The Niagara Falls are something that really has to be seen to be believed. It’s beautiful, it’s big, and it’s bold. However, if you plan to visit the Niagara Falls, you have a very distinct choice to make. Should you visit the Canadian side of the Falls, located in Ontario, Canada, or should you visit the American side, located in New York State? Despite what you may have been led to believe, the Falls are not actually a national park, so you may find them more commercialized than you would expect. That said, you do have options available to you, so let’s take a look at which side of the Falls is best for you.
It’s Located in a State Park
Although the Niagara Falls aren’t part of a national park, the US side of the Falls is located in a state park. What this means is that it hasn’t been overdeveloped or commercialized, and you’ll be able to enjoy them in their natural setting. To reach the Falls, you’ll need to walk through trees and meandering paths, and once you reach them you will be amazed by the powerful landscape. The US side of the Falls is also cleaner with less garbage.
Although it’s technically free to see the Falls on both sides, you’ll find that a lot of the same tour companies operate in both Canada and the United States. It’s usually cheaper to take advantage of these tours from the United States. On top of this, parking is also cheaper – it’s $10 in the US compared to $20 in Canada. The walk from the car park to the Falls is also usually shorter from the US side, due to it being a lot quieter.
You Can Enjoy a Full Day Out
Although you can enjoy the Falls from both sides, and take the Maid of the Mist tour from both sides as well, if you want to experience them from as many angles as possible, the American side has the edge. Visitors to the US side of the Falls will be able to take a walk down the boardwalk, that has literally been built below the falls. They will then get to enjoy the observation tour, which looks out over the Falls themselves. And, visitors to the US side can also check out the interactive activities, including a movie theater.
It’s Ideal for Walkers
In addition to the walk to the Falls, visitors on the US side of the Falls can also take advantage of the other walking trails in the state park. The park has a lot to offer, so it’s worth making a full day of it and exploring as much as possible after you have visited the Falls.
It’s More Commercialized
It can be a bit of a shock as you drive through the sparse landscape of Ontario before happening upon a busy street lined with chain stores and restaurants on the Canadian side of the Falls. However, although the Falls are more commercialized in Canada, a lot of people do seem to prefer it. It’s possible to buy anything you could imagine here, including souvenirs, tours, and food.
The Views Are More Spectacular… Arguably
If you’re purely visiting Niagara to see the waterfalls, you’ll want to do it from the Canadian side. The Canadian side offers a long, clean view of the Falls, and it somehow looks more majestic when you can see everything at once.
The Walk is Easier
If you are traveling with young children, the elderly, or anyone with a disability, the Canadian side is the best option. The path to the Falls is paved, making navigating with wheelchairs and strollers much easier than on the US side. The sidewalk is also wide so it is able to accommodate the crowds, and you can reach the Falls easily with little effort.
There’s More to Do
If you’re visiting the Falls as part of a family vacation, the Canadian side is the place to be. There are tons of attractions including a casino, a water park, a marine park, and Hershey’s Chocolate World. There are also a lot of hotels here, as well as restaurants, bars and clubs. The US side of the falls is arguably more picturesque, but it’s not ideal for people who will be spending more than a couple of days in the area.
The side of the Niagara Falls that is best for you will depend on what you are looking for, who you are traveling with, and how long you want to stay. Hopefully this guide has helped you come to a decision.