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Travel to Niagara Falls

Updated on January 24, 2014

Niagara Falls - American Side

A fairly close up view of the American Niagara Falls.
A fairly close up view of the American Niagara Falls. | Source

Niagara Falls, beautiful, majestic, powerful... our family...hmm quite a compilation there. It all started back in 1967 when Niagara Falls was THE honeymoon destination. I wanted to go there for our honeymoon and my loving new groom to be said, of course! What neither of us factored in was it was the end of January when we got married. We didn't really know any Niagara Falls facts - like weather conditions, especially in the winter!

In the winter Niagara Falls is a beautiful, freezing, winter wonderland. Most of the parks are closed, probably because everything is covered with a thick layer of ice, and I do mean everything. You know the story about your tongue freezing to the flagpole? I think if you hold onto the railings at Niagara Falls your hand will freeze to it! If you stand to watch the Falls, your hair will turn to ice within minutes. The temperature stays around the freezing point most of the time but can dip to minus who knows what degrees - don't forget the mist. The best part, unbeknownst to us is that it is coldest there between December and March and in January the average temperate is minus one degree. We probably should have looked into that before we booked our honeymoon!

My honeymoon videos are still on 8mm so I had to borrow a video from YouTube to give you a glimpse of what winter in Niagara Falls is like.

Off we go on our honeymoon to this winter wonderland. We stood and looked at the Falls for about a half hour before our hair and clothes turned to ice. The mist from the Falls covers everything and anyone standing anywhere near it. It was beautiful but when I say it was cold, believe me it was cold. Needless to say our visit to the Falls and surrounding area during our honeymoon was brief. We had a great honeymoon, just not as much outside as we thought.

Knowing how beautiful Niagara Falls is we wanted to go back. As time passed we thought this would be a great place to vacation with the kids. So, in the 1984 we decided to take a family vacation in Niagara Falls. We had a summer guest, a young boy from Northern Ireland and thought it would be a treat for him as well.

There are lots of campgrounds in Niagara Falls and we had no trouble finding a camping site. We stayed on the American side. We were all thrilled when we got there after a very long car ride.

There are two well known Falls in Niagara Falls, one on the American side and one on the Canadian side. These falls are separated by Goat Island. The Falls on the Canadian side are known as the Horseshoe Falls because of their shape. They are both part of the Niagara River. Without factoring man made tourist attractions there is plenty to see and do around the Falls themselves.

Fortunately the weather in the summer is much better than it was during our last visit. Temperatures are in the 80s during the day and 60s at night. Rainy weather doesn't last long and we were lucky to only encounter a misty day or two.

On the American side you can walk really close to the Falls, going down a long stairway. It is breathtaking as most of Niagara Falls is. The power and majesty of the Falls is unbelievable. I've seen many falls in our area but nothing prepares you for the size and power of Niagara Falls.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Our American CampgroundAmerican Falls with Canadian Falls in the background.Journey Behind the FallsRiding the Maid of the MistView of American falls from the bottom upLooking at the American fallsFerris Wheel at Darien Lake
Our American Campground
Our American Campground | Source
American Falls with Canadian Falls in the background.
American Falls with Canadian Falls in the background. | Source
Journey Behind the Falls
Journey Behind the Falls | Source
Riding the Maid of the Mist
Riding the Maid of the Mist | Source
View of American falls from the bottom up
View of American falls from the bottom up | Source
Looking at the American falls
Looking at the American falls | Source
Ferris Wheel at Darien Lake
Ferris Wheel at Darien Lake | Source

We decided to view the Falls from the Canadian side and set out early in the morning. As we got to the customs booth the gentleman on duty asked the normal questions like why are you going into Canada and what are you bringing. We made the mistake or we had the good fortune, we're still not sure which, to mention our Irish guest. The customs guard informed us without a passport for him we could go into Canada but it was highly likely the Canadians would not let us return. Needless to say, we did not enter Canada.

