Family time at home can be fun, but right about now you’re probably dreaming about a getaway to someplace where you can see and experience new things together. Someplace in a beautiful setting that offers a bit of history, a lot of nature, and enough activities to keep family members of all ages busy and having a good time.
Take a trip to Niagara Falls with the kids and you can have it all. It’s not only a destination with some of the most scenic vistas in North America including the three spectacular waterfalls themselves, but it’s got tons of outdoor recreational opportunities on the water, on land, and even up in the air. There’s also fun to be had indoors and after the sun goes down.
There are actually two cities named Niagara Falls, one on each side of the international border between Canada and the United States. The Canadian side is at the southern edge of the province of Ontario, an easy 72 miles from the provincial capital of Toronto. The American side is on the western edge of the state of New York, about 400 miles from New York City.
Family-friendly accommodations abound on the Canadian side, from full-service resort hotels to bed & breakfasts, motels, and a variety of affordable campgrounds and RV parks. The range of restaurants runs from the Rainforest Café with its bubbling volcano and animatronic animals that the kids will love, to fine dining establishments showcasing farm-to-table specialties and a wide variety of international cuisines.
Here are some of the highlights the whole family will enjoy:
See The Falls Up Close
A don’t-miss is the famous Maid of the Mist tour boat that cruises through the basin of the falls. Getting wet is part of the experience, and you get to keep the cool yellow rain ponchos that are included in the price of admission.
You can see the falls from another perspective with the Niagara Parks Journey Behind The Falls. That’s right. Behind them. An elevator takes you down 150 feet to a series of tunnels that lead you right to the edge of the wall of water thundering down from the top.
To view the falls from on high, you can ride an exciting zipline right over them, take an aerial tour in a helicopter, or ride in an enclosed gondola on the 175-foot Niagara SkyWheel.
Get Out On The Water
For a wild ride, you can take a kayak trip on a fast-moving current. If you want to take it easier, enjoy a lazy afternoon outing on the Niagara River via canoe or river raft. There’s also a huge indoor waterpark with slides and a wave pool that everyone will enjoy.
Bike Through The Countryside
A great way to see the natural beauty of the region is on one of its many cycling trails. Take along a picnic lunch and choose one of the more than 200 trails, catering to riders of every level. Named one of the top ten cycling routes in the world is the Niagara Parkway that runs 36 miles (58 km) along the Canadian side of the Niagara River.
Explore The Trails
If you’re an active group, set out for the Niagara Gorge trails which offer 6.8 miles (11 km) of glorious views. Hike them on your own or take a guided tour through the pristine, old-growth forest of Niagara Glen. If the adults and older kids want a challenge, the Niagara Glen Bouldering Trail is for you.
Visit An Enchanting World of Butterflies
The Butterfly Conservancy features over 2,000 tropical butterflies that float free among exotic plants in a lush rainforest setting. View a short video presentation and then set off on a fully accessible self-guided walking tour through this small world of astonishing beauty.
Go All Out For Fun
Clifton Hill is Niagara Falls’ family-oriented entertainment district with a go-kart racing center, a mini-golf course, a real-time 6D game, a laser shooting range, the Movieland Wax Museum, the silly Upside- Down House, a bowling alley, hundreds of arcade games, and lots of food vendors and restaurants as well as the nearby Hershey’s Chocolate World, a 7000 square foot tribute to everyone’s favorite treat.
Don’t Forget The Adults-Only Nightlife
Take a night for yourselves and head out to one of Niagara Fall’s seven nightclubs, try your luck at one of the gaming casinos, or catch a comedy show or live entertainment with headline stars. This vacation’s for grownups, too.