Niagara Falls – Top to Bottom

 

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We love Niagara Falls – especially the array of marvelous outdoor activities that are available throughout the area. Verdant gardens and leisure walking paths abound. Add the sound of the ever-present roaring rapids and cascades, and you have the makings of a perfect green vacation.

Getting to Niagara Falls is a beautiful road trip for those living in the north east, and an easy flight for the rest of us. It is very convenient to have an exciting natural wonder-of-the-world right here in North America that is so close to major modes of transportation. Even better, it is situated on the friendly American/Canadian border. That is especially comforting now that international travel is so stressful and debilitating.

During our last visit to the Falls we went in search of mini-adventures that could be enjoyed by the entire family. What we found were four tour activities that have been around for years, and still offer a special thrill because they feature the natural elements of the world’s second largest waterfalls. Each tour offers excitement, views, and photo opportunities that will be remembered for a lifetime.

Here are our four suggestions for getting a healthy adrenalin rush out of a visit to Niagara Falls.

Take a helicopter tour

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Helicopter tours are available from Rainbow Air located near the Rainbow Bridge and just a few blocks away from the rushing water in Niagara Falls, New York.

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The views are breathtaking, the 20-minute ride is smooth, and the pilots are very considerate of first time “choppers.”

Journey Behind the Falls

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The Journey Behind the Falls activity is on the Canadian side of the Niagara Falls border and is the best way to get a bird’s eye view of the Horseshoe Falls. Buy your tickets at the concession booth at the Table Rock Welcome Center and take the elevator down to the base of the falls. A yellow plastic poncho comes with the ticket – you will need it. The main viewing platforms are awash with spray from the thundering falls.

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For extra fun, be sure to rent and watch the movie “Niagara” before your trip.

Try to find the spot where Marilyn Monroe had a liaison with her lover in the mist below the Horseshoe Falls. It is visible on the Journey Behind the Falls tour. The movie was filmed on the Canadian side, and you may be surprised to find the lovely park has changed very little since 1953.

Cave of the Winds

The Cave of the Winds tour is another wet encounter with the falls, but this time on the American side. The entrance to this activity is on Goat Island – a beautiful park that is a short shuttle-ride or easy walk from downtown Niagara Falls.

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You have probably seen pictures of yellow plastic clad adventurers as they carefully navigate the slippery wooden walkway that skirts the edge of the raging Bridal Veil Falls. This event is great fun, but be sure to protect your camera under your poncho as you climb the twisted staircase. The relentless sheets of blowing water can quickly soak you and anything you are holding.

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Also, please observe the NO SMOKING sign – is that a joke?

Maid of the Mist

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The Maid of the Mist boat tour is a Falls institution. For this last recommendation, your poncho will be blue instead of yellow. Boat embarkation is available from either the Canadian or US side of the border.

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A ride on the Maid of the Mist is an exciting way to view both the American and Horseshoe Falls, and a fitting way to end your personal experience with the power of Niagara.

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If you would like more information about vacationing in Niagara Falls, check out both the American and Canadian visitors’ bureaus websites Niagara USA, and Tourism Niagara respectively.

Happy travels!

© Travels with Wayne and Judy (syndicated)

Photos © Wayne and Judy Bayliff

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