Remember, this visit is in the late eighties so if you live near Niagara Falls or have visited lately I'm sure things have changed. I know there have been buildings and attractions added since then. However, being normal Americans we did visit a lovely mall in Niagara. It was called the Rainbow Mall and was two stories high, something we hadn't seen before. I believe it is now deserted and/or torn down.

Since we couldn't visit the Canadian Falls we decided to make the best of it on the American side by visiting the nearby Darien Lake Amusement Park, Fort Ticonderoga, an aquarium and whatever else we could find.

In 1987 we ventured to Niagara Falls again. This time we had two boys from Ireland and our son's girlfriend. Seven kids and two adults! We ate at the campsite or when we went out to eat it was pizza - the cheapest meal. It was funny because people thought we actually had seven kids.

What wasn't funny was almost losing one of our little Ireland darlings in Canada. (This time we had remembered to get their passports.) We were walking down the main street when I noticed our little 'Packy' was not among us. No one knew where he was. We began frantically searching and finally found him in a store several stores away. He said he was just shopping! While he was shopping my heart was stopping, thinking I had lost a little boy from Ireland.

Minolta Tower on Canadian side
Minolta Tower on Canadian side | Source
View of American falls from Minolta Tower
View of American falls from Minolta Tower | Source

Of course one of the thrills of Niagara Falls is riding the Maid of the Mist, there is a 'companion' ride on the Canadian side. It's a fairly big boat loaded with lots of people dressed in raincoats provided by the Maid of the Mist staff. It gets really close to the Falls...at least it seems really close. The fun is in getting wet and looking at everyone around you getting wet too. The kids loved it.

Also on the American side you can experience the Falls by going behind them. I believe the experience is called Journey Behind the Falls. Another incredible experience. You walk through man-made caverns (again in your provided raincoats) until you come out to an opening with a gate across...before your eyes is the Falls. It's a great experience for young and old alike. Unlike our original trip to the Falls in 1967, both subsequent trips in the summer were warm and the cool mist from the Falls was refreshing and enjoyable.


The movie Superman II had been released in 1980s, we remembered and loved it. What we found out was Superman's rescue of Lois Lane from the raging river was filmed right here on the Niagara River. My kids were thrilled to stand where Superman had stood!

Another attraction was some of the 'barrels' that had been used to try to go over the falls. All in all fifteen people tried to go over the Falls at one time or another, ten have made it.

The first person to go over the Falls in a barrel and survive was a 63 year old female schoolteacher.

High wire tightrope acts used to be performed across the river. Most notably in the past was "Blondin" who once actually carried his manager across on his back, stopping midway to rest ! (http://www.niagarafallslive.com/facts_about_niagara_falls.htm) Most notably, recently was Nik Walenda. I guess the most interesting thing about Nik Walenda's crossing was that we got to watch it live on TV! http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-06-15/nik-wallenda-niagara-falls-walk/55624724/1

Interesting fact: It is the second tallest falls in the world.

We visited the Falls again briefly in 1993 when we attended a wedding in the area. Looking back, I think it's time for us to go to Niagara Falls again, how about you?

Copyright Tillsontitan - All Rights Reserved

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    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      Thank you so much Carly. You are right, it is hard to do justice to such a magnificent force of nature. I am honored that you think I did. Your vote and share is appreciated too!

    • CarlySullens profile image

      CarlySullens 

      4 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      Hi Mary,

      You did Niagara Falls justice here! You captured its history and beauty in words, which is hard to do because it is so grand and beautiful. Loved it! Voted up and shared.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      I think everything about Niagara Falls is an adventure because of it's majesty. Yes, I did see the movie...I'm a fan of Niagara Falls and Marilyn Monroe! Thanks for the votes and share Mary.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      4 years ago from Florida

      I visited Niagara Falls about 15 yrs. ago, and rode the Maid of the Mist. What an adventure that was. Did you ever see the movie Niagara Falls starring Marilyn Monroe? Great photography of the Falls in it.

      Voted UP and shared.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      Gee Vinaya, maybe we could work out an exchange, you come to NY and I go to Nepal :) Thanks for reading.

