park is a 109 acre state park located in Niagara County, north of Niagara Falls. The park overlooks the Niagara Whirlpool on the Niagara River and the lower Niagara Gorge.

Find out more on Whirlpool State Park 

There are ample parking available here.

 

5. Dinner at Remingtons

Remingtons is a steak and seafood restaurant and we opted for steak on this occasion. We were pleasantly surprised at the western style décor, upscale yet a casual atmosphere, with singing waitresses/waiter. The food was really good – the steak was made just as we like it and the portioning was just right.

Remingtons

5657 Victoria Ave, Niagara Falls, ON L2G 3L5, Canada

There are a few casinos and clubs you could go to here after dinner and the nightlife continues till early hours of the morning.

 

Day 3 at Niagara Falls

Day 3 at Niagara Falls meant that it was the day we were returning home. We made a late start, took in the last few moments of the breathtaking views of the Falls before heading on our journey. We planned our return journey through Ontario, via Detroit to Cincinnati. 8 hours! This route took us through the Wine Route in Niagara.

For more information on the Wine Route of Niagara Lake click  wineriesonniagaralake

 

Niagara Falls: Visit to the Wineries region of Niagara on the Lake
Niagara Falls: Visit to the Wineries region of Niagara on the Lake

 

Winery Hopping

Niagara Ontario Canada especially along the shores of Lake Ontario is gaining international popularity as a wine region. The region is home to over 50 wineries. About 25 vineyards are dotted within a landscape of 15 to 20 minutes outside of Niagara Falls. So, following the Wine Route of Ontario through the countryside became a ‘must see’ destination on the morning of our journey home.

 

Wineries of Niagara on the Lake - just a small part of it on our return journey from Niagara Falls.
Wineries of Niagara on the Lake – just a small part of it on our return journey from Niagara Falls.

 

Driving through the beautiful, quiet and charming countryside was uplifting. There were way-finding signs placed in strategic locations providing easy navigation to vineyards. These vineyards were quite close together which made our journey easy.

 

Beautiful landscaped properties during our visit to the Winery Region on our return journey from Niagara Falls.
Beautiful landscaped properties during our visit to the Winery Region on our return journey from Niagara Falls.
Beautiful landscaped properties during our visit to the Winery Region on our return journey from Niagara Falls. The grounds of Peninsula Ridge was one of the best we have seen.
Beautiful landscaped properties during our visit to the Winery Region on our return journey from Niagara Falls. The grounds of Peninsula Ridge was one of the best we have seen.
Beautifully landscaped and well tended grounds all throughout these properties on the Winery Route.
Beautifully landscaped and well tended grounds all throughout these properties on the Winery Route.

 

We visited two wineries. One of the wineries was Peninsula Ridge. We were particularly impressed with the variations to Mead, Honey Wine. We tried the varieties and I found the “Apple Pie” was super sweet. I preferred the good old traditional Mead made of honey!

The wineries had a great selection of both red and white wines with a good wine tasting options – selection of 5 for $10.

 

IMG_9676 (2)

History of Mead

Honey Wine, or “Mead”, was the first fermented beverage, and is considered the ancestor of all alcoholic drinks. Its origins date back to 7,000 BC when first discovered in clay pots in Northern China. Mead was noted throughout history as an important ceremonial drink, often drank by Saxon Warriors in traditional “Mead-Halls”. Mead was also reserved for the Royals or Nobility of society.

Mead had an important role in the ceremony in Celtic traditions, where a newly married couple would be given enough Mead for their first month of marriage. The Mead was said to bring success, happiness and fertility. Today, we know this ancient tradition as the “Honeymoon”. Even today, traditional Irish weddings bestow Mead upon newlyweds. In the tradition, honey is also gifted for a “sweet” marriage.

 

IMG_9723-2.jpg

 

However, the highlight for me was walking through rows and rows of grapes in the vineyards and encountering the different fragrances in an absolutely stunning scenery.

Sharing some photos here, so they speak for themselves.

 

Conclusion

The 3 days in Niagara Falls was one of the best short getaways we have had, certainly the first in North America. We have had a couple in Europe such as our getaway in Geneva. You can read all about Perfect Romantic 3-Day Itinerary in Geneva by clicking it and Amsterdam, where I wrote a blog on Amsterdam in a Nutshell-18 Experiences in 48 hours. Please click the link and find out what we did.

We enjoyed our trip to the Falls, the Whirlpool and the Wineries. We explored a little of the nightlife here but saved on the casinos for our next visit. Though our trip was a brief one, we had a great time. We would highly recommend this destination and look forward to returning.

 

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10 Responses

  1. Georgina
    |

    Yes, it was loud. It is an experience that should not be missed. Hope you will visit Niagara Falls one day. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. Much appreciated.

  2. Natalie Klein
    |

    I have always wondered what it would be like to walk behind the falls, spectacular from the front but must be very loud from behind! Great pictures.

  3. Georgina
    |

    Niagara Falls will not disappoint, for sure. That majestic waterfall is a wonder to behold and the walk behind the falls is a Must do! Glad it’s on your bucket list 🙂

  4. Ann
    |

    This is so a trip thats on my bucketlist, maybe not in the near future, but I am going! 😀

  5. Georgina
    |

    Hi Barry! Thank you for finding me! I am happy to know that your experiences in Niagara were amazing and that we did similar activities. I am pleased that you think my site is great – really appreciate this feedback. I hope you will find Chicago equally interesting. Please do let me know your thoughts. I look forward to it.

  6. Barry
    |

    Just found your website and was so interested In your Niagara experience. I went there a while ago n found it amazing and wanted to see what someone of a similar age to me thought and we are thinking (and actually did) similar things. Greta site. Am gonna read Chicago next as went there after Niagara.!

  7. Georgina
    |

    Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments, I am happy that you found the article useful and have saved it for later. I look forward to hearing of your trip to Niagara.

  8. worldtravelwithmiles
    |

    Great read and well thought through recommendations. I am saving this for later as I’ve never been to Niagra Falls. It is on my bucket list.

  9. Georgina
    |

    Thank you so much, Marilyn. I am so pleased that you enjoyed the post. Niagara Falls really is a true wonder, well worth a visit. Appreciate your lovely comments.

  10. Marilyn
    |

    That’s an amazing amount of water 💦 tumbling over the cliff. What an incredible experience to see, and how inspiring to be able to see, walk from beside, behind. 💕 🙂

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