People may commit the mistake of thinking that visiting Niagara Falls is a tourist cliché. We just hope that you’re not one of those who will agree and pass up the chance to visit this place. We only have one appropriate word as a response – “don’t!” Niagara Falls lives up to the expectations and all the hype. It is absolutely stunning, not to mention a natural wonder that deserves every bit of recognition it gets.
Niagara Falls straddles the bordering cities of Canada and United States. To be precise, it acts as a gate that divides the Canadian province of Ontario and the US State of New York. Both US and Canadian cities that border the Falls bear the same name -“Niagara Falls”. This is probably because neither one of them wants to be left out of this tourism gold mine. Because of its peculiar geographical location, the Falls can be visited by accessing either of the neighbouring countries. Now isn’t that convenient!
There are three impressive falls collectively known as Niagara, but they are also identified by specific names. The three falls are called American Falls, Horseshoe Falls and Bridal Veil Falls. The big three generate the highest flow rate out of all waterfalls on earth. The tremendous amount of water that flows into them makes Niagara Falls what it is today, mesmerizing, powerful and beautiful. And just when you think that Niagara Falls is meant for the eyes of tourists and those seeking for natural aesthetic pleasure, the Falls still serve a practical purpose as it actually provides hydroelectric power.
When you visit the Falls today, you will find that it is overlooked by great hotels and surrounded by a tourist complex, complete with restaurants, tour offices, parking space, souvenir shops and even cafes with live acoustic music. There are a couple observation spots within this complex, but if you really want to make a visit to Niagara Falls more memorable than just staring at it for a couple of minutes; sign up for one of the exciting tours offered here.
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This portion of the article discusses the tours offered on the Canadian side. (no bias intended!).
The most popular tour seems to be the one called Maid of the Mist. This tour’s popularity is most probably earned because of its age, as it is the oldest of all the tours offered the Falls. Maid of the Mist features a diesel-engine boat that brings 600 passengers to the base of the American Falls as well as to the Canadian’s Horseshoe Falls’ basin. By now, you probably have guessed that the tour got its name because of all the surrounding mists that will greet you upon your approach to the Falls. This may seem like a simple 30-minute ferry journey, but make no mistake about it; this tour is awe-inspiring and jaw-dropping! It allows you to come face to face with the mighty rush of water, which can create big enough currents to rock the boat, and elicit “oohs” and “aahs” from the passengers.
Maid of the Mist’s admission ticket includes a recyclable raincoat to keep you dry during the trip and is also meant to be a take-home souvenir. For some reason, the used raincoats usually end up in the garbage bin after the tour. Maid of the Mist boats start their trip from the dock of Queen Victoria Park, and are in full operation from late April to the last week of October, with heavy dependency on weather conditions.
If you find the Maid of the Mist too slow and laidback, then maybe the Whirlpool Jet Boat Tour is right up your alley. This tour gives you the choice of riding two different types of jet boats, which both possess 1500 horsepower. This high horsepower translate to a very fast and thrilling adventure through the already intimidating whitewater of Niagara Falls.
TheJourney Behind the Falls tour takes you down about 150 feet via an elevator. You will end up in areas called Cataract Portal and the Great Falls Portal, which are actually located behind the base of the Horseshoe Falls. While here, you can walk across the elevator tunnel to the observation decks, where you can get the closest to the crashing fresh water. If this sounds enticing, make your way to the tour entrance at the Table Rock Welcome Centre at 6650 Niagara Parkway. The Journey Behind the Falls tour is offered all year round, but if you want to save some cash, come during mid-December to mid-April when the rates are lowered because of the frost.
The Niagara Helicopters Tour is quite pricey but this exciting aerial trip promises the most spectacular view of the Falls. The tour allows you to go on a 12-minute, 6-seater helicopter ride. The helicopter starts off at Victoria Avenue, and passes over the Whirlpool Rapids, the Rainbow Bridge at the Niagara River, the American Falls, the Skylon Tower and finally the Canadian Horseshoe Falls.