Take the plunge into American Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls, one of nature's most impressive waterways, is located along the border of Ontario and New York. The US city of Niagara Falls in New York State provides the gateway to more than just a natural wonder: the first major hydroelectric power plant was built at Niagara Falls by inventor Nikola Tesla. But whether you're after mist-laden boat rides along the rapids of Niagara Falls State Park, picnicking in Hyde Park or throwing some dice at the resort casinos, Niagara Falls US has it covered.
What to do
Maid of the Mist Boat Tour
Beginning and ending in the calmer waters on the American side of the falls, the Maid of the Mist boats currently provide one of the most popular attractions in town. Originally established as a ferry to bring people between the two countries, they now exclusively exist to bring visitors within spraying distance of the crashing, 600,000 gallon water jets. Traveling right into the heart of the most famous part, the Horseshoe Falls, visitors can glide right under the 170 foot-tall water flow on the Canadian side of Niagara. Some will also combine walking tours with the boat tour.
Prospect Point Park Observation Tower
The Observation Tower gives the best available views from the US side of Niagara. Jutting out over the American Falls at a dizzying height of 282 feet, the observation tower has impressive panoramas to its name and offers prime bird-watching opportunities for graceful predators like bald eagles and peregrine falcons. Go the extra few steps up from the base of the falls to the Crow's nest to really feel part of the action.
Cave of the Winds
Feel like getting as close as 20 feet from the falls? Located just underneath the Bridal Veil Falls within Niagara Falls State Park, descend with a ride in a glass elevator down 175 feet and don a rain poncho to walk out to the Hurricane Deck and enjoy the deluge from close quarters. The Bridal Veil Falls are located just to the south of the American Falls, divided from the others by Goat Island and Luna Island, with a scattering of boulders across the base.
Don't forget to check out the falls at night time if you're here over the weekend: the ever-cascading sheets of water are lit up with rainbow lights and fireworks on Fridays and Sundays during the summer, as well as special holiday shows.
Where to stay
Most Niagara Falls hotels are situated right on the waterfront of Robert Moses Parkway, with quite a few doubling as resort casinos like Seneca Niagara Resort and Casino and the aptly-named Howard Johnson Closest to the Falls commanding front-row views of Goat Island. This is also where major eateries like Hard Rock Café Niagara Falls and several classic New York pizzerias are located.
You'll also find a selection to the east, with recognizable names like Hampton Inn and Suites and Best Western providing quick access to Niagara Falls International Airport (IAG) and the sizeable mall Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls. This area is also good for golf fans, as it's just south of Hyde Park and its river-threaded golf course.
Best time to visit
Between May and October is the recommended time to visit Niagara Falls. The weather during the winter can be too cold to enjoy some of the features that remain open. The Cave of Winds and the Maid of the Mist Boat Tour are not offered during this period. To free yourself from limits, visit between May and October, when temperatures average around 81 degrees in the daytime.
* Prices reflect the lowest "base rate" found over the next 30 days. Rates are subject to change and may not include taxes and fees, hotel service charges, extra person charges, or incidentals, such as room service. All rates are displayed in USD unless otherwise noted. Converted rates are provided for your convenience. They are based on today's exchange rate, but the hotel will charge you in the local currency.