We moved to New York about a year and a half ago, and quickly fell in love with our beautiful and interesting surroundings. I immediately started a “must-see” list, based on recommendations from new friends, and from people who I randomly met and were eager to share their favorite spots. It’s been so fun to work our way through the list, and we’ve discovered so many amazing places along the way. One of the biggest and most famous sites is Niagara Falls, which is truly stunning. No matter how many times we go there, its beauty and power never cease to take my breath away. We love it there, and it draws millions of visitors each year. But did you know that there are SO many other cool things to see and do close by? I’m sharing our own “must-see” list with you here, including two award-winning and nationally ranked parks. All of these sites are within two hours or less of Niagara Falls, and definitely worth the trip!
We’ve traveled to many of these places with young children, and most of them are perfect for families of all ages. The whole area is an awesome destination spot, so if you’re headed this way, here are the Top 10 Places to Visit Near Niagara Falls!
As a side note, some of these places are right over the border into Canada. Make sure you check all the border requirements before traveling, to make sure you have what you need–i.e. passports, birth certificates, etc.
Let’s talk about Niagara Falls first! It’s not the tallest waterfall in the world, but it is the most powerful. The word “awesome” doesn’t even come close to describing its beauty and intensity. There is both a Canadian side and American side, and both provide different viewpoints and experiences. On both sides, there are places to view the falls, take lots of pictures, and soak in the sights. If you want to get a little more adventurous, there are a couple of options.
Taking a ride on the Maid of the Mist is probably one of our family’s favorite things. You get up close and personal to the falls, and I think it’s worth doing at least once! It is seriously cool to have that viewpoint, and to both hear and see the thundering of the falls as they crash into the water. You do wear ponchos, but you may still get a little wet. Plan accordingly!
Cave of the Winds is another option to get a little closer to the falls, but just a warning, you WILL get get. You get to climb up right next to the water, and it is definitely an adventure! I don’t recommend it for small children–the stairs are wet and slippery, and carrying them made me nervous as well. There are several stopping places as you climb, but no matter where you stop, the price is the same. I didn’t think it was worth the cost for my little ones who were too small or too nervous to climb to the top.
On the Canadian side you have both the Skylon Tower and the Niagara Skywheel, which provide spectacular views of the entire falls. They also have the Hornblower, which is the Canadian version of Maid of the Mist.
While you’re in the Niagara area, a visit to the Silo Restaurant in Lewiston is a must! It has fabulous food, yummy ice cream, and an unbeatable view, since it literally sits right on the Niagara River. There’s also a boardwalk, porch swings that overlook the river, and plenty of room for kids to run and play. We LOVE it there!