Although they’re the highlight, there is much more to Niagara Falls than just the falls. Save them like you would a delicious dessert. (I know, we’re teasing you with a food lead-in, but it’s just a metaphor and we’ll save that exciting for another day). It’s the perfect complement to everything else you’ve done that day. There are so many incredible things to do in the Niagara Falls area and here we’ll cover some of the best activities to give you an unforgettable experience.
Niagara Stop 1: Niagara Countryside
The heart of upstate New York is agriculture. Hundreds of years ago some really dedicated people cut down lots of trees, drained swamps, and leveled ground to make some fertile farmland. Today you’ll start the day watching the lives of these productive people who plant, fertilize, and harvest crops that feed us. Spend the first part of the day driving off the 90, and stopping at local fruitstands and getting real organic stuff. The new homes blend in with the ones that have stood there for over a century.
Niagara Stop 2: Lockport Cave
Make your way to the small town of Lockport, NY. Here you’ll get an experience similar to that of the Panama Canal. Ok, maybe that is a bit of a stretch, but it will give you a feel for how locks work. You’ll see more locks in Lockport than you’ll see on the entire Panama Canal.
While you’re there, you do not want to miss the chance to take a tour of a tunnel that was blasted out of pure rock. It was created to divert excess water from the canal and then harnessed to provide mechanical power to three factories above it. They call it Lockport Cave, and the tour is $12 for adults and $7 for children. It’s about 70 minutes of history, engineering, and entertainment along the way.
Niagara Stop 3: Old Fort Niagara
Have you ever visit a historical battle site and wish that for just a day, or even a moment, you could go back in time to see what it would have been like to be firing shots at the enemy? Here you’ll get a morsel of living history.
Fort Niagara was built by the French to protect the ingress into their territory by ships moving from Lake Ontario up the Niagara River. It taken over by the English, and later seized by the Americans. Today it is a New York State Park. Be sure to see the Original flag that is an enormous 672 square feet. That is larger than the average one bedroom apartment! It is one of very few flags that were made before 1812.
The feeling of patriotism in the fort will move you. It’s awesome to think of the lives of the people who occupied it and their place in history, and they make it interesting with live interpreters who demonstrate what life would have been like – even firing a musket shot. You won’t regret spending $12 to get in.
Niagara Stop 4: Whirlpool Jetboat
Anytime a liability release begins with “If anyone has heart conditions, neck or back problems….you might want to sit in the back rows” means that I’ll want to be up front. This is exactly what you get when you show up to do a Whirlpool Jetboat tour of the Niagara Canyon.
I’ve previously posted about how much fun this experience is, but it’s something that is always worth revisiting. The trip up the rapids is what you think will get you wet, but taking the jetboat down the rapids is where you’re guaranteed to get
wet soaked drenched ummm. I can’t seem to come up with a word that best describes the wetness. Yelling and screaming is allowed, in fact it is encouraged. This has got to be the best of Niagara Falls’ adventure experiences.
The person who is the craziest on the boat is guaranteed to sign themselves up for a helmet cam on the last run down the class 5 rapids. (This may have been me… twice) It is the most expensive thing being recommended today – at $61 adult and $51 child, but hopefully because you’re worldwanderlusting with us your hotel will be free tonight, so don’t worry about splurging. Splurge away!
Final Niagara Stop of the Day: Niagara Falls, USA
By now you’ve had a delicious dinner, and hopefully you ate salmon at the Red Coach Inn – The Niagara food experience is also amazing, and eating here is a mega-highlight. Sit on the patio and watch the people stroll by. The sun will be setting as you finish up and prepare for a romantic stroll through a park that was designed by the same guy who did Central Park and the landscape at the Biltmore.
Regardless of the innumerable amount of tourists, it is easy to block them out as you enjoy the park, the scenery, and the falls. Grab an ice cream cone and sit on a bench and watch the world go by. The sheer majesty of the falls will mesmerize you. Their grandeur will inspire you. By the time you have to leave for your hotel, you’ll still be wanting for more, but there is always more to do on your next trip to Niagara Falls.
Brad and I stayed at the Radisson Airport Hotel in Rochester, NY, which was about an hour from the end of the day, but we really enjoyed visiting 0ur experiences as we made the commute. There is nothing like a free hotel to cap off a wonderful day of your vacation.
Remember that when you have the Club Carlson Visa your last night is free when redeeming the points. You can stay at the Radisson that we did for two nights and only use 15,000 of your Gold Points.