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Niagara Falls: Awe-inspiring beauty

Niagara Falls is a collection of three water falls; two in America and one straddling in Canadian side is considered as one of the wonder of the world. People around the world comes to visit this magnificent beauty.

We visited American side of the falls. Honestly, this side just gives the glimpse of it’s beauty but Canadian side gives you a complete view of the falls.

Best time to visit: June to August

It was a 3 days trip from New Jersey and we drove up there. In this trip we not only covered Niagara Falls but also some other nearby attractions.

Day 1 Itinerary

Watkins Glen State Park

This park features an amazing series of waterfalls and gorges. There is an almost two-mile hike which takes us to 19 waterfalls and up over 800 stone steps.  It was a 4-hours’ drive from Jersey City. We did gorge trail and spent 3 hours here.

Park Hours: 8:30 AM – 7:00 PM

Park Entrance Fee: Free

The trail is slippery and muddy. Wear comfortable shoes.

Corning Glass Museum

This museum is 30 minutes away from Watkins Glen State Park. It has nearly 50,000 glass objects representing more than 3500 years of history. This museum is a great way to learn about the science and technology behind innovations in glass. They have live demonstrations of making glass objects which was a unique experience. I never knew how they shape glass before.

Cool thing to experience here is that you can make your own glass object under the supervision of experts. Unfortunately, I could not do it because it was sold out, but you can book it in advance.

Hours of operation: 9 am – 5 pm (September 4 – May 23) & 9 am – 8 pm (May 24 – September 2)

Entrance fee: $19.50

For updated schedule and pricing click here.

To book Make your own Glass experience click here.

Day 2 Itinerary

We visited Niagara Falls State Park and did two famous attractions there; Cave of the Winds and Maid of the Mist.

Cave of the Winds

It is a natural cave behind Bridal Veil Falls at the Niagara Falls. The stair walk takes you beneath the falls and gives up-close, wet and very rewarding view of the thunderous, cascading waters. It is the closest you can get to the falls. You get ponchos and slippers included in your ticket. I would say this is a must to do thing in Niagara.

Unfortunately, you cannot book tickets for this online. But if you are going to buy Discovery pass then it is included in the pass.

We were in the line even before ticket office opened and got the time-slot to enter the attraction after 2 hours.

Hours of Operation and fee changes per season so please check it here.

Maid of the Mist

It is a boat tour which takes you to the base of the falls. Trip starts and ends at Niagara Falls State Park in Niagara Falls, NY. We did this around 3:00 PM and got to see beautiful rainbows.

Doing this trip between 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM increases the chance of seeing a rainbow.

You can book tickets for this online, but they are not day or time specific. Ticket includes rain poncho as you get wet.

When we did this trip, it was busy summer time and we were standing in a line for 2 hours. Trip lasted for 20 minutes. They depart ferry every 15 minutes.

After the boat trip you can enter observation tower which gives amazing views of the waterfall.

Hours of Operation and fee changes per season so please check it here.

Niagara Falls Illumination & Fireworks

Every night in summer you can experience spectacular fireworks over Niagara Falls. It happens at 10:00 PM and lasts for 4 minutes. We saw this from Terrapin Point. This is the closest point to the thundering Horseshoe Falls.

To get schedule of fireworks please click here.

For me the best view of Niagara Fall from US side is Terrapin point

Three Sisters Island

There is 1-mile trail from the park to visit this island. It’s an easy and pleasant walk. It gives you closer views of rapids of Niagara River. We spent 40-45 minutes here.

Day 3 Itinerary

Whirlpool Jet boat tours

We started this day with most thrilling experience with ride called Whirlpool Jet ride. It is a level 5 rafting experience. A high-speed jet boat takes you through the Niagara Gorge and the Devil’s Hole rapids, to the edge of the whirlpool and back. It is a 45 minutes ride. This ride does not give you views of the falls but if you like adventures then you would sure love it. I have posted a video below.

You can book it online here.

Eternal Flame falls

It is a small waterfall located in the Shale Creek Preserve, a section of Chestnut Ridge Park in Western New York. A small cave at the waterfall’s base emits natural gas, which can be lit to produce a flame. It is a 45 minutes’ drive from Niagara Falls. It was just over a mile hike and its moderately easy, but path is muddy and slippery. So, wear good shoes and carry stick if you want. There is no fee for parking or entrance.

Letchworth State Park

From Eternal Flame falls to Letchworh was about 1 hour 45 minutes’ drive. This park has beautiful falls and is surrounded by lush forest. It is known as Grand Canyon of the East. It was recently named as best state park of the nation. This place is the best destination for camping, unfortunately we didn’t have time, but we did most of it. I am sure this place would look spectacular with fall colors in autumn.

We spent 2 hours here and saw three water-falls named Lower Falls, Middle falls and Upper falls. Each one has its own beauty. For lower falls there was a small hike and around 187 steps. Middle falls and Upper falls are close to each other.

Park entrance fee is $10, and they don’t accept cards.

For photo gallery, please click here. If you like my writing or have a suggestion then please a comment.

Video of Whirlpool Jet Boat ride