I finally made it to the “Honeymoon Capital of the World,” just not for my honeymoon. My friend and I commenced our end of summer roadtrip this weekend, and the first stop was Niagara Falls. Our first sight of the falls was on the American side, where we paid $10 to park and get up close to the edge of the river to see the rapids created by the rushing 35mph water — before it then spills over the end of the tablerock, creating the, relatively, straight waterfall called the American Falls. From this side, you can also access Goat Island, the land mass that separates the American Falls from Horseshoe Falls in Canada. We didn’t stay in America because there’s really not much to do there, and the better hotels are across the river. Plus, it’s nice to have the customs wait out of the way.
Having crossed over Rainbow Bridge with ease, even with my dog (by the way, all you need is a valid rabies certificate to travel with your pet across the border), we first stopped at our hotel for a breather after the long car ride. Even before we got to the hotel, though, I could tell that this was going to be both a tacky and expensive experience – which tends to be the case whenever a casino is around. The businesses in Niagara Falls have figured out a way to charge you for everything – even Starbucks charged $0.45 CAN for a cup of water. The restaurant selection is limited, for the most part, to major chain casual dining: Margaritaville, The Keg, TGI Fridays, Applebees, Outback Steakhouse, etc. I will say that if I had known, I would have made a reservation at The Keg because they have a nice 9th floor view of Horseshoe Falls.
Of all the attractions available to tourists to break your travel budget – Maid of the Mist, Cave of the Winds, etc. – we selected to go up to the top of Skylon Tower at night, mostly because I didn’t want to get soaking wet. Mistakenly, I thought it was right night for the summer fireworks show, but I was off by a day (Fridays and Sundays at 10pm). No matter because we still got some great photos of the falls lit up in the changing colors.
Oftentimes after visiting a place, I look back and think of what I would have done differently. I think the primary change I would make would be that I would not have stayed in Niagara Falls itself. The hotels are very overpriced for what you are getting and the quality activity options are limited. I have heard that Niagara-on-the-Lake is supposed to be nice, and nestled in wine country. We drove along the QEW towards Toronto yesterday and couldn’t even count the number of wineries, breweries, distilleries, etc. that one could opt to tour. Maybe next time….