      Glad you found my hub interesting Mike.

    • Mike Robbers profile image

      Mike Robbers 

      4 years ago from London

      Great hub and a very interesting tour to Niagara Falls!

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 

      4 years ago from Nepal

      Mary,

      Niagara falls is one of the eight wonders of the world that I want to visit before I die. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      5 years ago from New York

      They are indeed a site to beyond klidstone. We always seem to take for granted the things that are near where we live as we see them and forget just how special they can be.

    • klidstone1970 profile image

      இڿڰۣ-- кιмвєяℓєу 

      5 years ago from Niagara Region, Canada

      Niagara Falls is definitely beautiful. I live about ten minutes down the highway from them (the Canadian side) and have been there countless times. It was the place that all the teens went "cruising" in the summer when growing up and I never grow tired seeing them to this day. I think to some extent most of us around here take them for granted because they are in our backyard, but when you go back to visit, it's like seeing them for the first time.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      Jools you've picked two of my favorite spots! (I did a hub about Vegas too.) I still think Niagara Falls is romantic.

      KDuBarry you are so right. That is one more reason, added to the many, to see Niagara Falls.

    • profile image

      KDuBarry03 

      6 years ago

      I remember watching something on "Life after People" about Niagara Falls. They say that, because of the power of the waterfall, the Falls will no longer be two separate waterfalls and, in fact, will decrease to the size of a smaller water fall in about 1000 years of so. Isn't that something? More reason to see it's beauty now!

      Thank you for such an informative hub :)

      -KD

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 

      6 years ago from North-East UK

      Tillsontitan, great hub. I would love to see Niagara in the winter, it looks amazing, how romantic. My hubby proposed to me in Toronto and we had just visited Niagara so i will always have lovely memories of it and I have been twice in 1988 and 1992. We might go for our 25th wedding anniversary on our way to Las Vegas. This hub brought back happy memories.

      Voted up and shared.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      It is a great place Duchess, so glad we share some memories!

    • profile image

      Duchess OBlunt 

      6 years ago

      We had our first anniversary at Niagara Falls many, many moons ago. Like you said " We had a great honeymoon, just not as much outside as we thought." :)

      We also took our boys when they were very young and saw lots of wonderful things. The maid of the mist was probably my favourite part (on the Canadian side of course)

      It's one of the best places in Ontario to see some of the wonders for both countries.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      You are most welcome synchronous, thanks for reading! Nice link.

    • synchronous profile image

      synchronous 

      6 years ago

      Nice hub..thanks for sharing with us.

      http://www.srinagarhouseboat.net/

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      Agreed travelhouseuk

    • travelhouseuk profile image

      travelhouseuk 

      6 years ago from UK

      Attractive place indeed.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      Thanks Alocsin. No one can really explain the beauty and majesty fairly, it is really something to be seen to be believed. Glad you enjoyed though.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 

      6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Well perhaps I'll make it to the Falls someday, especially since you painted such a picture of it. Voting this Up and Interesting.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      Cassy, wish I was going with you! Glad you liked my hub.

      Thanks radhikasree, it is truly a sight to see!

    • radhikasree profile image

      Radhika Sreekanth 

      6 years ago from Mumbai,India

      The white foams of Niagra Falls in the first picture is awesome! This heavenly sight is tempting me to reach near it now itself! Thanks for sharing this great hub.

      Up and awesome.

      Sharing with my friends here.

    • CassyLu1981 profile image

      CassyLu1981 

      6 years ago from Spring Lake, NC

      Awesome hub! Thanks for the insight into the falls. We will be heading up there within the year! I can't wait! Thanks for Sharing :)

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      It's a great place to go...don't know where you're located but wherever it is, I do know you'll enjoy the falls. Thanks Brett.

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 

      6 years ago from Thailand

      Funny that I found this today, as only a few days ago my partner declared that she would LOVE to visit the Niagara Falls ... as would I. Thanks for SHARING your memories and photos!

