Niagara Falls has been attracting tourists for decades. It is a is a favorite destination for honeymooners and families because there are many attractions at the falls that are inexpensive or free. This article provides insider tips about the best places to catch the views that have made the Niagara River and her many falls an iconic tourist destination. And the best part, just about all of these attractions are free.
Here are a few highlights to look out for along the way:
Grand Island Bridge (Starting point)
The journey starts at the Grand Island Bridge
Goat Island (mile 5)
Goat Island sits between the American and Canadian falls and it is actually a group of islands. Park here and walk to Terrapin Point, Luna Island and Three Sisters Islands. Terrapin Point is the observation area for the Canadian (Horseshoe) Falls. It is situated on the western side of Goat Island and gives an excellent view and sound of the waters rushing over the brink.
Prospect Point Observation Tower (mile 7)
Prospect Point, is the American Falls viewing area. The best part of this area is the Observation Tower that takes you down to the bottom of the falls ($1) for a nice wet nature walk and for boarding the Maid of the Mist. Hint: It is better to ride the boat before you take your hike, as you’ll have a rain slicker to partially keep you dry.
Clifton Hill and Queen Victoria Park (mile 9)
The floral gardens are pretty over on the Canadian side at Queen Victoria Park by the Horseshoe Falls and the walk is pleasant. There seems to be less mist blowing in your face there as well. It is especially nice to be there when the lights go on after dark to see the color display on both falls. The entrance to Journey Behind the Falls is also there, if you decide you want to try it.
Whirlpool Rapids (mile 12)
Whirlpool Rapids is a few miles further along and you can board the Spanish Aerocar.
Niagara Glen Park (mile 14)
Niagara Glen Park. Here you can hike down to the river and see the rapids. The trails down are shady and not too steep, so it makes for a pleasant walk in the park down to the river. You might even see some of the white water jet boats go whizzing by.
Floral Clock (mile 16)
The Sir Adam Beck Power Station is a few more miles down River Road. You can take a tour of the plant for a fee, but the real reason to visit here is the wonderful flower display on the grounds during the spring and summer, featuring the huge Floral Clock.
Fort Niagara (mile 32)
Cross back to New York on the Queenston/Lewiston Bridge and go down the escarpment and out to the mouth of the Niagara on Lake Ontario. There you will find Fort Niagara, one of only a few forts that was occupied by the French, the British and the Americans in succession. It is a neat old stone fort with a storied history and a good way to end your tour of the Niagara Frontier.
Prospect Point, the 'Maid of The Mist' and tourists
in their blue rain ponchos at the base of the American Falls
show three of the best ways to see Niagara Falls.
Photo by Jim Collins