When to go and how to visit them, however, can make the difference between “tourist” and “traveller”. You can even enjoy it in just one day and with a few pennies this magnificence, Canada’s revenge on the United States. For once, the USA is the poor nation and Canada reigns. Nature gave him a wide-angle view of the majestic waterfalls that overlook the border between the two countries and the Canadian commercial bet on tourism meant that most of the attractions were on their side of the Niagara River. Let’s learn how to dive into the Niagara Falls, when and what to do to get the most out of them without falling into their many tourist traps.
Niagara Falls when to go to experience them at their best
An important element that distinguishes tourists from travellers is that the latter try to visit a place at the best time, away from the high season, just because the latter is more expensive and full of people that prevents the full enjoyment of the attraction.
However, it is also necessary to deal sometimes with the intrinsic seasonality of some attractions, for example, the climate or the days of opening. In this case, no one ever closes the Niagara Falls, when to go depends, therefore, more on the climate is the crowd.
July and August, unfortunately (because you often have holidays at that time) are one of the hottest moments of absolute is crowded at the Niagara Falls. When to go to have very nice weather, however, open attractions and certainly fewer people are the months of June and September.
If you are not afraid of a bit of breeze and want to see them without too many Japanese around that prevent you from taking pictures without their heads in between, are perfect April and October. At the beginning of the latter, you will also be greeted by the colours of autumn along the Niagara George.
During the winter months, many attractions are closed because of the ice, as well as some scenic areas. the waterfalls may appear icy (the water continues to flow inside) and so the setting has its charm anyway… particular. Obviously, during Thanksgiving and the Christmas holidays, there is a lot, a lot of crowds.
Niagara Falls when going is not the only important thing …
The Canadian side of the Niagara River is the best part to walk next to a breathtaking view and to take photos worthy of the cover of a travel magazine. But, on the other side of the coin, the Canadian side is also the area with the most “tourist traps”, sometimes unrelated attractions with the spectacularity of the waterfalls, made to make money for tourists and give them an experience that, very often, they could live anywhere else.
With a bit of caution, however, you can avoid the “amusement park” and focus on the strength, sound, and spectacular evolutions of water vapour, so voluminous as to form different local weather phenomena. It is not uncommon to distinguish a clear rainbow next to the “American Falls”. Similarly, clouds formed by sketches of the “Horseshoe Falls”, the largest and most powerful of the three, are frequent. And you can even touch the energetic flow of the smallest, but no less spectacular, “Bride Veil Falls”.
A wonderful, fascinating and poetic place, yet chaotic. You can imagine how much such a spectacular area can be crowded during the peak season of a country always at the top of the tourist charts for both incoming and outgoing.
Niagara Falls when going to one attraction rather than another
But can you stay off the beaten track, enjoy the waterfalls, the rapids and that little bit of nature that still surrounds it? It’s not necessary to do them all. Some, although not obvious, do not directly concern the waterfalls, which are often not even visible from the places where these activities take place.
Every trip to be perfect must be personalized, that’s our philosophy. So I recommend that you read blogs, forums and reviews well before preparing your itinerary. Remember that the Niagara Falls are a tourist destination and therefore promoted by specialists in marketing, mainly interested in your wallet.
As a mere example, however, I will tell you what I would do if I had only one day to visit the Niagara Falls.
First of all, you can do it from both sides, the Canadian side is the U.S. one, with its pros and cons. The American side is more natural, it has a lot of green and allows you to walk next to the rapids of the main waterfall. The other, as we said, has the best view, and numerous attractions more or less adrenaline.
I would stay on the Canadian side because it offers many more possibilities, hotels with views, but also great B & Bs at reasonable prices and that allow you to reach the waterfalls on foot (parking is very expensive).
I would leave early in the morning, and as a first thing, I would cross on foot the Rainbow Bridge, a bridge a few hundred meters long that would allow me to cross the border, in an atmosphere more friendly than ever (given for granted the regular possession of visa and passport). The view would take my breath away and I would have the chance to take a few shots before the crowd starts to colour the edges of the Niagara River.
At this point, I would try to be among the first to access the few attractions that I intend to visit and that would require, later, very long lines. One of them is the “Maid of the Mist”, a boat that gets so close to the waterfalls that it completely wets all the passengers and allows them to feel the overwhelming power of the more than 2 million litres per second that come down from a height of more than 50 meters.
Thinking about all the stories of those who have dived into it, often in a barrel, and knowing that some of them have even survived can only give the creeps. Starting with Annie Edison Taylor, a teacher who was the first to do so back in 1901 at the venerable age of 63, locked in a barrel with her lucky pillow, for a mere economic purpose. Not to mention the dozens of other attempts by the most disparate and often ended in tragedy. “But this is another story and it will have to be told again…”
Let’s get back to our itinerary. Completely wet, immediately after my personal “immersion” in the waterfalls, I would get as close as possible to the base of the “American Falls” to hear the sound and power, taking advantage of the exclusive position of the landing, right next to the base of this gigantic wall of water.
As I climb up I would undoubtedly spend a few minutes enjoying and photographing the spectacular rainbow from the passenger terrace, before it is crowded with thousands of daily visitors.
Still a little damp, then, I’d take a long walk, and maybe lunch in the green, on Goat Island. Apart from the first section, which allows a privileged and very close view of the edge of the waterfalls, this area is never too crowded, although it allows you to get close to the rapids of the Niagara River for free, among other things, among the strongest and most bombastic in the world.
After a quick look at Three Sister Island, I’d return by train to Rainbow Bridge, and from there passengers along the Canadian side to appreciate the spectacular views of all three waterfalls, until I reached one of the many restaurants for a signature dinner. I’d probably take a photo of the curious “Upside Down House”.
After dinner, I could enjoy a fairytale atmosphere thanks to the colourful night lighting of the waterfalls and the fireworks. Maybe I’d try, probably with little success, to take some night photos.
I would have spent so only the 50 cents to cross the bridge and the few dollars for the boat ride and dinner, but I would have had a taste of all the facets that offers the magical spectacle of the waterfalls, and in one, very intense day.