For this Niagara Falls itinerary, base yourself on the Canadian side of the border. The Fallsview Casino Resort and Marriott Niagara Falls Fallsview Hotel & Spa both offer excellent views and are close to all the major attractions.

mist rising to the sky from Niagara Falls

Aerial view of the falls in Ontario. Photo © CPQNN/iStock.

Day 1

Purchase an Adventure Pass at the Ontario Parks Welcome Centre near the base of Clifton Hill. The clerk will ask if you’d like to reserve ticket times for Journey Behind the Falls, Niagara’s Fury, and the White Water Walk. Add two hours to the current time to come up with your reservation time for Journey Behind the Falls. Reserve Niagara’s Fury for one hour after that. Do not reserve a time for the White Water Walk.

Walk one block to Hornblower Niagara Cruises, and hop on a boat for an up close (and saturated) look at the falls. Afterward, walk south along the rim of the gorge, enjoying the excellent vista of the U.S. side of the border. In the front atrium of Table Rock Welcome Centre, you’ll find the entrance for Journey Behind the Falls. Explore the falls from a tunnel dug through the gorge, emerging in time to catch Niagara’s Fury, located on the second floor of the Welcome Centre.

Relax and enjoy the view from the brink of Horseshoe Falls, located at the rear of the Welcome Centre. For lunch, treat yourself to a meal at Elements on the Falls for casual fine dining with an incomparable view.

Spend a leisurely afternoon exploring Queen Victoria Park, across from the Welcome Centre. Within walking distance are the Dufferin Islands, the Floral Showhouse, and many beautiful gardens.

Hop on a green-line WEGO bus (included in the Adventure Pass) headed north along the gorge. Get off at the White Water Walk, where you can spend an hour strolling close to the river’s rapids. Get on another green-line bus and head farther north, stopping at the Whirlpool Aero Car. From the viewing area, you’ll have a chance to observe the dangerous and breathtaking whirlpool.

After returning to your hotel for a rest, it’s time for dinner. Try the Grand Buffet at the Fallsview Casino Resort for exceptional value and a great view of the falls. After dinner, try your luck at the casino tables, or head to Queen Victoria Park for the nightly illumination of the falls. Enjoy the beauty of the lights projected on the falls and fireworks over the falls on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday evenings in the summer.

Day 2

Start early! Explore the U.S. side of Niagara with a trip aboard the Niagara Adventure Jets in Lewiston. Afterward, head south along the gorge and stop by the Niagara Power Vista. Take the brief drive to the bottom of the Power Vista to the fishermen’s platform and see anglers catching huge trout and salmon. Next, continue south along the gorge to Whirlpool State Park, a perfect 30-minute stop for a brief walk to an excellent view of the swirling waters of the Niagara River whirlpool.

Enter Niagara Falls State Park and head to Goat Island. Here, you will find many opportunities to experience the majesty of Niagara up close. Start at the Cave of the Winds, which takes you beneath Bridal Veil Falls. Next, head to Luna Island, which will let you get as close to the brink of Niagara as possible. On the far shore of Goat Island, Terrapin Point is next. This is the best spot in the park for a view of the brink of Horseshoe Falls. Finally, walk along the south shore to Three Sisters Islands, which jut out into the upper rapids of the Niagara River.

If you’re looking for a quick lunch, try the Misty Dog Grill, or if you have time, take the 10-minute drive to Little Italy and go to the Como Restaurant for an authentic Italian lunch. Return to the Canadian side via the Rainbow Bridge and rest before dinner.

Head north to St. Davids for dinner at the Ravine Winery Restaurant. After dinner, go to the Skylon Tower and watch the sunset from the observation deck, 52 stories above the falls. Take a walk down Clifton Hill for some kitschy entertainment. Take an evening ride on the Niagara SkyWheel.


Excerpted from the Second Edition of Moon Niagara Falls.