Canada / Day Trips / Tour / Waterfalls

On the Tourist Trail: Discover Niagara Falls

Sometimes you just have to give suck it up and deal with the fact that the things you want to do are things that many other people want to do as well.  I often do try to go to places that are less frequented.  Not because I am trying to have a more authentic experience but because I am not a fan of crowds.  Even in busy London you can often head down a side street and be free from the steady hordes of people.

In an attempt to finally do the number one thing you do as a tourist in Niagara Falls, David and I decided that when we returned to Canada we had to finally go on the Maid of the Mist.  We missed it during our first trip due to poor planning and then it was winter on our second trip.

I have been going to Niagara Falls since I was a child but I had never gotten this close to the falls.  The Maid of the Mist is the name of the boat/tour that you take of the falls.  There is an option to go behind the falls but we decided to just do the regular tour this time around.  The lovely smurf blue ponchos are handed out just as you start to queue for a ride.

Niagara Falls actually refers to a collection of 3 falls.  The 2nd picture above shows the American Falls.  The smaller one to the right is called the Bridal Veil Falls.  Below is the Canadian side, and is known as the Horseshoe Falls.  As you can see the American side is less spectacular, however they get much closer to their falls.

I organized for D and I to take the ride with a few friends.  It was a great experience from beginning to end.  We didn’t queue for tickets and only waited a few minutes to get on a boat.  If you have ever been to Niagara you will know that the place is always heavily congested with many tourists as it was that day so it was surprising to get through everything so quick.

The tour starts off by heading to the American side, then it diverts right into the mouth of the horseshoe falls.  It was only when we got to the middle that the boat became choppy but that added to the fun.  I took a few snaps when we were there but not many as I didn’t want to damage my camera.  You also can’t see much as it rains down on you and everything is blocked by white mist.  The tour isn’t long, about 20 minutes max but it was worth it.

To get the full Niagara experience you have to walk the cheesy strip that is Clifton Hill.  The strip has a mix of restaurants, tourist attractions, and shops.  The previous times that D and I went here we skipped Clifton Hill so this time I wanted him to take it all in.

A trip to Toronto is not complete unless you make a day trip out to Niagara.  The price for Maid of the Mist was $19.75 and all of us who went highly recommend it.  You should give yourself a full day and also remember to go to Niagara-on-the-Lake.  Also you should have a beavertail.  So even if you are a lover (like I am) of getting off the beaten path, for this you must get in with everyone else or you will miss out.

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16 thoughts on “On the Tourist Trail: Discover Niagara Falls

  1. Used to live near there for a few years. Never took the boat but visited the Falls a few times. The view, for me, never gets old. And Clifton Hill really IS cheesy as hell. 😐

  2. I went once, by accident, kinda. Lol. I was totally underwhelmed with the whole idea of Niagra Falls, and was actually telling my cousin (on my cell phone) how lame the whole thing is. I think I said something like, “It’s just a bunch of water pouring down. Who cares?” And then I got to the top of Clifton Hill and SAW it. And I hung up so I can run to it. And ended up on the Maid of the Mist. Too funny.
    And MMM! Beavertailsssss!

  3. What a stunning post Melissa. I agree, I also like to get off the beaten path from time to time but I also remind myself that the big attractions often became popular for a reason that goes beyond good marketing. I just love your photos – you have such a great way of capturing sweeping, almost panoramic views and I feel like I was there with you. And finally, before I scrolled down, I wondered how cheesy Clifton Hill could possibly be but I am no longer a doubter!

    • Thanks a lot Mandy! What a great compliment. Agreed, there is a reason people flock to main attractions like this one, they are worth it. I remember stumbling across a blog where the writer ranted on and on about the many people also there during her trip to Versailles. I remember going last year and while there were a lot of people that was to be expected. If you absolutely cannot stand crowds then just don’t go. While I am not a fan in some instances others you can’t help it and you should be prepared.

  4. I tend to avoid the heavily crowded areas as well but you are right, sometimes you just have to do it! Joe did an Ontario trip a couple of years ago without me and went to the falls but I’ve never been. I really need to spend some time exploring the other side of Canada!

    (PS – like the new blog look!)

  5. I love tourist things, even cheesy tourist things! Our side of the falls is definitely better! I’ve been to Niagara twice and the 2nd time I had an Aussie with me so we went on the Maid. I loved it! We have pics of us at the front Titantic ‘king of the world’ style. I love that whole area really. Do they have Beavertails there? I LOVE them and given they’re my hometown thing, I always have them when I’m back in Ottawa!!

    • I love tourist things too but hate having to deal with the crowds involved. However they almost are always worth it. Yes they have Beavertails! That’s the pastry stand that we went to in the last picture, so yummy.

  6. Too funny, I just followed a link to your blog because I saw you live in London and love to travel (like me)… and then found this entry which made me laugh because I come from 10 minutes away from Niagara Falls (American side) and was just there in October. Anyway, just thought I’d say hi and great blog!

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