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      Thank you Prasetio. I hope you get to visit it someday too. It is truly something you won't forget.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 

      6 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Niagara falls is always beautiful. I wish I could visit this place in person one day. Wow..you have wonderful memories about Niagara falls. Thanks for share with us. Rated up and useful!

      Prasetio

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      Okay Melovy, you come to Niagra Falls and I'll go to Scotland ;)

      Ah, BabyBoomer, how true are your words! Like everything else, you don't know what you've go until you lose it! So glad you enjoyed GF.

      Thanks Nell. I worried a little over the photos 'cause they're so old, but they seemed to have made the transition.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      Hi, I would love to visit the Falls, living in England we get to see it on TV quite a lot, and of course the old Superman film as well, how lovely! and your photos were great too, voted up! cheers nell

    • TheLastBabyBoomer profile image

      Deborah Turner 

      6 years ago from Surprise Arizona

      Bravo Girlfriend! I have always loved the Falls. Unfotunately you don't realize just how much until you move away. Voted up by this Buffalo Gal!

    • Melovy profile image

      Yvonne Spence 

      6 years ago from UK

      Those photos are beautiful. I’d love to visit Niagara Falls one day. This is a great hub.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      SS, how cool your daughter took her first steps there! Glad I could bring back memories.

      Hinizille family and holiday at Niagara Falls, can't be beat.

      Audra, that is always the way. When we live close to beautiful places, tourist attractions, etc. we never seem to get there.

      HawaiiHeart it really is beautiful. You can hear the Falls all around you in that area.

      Stephanie, that's how I felt, always something different, that's why I think it's time for us to go back.

      Moonlake, you've been there much more recently than I. I didn't know about Planet Hollywood.

      Effer, dear Effer...casino you say...don't need to invite me twice. If I can get this lazy family headed that way, you're on (it's an 8 hr drive from here). Thelma & Louise here we come!

      Thanks Paul for sharing. There is something about the majesty of those two falls you have to experience to believe.

    • Paul Kuehn profile image

      Paul Richard Kuehn 

      6 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      I have been to Niagara Falls twice, most recently in 1994, and I have been both to the American and Canadian Sides. I enjoyed the view from the Canadian side better. I also went on the Maid of the Mist and it was awesome. Voted up, interesting, and useful. I am sharing with my followers.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 

      6 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Till....Pretty much, my back yard, GF....you've done a superb job here, presenting the beauty and all the activities available. It is a popular vacation spot and rightly so.

      All I want to say now is: IF YOU EVER COME OUT THIS WAY AGAIN.....CALL ME AHEAD OF TIME!! We'll go gamble in the casino together! Within reason, of course..LOL....

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 

      6 years ago from America

      I use to live in that area when I was young. We were there again in 2004. It is a beautiful place. Now when you come through from Canada planet Hollywood is right there and a casino! Love your pictures. Voted Up

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 

      6 years ago from USA

      I enjoyed the virtual trip to Niagara Falls! We used to live 3 hours away and visited there several times both winter and summer with our children. Each time we saw something different, and always enjoyed the majestic falls, too. Nice hub and photographs!

    • HawaiiHeart profile image

      HawaiiHeart 

      6 years ago from Hawaii

      I can't wait to visit there one day. Looks so stunning!

    • profile image

      iamaudraleigh 

      6 years ago

      Beautiful pictures and content!!! I live 1.5 hours away and have not been there in a while!!! I want to go and have as much fun as you did!

    • hinazille profile image

      CONSCIOUSNINJA 

      6 years ago from Planet Earth

      Hey! great hub... love the pics they are really transporting me back to my childhood...me and a whole group of my family members drove to Niagara Falls from CT, stayed there a few nights - one of the best holidays i can remember...

      thanks for the flashbacks!

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Hi Mary, I went to Niagara Falls in '86. I still have vivid memories of the falls, the sounds, the smells and most importantly was my daughter took her first steps there! Your hub and the videos brought back many wonderful memories...thank you!

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