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Birthday trip to Niagara Falls, Canada 2016.

For my wife Trudy’s birthday, we decided to visit Niagara Falls. We wanted to stay on the Canadian side as there were more choices of accommodations and besides we got one more addition to our countries visited list. We flew from Austin Bergstrom to Buffalo via Charlotte, North Carolina. Getting to Niagara is pretty easy. There are shuttle buses available, $65.00 to the Canadian side or $50.00 to the USA side. Taxis are another option, the fare is about the same. We rented a car and it took about forty five minutes to get there. As you get closer to the Falls, you could see the spray of water rising like a cloud in the distance. Border crossing was a breeze, just have your travel documents ready. The get the latest updates and requirements on border crossings, you can visit http://www.cbp.gov

Border crossing.

There are quite a few hotels along the rim of the Falls especially on the Canadian side. Our hotel of choice was the Marriott. We’ve stayed with them several times and have always had great service. We asked for and got upgraded to a very nice room on the twenty fourth floor which offered us magnificent views of both the Canadian and American Falls. A welcome gift basket for the birthday was also a very nice touch.

Marriott Hotel.
View from our upgraded 24th floor room.

We’re only here for a few days and want to make the most of it. We made reservations for birthday dinner at the Skylon Tower which has a rotating restaurant. Food was excellent, lots of selections on the buffet, but it’s all about the view here. As night fell, we were treated to a fireworks display.

View from the Skylon Tower, Rainbow Bridge, American Falls and Horseshoe Falls.
As night falls on the Tower, great ambience and oh so romantic.

On our second day, we booked a “Journey behind the Falls” tour. We rode the funicular down from the hotel to meet our guide. We descended about a hundred feet by elevator through the rock table where you go through a series of tunnels. There are a couple of lookout portals where you see the water and really hear and feel the power. Afterwards, we made our way out to the observation area, (rain gear on) for the incredible up close view.

The funicular costs about $3.00 one way.
You can purchase tickets for a myriad of things at the welcome center.
Lookout portal behind and under the falls.
Out on the observation deck.

Check out the VIDEO below.

We had a full day of activities planned so we strapped on the backpack from Matein (“affiliate link”) which has USB connectivity and paired it with our new charger from PowerBank (“affiliate link”), (great for charging your devices when you’re out all day.) We walked cross the Rainbow Bridge to the USA to check out the American Falls. After a quick immigration and passport check, we continued on. The Canadian side is much nicer than the American side, more lodging, amenities and fun things to do. The American falls however affords you the opportunity to get really close as we discovered later towards the end of our trip.

International boundary line.
Rainbow Bridge, Canada to the left, USA to the right.
Observation deck from below.
Observation deck.

Niagara is more than just the Falls. The area of town closest to the Falls has quite a few attractions, gift shops, casino, restaurants and bars and all within walking distance from our hotel. There’s also an amusement park which is great for families with kids. The old Niagara city on the American side has seen better days when there were lots of hotels and casinos but is now a mere shell of it’s former self.

You can zip line along the Falls but it was a little expensive, ($50.00 for about a one minute ride.)

There are plenty of attractions for families with kids.

Niagara at night.

Skylon Tower.
The Falls are illuminated at night.
Downtown Niagara.

The days are going by so fast, we’ve had a blast. Looking at the water every day, the sound and the power were just hypnotic. I’ve dreamed of coming to this place for a long time and it didn’t disappoint. So glad I was able to share it with Trudy. Today is check out day from our hotel so having experienced a taste of the American side, we decided to explore it a bit more. We drove across the border this time and headed to Niagara Falls State Park which is the oldest state park in the US.

Sunrise over the Falls.
American Falls up close.

The condition of Niagara Falls state park was a far cry from what we saw on the Canadian side. It looked a bit run down but there seemed to be some renovations going on which was encouraging for the future. Canada on the other hand was very clean, lots of flowers and well kept gardens.

Relax and enjoy the splendor of Queen Victoria Park with its beautifully manicured flower gardens. Established in 1885, this park is the centerpiece the Niagara recreational area.

American Falls with Horseshoe Falls (Canada) in the background.
Pathways to viewing platforms.

There are boat tours that take you up close to the Falls. The “Maid of the Mist” operates from the American side and costs US$ 22.25 for adults, kids six to twelve years $13.00, elevator ride included. The Canadian Hornblower boats are CAD$ 30.50, kids five to twelve, $20.50, this includes the funicular ride down to the dock.

Canadian Hornblower, red rain coats, US Maid of the Mist in blue.
American Falls with observation deck in the background.
View from Niagara state park.

Niagara Falls was always seen as the quintessential honeymoon destination but it’s much more than that. There’s a lot more to do than you realize and the city of Toronto is not too far away which makes for a nice side trip, time permitting. Now this is just our opinion, but if you do take a trip here, I suggest going to the American side first and finishing up on the Canadian side which is so much nicer and has lots more to do.