On the American side, much of the action takes place in Niagara Falls State Park. There you’ll find many great viewing points from which to take in the falls. Start out at the Discovery Center to learn more about the falls and continue to plan you day from there. You have the option of taking hikes and walks, both guided or on your own, throughout the park. Venture out to Goat Island, at the southern tip of the park, to check out the vistas and to walk through this delightful wooded area. From there, you can descend 175 feet (via an elevator) to the Cave of the Winds to feel the stormy force of the Niagara Gorge.
Before you leave, bow down to the Nikola Tesla Monument. It’s in honor of the man that put electricity in all of our households. Where would we be without it? There’d be far too many candles to light and how would we charge our devices?
Also within the park, you can board the Maid of the Mist for a boat tour that has been offering the quintessential Niagara Falls experience since 1846.
Much of what you can take in in Niagara Falls State Park is free, however, there is an admission for the special attractions such as the Maid of the Mist, the scenic trolley within the park and more. Buy the USA Niagara Falls Discovery Pass to receive as much as 35% off on featured sites as well as on other local attractions outside of the park.
After all that sightseeing, you might want to settle into a tasty meal at the ever-popular Hard Rock Café, a fun establishment on the fringes of the park. From there you can practically hop on the Discover Niagara Shuttle. Do it just for the heck of it–it’s a great way to tour around town. Plus, it’s free.
If you want to stay more in nature, venture on to one of the many trails that make up the Niagara Gorge Trail System. You can scope them out on your Discovery Map. And remember to never hike alone.
In addition to so much natural beauty, there’s an abundance of history in these parts. Immerse yourself in a couple of centuries worth at Old Fort Niagara, the oldest continuously operated military site in America. Opened as a public site and museum in 1934, it’s a bastion of history for the Revolutionary War. Expect to see a few redcoats.
Speaking of history, make sure you check out historic Lewiston, New York, a charming little town filled with beautiful old homes and two bakeries of note:The Village Bake Shoppe and Dicamillo Bakery. They’ll give you just the boost for exploring neighboring shops and more eateries.
The Erie Canal reached Lockport in 1824. The locks were complete in 1825 and in 1829 Lockport was established as a village. It’s now a small town and the main attraction remains the Erie Canal and its locks. Lockport Locks & Erie Canal Cruises offers many opportunities for experiencing the history of this renowned canal and its marvels.
Tack on some extra days to your Niagara Falls trip to take in The Tonawandas. Located at the conjuncture of the Erie Canal and the Niagara River, The Tonawandas were home to many of the workers that built and operated the canal as well as many of those that worked at the lumberyards along the Niagara River. Today they serve as a wonderful spot for boaters. You’ll find lots of marinas here and if you don’t have your own boat you can hook yourself up with a cruise along the canal.
In The Tonawandas as well as in and around Niagara, New York, there’s always lots of doings. So be sure to check with the Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce and Welcome Center before and during your stay.
There you will also find out about the many different lodging options in and around Niagara Falls, NY. From Airbnb to B & Bs to inns to large hotels, including the Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel run by the Seneca people, the selection is vast.
The food and wine scene in the area won’t disappoint either. Plan an extra day to visit the wineries along the Niagara Wine Trail where the tasting, shopping and sightseeing is a lot of fun.