A trip to Niagara Falls awakens all your senses. Hear the mighty Falls roar, feel the powerful mist spray across your face and witness 600,000 gallons of water crash 167 feet into the gorge every second. Straddling the Canadian and American border with a width of 2,600 feet this natural spectacle is one for the bucket list and can be explored in a multitude of ways (helicopter ride anyone?). But fast-moving water isn’t the only thing on display in Niagara. Venture beyond the Falls to discover award-winning wineries, historic forts and scenic parks.
Experience Niagara Falls Your Way
There are so many ways to discover Canada’s most revered natural wonder. Join the Voyage to the Falls Boat Tour to get up close to the Canadian Horseshoe Falls, American Falls and the Great Gorge. For a different perspective, take a 20-minute helicopter flight to see the entire Niagara region from a bird’s-eye view. More aerial views can be seen from Skylon Tower. Soaring 764 feet above the ground, this entertainment complex features indoor and outdoor observation decks and two panoramic restaurants.
Behind the Curtain
Sign up for Journey Behind the Falls if you really want to get your heart pumping. This one-of-a-kind adventure brings you directly behind the Falls so you can feel the raw power of Mother Nature as tons of freshwater slam into the basin below. The adrenaline rush doesn’t stop there. Book an excursion with WildPlay MistRider Zipline and glide over Niagara Falls at speeds of over 40 miles per hour.
Niagara’s Waterfront Playground
The South Coast is situated along Lake Erie and home to countless sandy beaches, making it a popular destination for watersports. Go diving in Lake Erie to uncover reefs and shipwrecks, swim off the shores of Bernard Beach or wakeboard across the water at lightning-fast speeds. Fishing is also fantastic here, so take a charter from Port Colborne to reel in crappie, smallmouth bass, walleye and pike. Salmon and trout can be caught just 30 minutes away in Lake Ontario and the Niagara River as well.
An intriguing collection of native and international plants can be found in Queen Victoria Park. Known as the heart of the Niagara Parks, Queen Victoria Park is famed for its rock garden, hybrid tea rose garden and vivid carpet bedding displays. Come in spring to see 500,000 daffodils in full bloom.
The Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens also demands a spot on your itinerary. Meander through 99 acres of manicured gardens and pop in the Butterfly Conservatory to see 45 different species of butterflies. Don’t forget to visit the emergence window to see young butterflies take flight for the first time.
Immerse yourself in the pristine countryside by traversing the Niagara River Recreation Trail. Spanning 35 miles, this paved route links Fort Erie to Niagara-on-the-Lake and weaves through wineries, historical sites and the Niagara Falls along the way.
Stop and Smell the Rosé
Niagara is gaining international recognition for its wines and quickly becoming a must-visit destination for foodies and oenophiles. Experience it for yourself by following the Wine Route of Ontario by car, bike or guided tour. The 250-mile trail opens the doors to more than 50 wineries nestled by the shores of Lake Ontario. Stop in charming Niagara-on-the-Lake for tastings and regional cuisine at large estates to boutique wineries. Inniskillin, Peller Estates, Trius and Jackson Triggs are just some of the iconic names you’ll come across. Niagara-on-the-Lake is also a major producer of ice wine so don’t leave without sampling this sweet dessert beverage. Unlike regular wines, ice wines are produced by freezing grapes while they’re still on the vine and made possible thanks to Ontario’s unique climate.
Niagara’s Sonoma Valley
Twenty Valley is a 30-minute drive from Niagara-on-the-Lake. Nicknamed Niagara’s Sonoma Valley, this hidden gem combines family-operated wine estates with the pristine beauty of the Escarpment. Meet local winemakers and taste vintages aged in small batches at establishments like Tawse, Creekside Estate and Stoney Ridge.
Festivals at the Falls
Seeing Niagara Falls during the day is spectacular, but watching fireworks exploding over them at night will make your trip unforgettable. You can enjoy the country’s longest-running fireworks series every evening of the summer or during the Winter Festival of Lights. Over 150 pyrotechnic shows take place throughout the year, which gives you lots of opportunities to catch the dazzling display. The Falls Illumination occurs every night of the year in case you miss the fireworks. This incredible light show illuminates the Falls in all the colors of the rainbow and is best experienced on an illumination cruise or from the lookout at Table Rock.
Jazz, Tall Ships and More
There are plenty more festivals waiting for you just beyond the Falls. Listen to local and international musicians belt out country, folk and jazz tunes at the month-long Music Niagara Festival every summer. At the beginning of August, sail Lake Erie on the Empire Sandy Tall Ship during the Canal Days Marine Heritage Festival. You can also sip fine wines, tour vineyards and attend street parades every September at the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival.
Retrace the War of 1812
The War of 1812 was a critical moment in Canadian history and one of the most famous battles took place right here in the Niagara region. Located just three miles from the Falls, Chippawa Battlefield Park was where approximately 200 American, British, Canadian and First Nations fighters lost their lives during the war’s longest and goriest battle. Take a self-guided walking tour through the grounds to learn more about the battle and check out the memorial cairn which celebrates the lasting peace between Canada and America since the end of the war.
The area is home to a few historic forts, too. Spend some time wandering through Fort George, a military post that defended Canada from American troops. From firing a musket to interacting with costumed staff, this National Historic Site lets you experience what life was like during the War of 1812. Less than an hour south is Old Fort Erie, an 18th-century fort functioned as a major crossing point for the escaped slaves using the Underground Railroad. It was also a pivotal site during the War of 1812. Today, you can take part in daily tours, musket demonstrations and battle reenactments.
Another major attraction in the area for family fun is MarineLand, where visitors can marvel at the amazing performances by sea lions, dolphins and walruses. Educational exhibits shed light on the planet’s delicate marine ecosystem. The Fallsview Indoor Waterpark is home to 16 waterslides, a giant wave pool and Beach House Rain Fortress. The Americana Waterpark Resort and Spa offers the whole family its Waves Indoor Waterpark, with features that include water slides up to three stories high.
For More Information
Tourism Partnership of Niagara