Niagara Falls is one of the most popular tourist destinations in North America and has been for almost two hundred years. The natural beauty of the multi-faceted water falls and gorge are an attraction that remain on many people’s “bucket list”.
Niagara Falls is both Canadian and American and they have been called “twin cities”. The border between the two countries lies in between the collection of three water falls that comprise “Niagara Falls”. If you are traveling by car, you will need to cross at the Rainbow Bridge from one side to the other and remember that you will need to go through a border check and customs on either side (you ARE traveling between two different countries!). Commercial traffic generally uses a different bridge (The Whirlpool Bridge) and anyone who subscribes to Nexus can use this bridge for quicker access back and forth.
Niagara Falls, Canada
On the Canadian side of the Falls is Horseshoe Falls which is the largest of the three water falls. It is also the most photographed and most universally recognized vision of what Niagara Falls is. Horseshoe Falls is also often called the “Canadian Falls” as it is on the Canadian side. It is thought that approximately 90% of the water that flows over Niagara Falls comes down at Horseshoe Falls.
On the Canadian side of the Falls, you will find numerous hotels to suit all budgets, as well as some hotels and restaurants with spectacular views of Horseshoe Falls. There is plentiful shopping, and within a short drive up the Niagara Parkway, you can visit botanical gardens with butterfly conservatory, or continue a little further to visit Niagara-on-the-Lake which is an historical town where much of the War of 1912 is commemorated. In fact, if you are a lover of the Victorian era, Niagara-on-the-Lake is a must-see.
The famous “Maid of the Mist” boat tours which take visitors directly into the falls and under the mist of the falls is available from the Canadian side as well as from the American side, so don’t worry about missing out on that even if you are not able to visit both sides!
So, where is Niagara Falls if you are coming from a Canadian destination? The Falls are 75 miles South/Southeast from Toronto – approximately an hour and a half’s drive. If you have flown to Toronto, your options will include a car rental or an organized bus trip/tour to and from Niagara Falls. You may walk across the Rainbow Bridge during your visit if you would like to also see the American side of the Falls.
Niagara Falls, United States
On the American side of the Falls, are the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls. The American Falls have a viewing spot that comes close to the edge and the view is a very steep angle. Bridal Veil Falls is the smallest of the three waterfalls at Niagara. There are walkways between the small islands of Goat Island and Luna Island on the American side, where visitors may view the Falls and ascend an elevator at “Cave of the Winds” for an even better glimpse. At that point you will be within twenty feet of the Bridal Veil Falls. The Cave of the Winds was originally a cave behind the Falls, but is no longer accessible due to rockslides in the 1950’s.
On the U.S. side of Niagara Falls, there are also numerous hotels to suit all budgets, many restaurants and attractions. One of the most popular destinations is the Aquarium of Niagara Falls where you can view a vast range of aquatic species and take in some shows. Gaming and casino options are also available on the American side and as mentioned, Maid of the Mist tours launch from this side of the Falls as well. If you can only visit the American side of the Falls, you may want to take the Maid of the Mist tour as it is your best option at seeing Horseshoe Falls without going over to the Canadian side.
Now, where is Niagara Falls when visiting from the U.S.? It is approximately 17 miles North/Northwest of the Buffalo, New York. From Buffalo, you may drive or as mentioned from Toronto, there are Niagara Falls bus tours which can be arranged.
Where is Niagara Falls for you?
A trip to Niagara Falls for you may involve one side or both sides. It may involve planes, trains and automobiles depending how far you have to travel. No matter what you want to see most at the Falls, both sides have much to offer and experience. Both sides have views, shopping, restaurants and casinos. If Niagara Falls is indeed on your bucket list, do a little reading about both sides so you get the most out of your visit. You can read the other articles on this site or you can also check out www.tourismniagara.com for the Canadian side.