I’ve spent a fair amount of time in the Niagara region over the last few years and after a recent comment on my blog I realised many visitors don’t know how much there is to do in this little corner of Ontario. Here are some of the things my family and I have thoroughly enjoyed doing.
The waterfalls themselves are spectacular. One fifth of the world’s supply of fresh water comes over Niagara Falls, how mind blowing is that statistic? Stand by it for a few minutes and you understand it completely as over 2 million litres per second charges passed you. To view the falls themselves is free of charge and it’s amazing to see in almost any weather, clear blue days often give brilliant rainbows in the spray and during the winter the river and area around the falls freezes, giving a breath-taking wintery scene.
Strictly a fair weather activity the Whirlpool Jet Boat tour leaves from Niagara-On-The-Lake and travels up the Niagara River to the point where the river makes a 90 degree turn resulting in the whirlpools. It is a truly thrilling ride. You will get wet and most likely you will scream! I know I did! 😀
The Jet boat on a gentle ride up the river
The Jet boat in the rapids, Me, hubbie and sons getting soaked on the back row
Unrivaled views of the area are gained by a Helicopter tour over the falls. This is quite an expensive attraction but the experience is truly memorable.
The Horseshoe Falls from above
There are approximately 180 vineyards in and around the Niagara Region, many of them make award winning wines. Chateaux des Charmes was my favourite and probably because it is a family run business like my business was. Situated in a beautiful part of the Niagara peninsula they produce on average 900,000 bottles of delicious wine per year. Their tours take visitors through the vineyards all the way to the bottling room with a few tastings afterwards. Inexpensive and includes a money off coupon to spend in the store.
A destination for the history buff where you can learn all about he 1812 war, the involvement of the British, Americans and Canadians and it’s effects on the Canada we know and love today. An interesting, educational and inexpensive attraction
British Canon pointing at the Americans
The Town of Niagara On the Lake
Originally burnt down at the end of the 1812 war and rebuilt in the regency style Niagara-On-The Lake is one of the few old towns in Canada. Formerly the Nations Capital, the town it is now one of the main tourist attractions of the country. Free of charge.
Maid of the Mist
North America’s oldest tourist attraction first opened in 1846, The Maid of the Mist takes its passengers right into the basin of the Horseshoe Falls as thousands of litres of water drop from over 50 metres above you. A mid price attraction but worth the cost, bare in mind you will need the ponchos they provide because you will get wet. The Maid of the Mist runs in the summer months when the river is free of ice.
Whirlpool Aero Car
Originally opened in 1916 the whirlpool aero car travels across the Niagara Gorge and back. It gives an aerial view of the whirlpools that you experience in the Jet Boat Tour. Inexpensive but only lasts about 20 minutes.
The Niagara Parkway is a pretty drive along the Niagara River, I like to take it from the Falls to Niagara-On-The-Lake. It follows the course of the river and passes the Whirlpool Rapids and the Brock Monument (another must see for history buffs). Free of charge.
The Marine Land theme park has a couple of rides but the main attractions, as the name suggests, are the Dolphins, Killer Whales and Beluga Whales. The admission cost is inline with other theme parks.
Clifton Hill is the part of the town of Niagara Falls that is often deemed as tacky. Amusement arcades and flashing lights give it a mini Las Vegas feel, having said that I spent a great night in the Boston Pizza which also houses an arcade and bowling alley that kept the kids amused while the ‘grown ups’ enjoyed the food and sampled the local beverages ;-). Next to the Boston Pizza is the Niagara sky wheel that is an inexpensive ride that gives fabulous aerial views of both the Canadian Horseshoe and American Falls.
View from the Sky Wheel in April