Fully Experiencing Niagara: Above, Below, and Behind the Falls

I was an adult the first time I went to Niagara Falls, which meant I had decades to build up anticipation about this famous landmark. My expectations were high, so I wanted to make sure I got the full Niagara Falls experience. It’s safe to say I did so, as I viewed the falls from the parks above them, a boat below them, and a tunnel behind them. Each of these views provided an entirely different experience, and I’m glad I was able to do all three.

 

Above the Falls – The Best Price

The most popular way to view Niagara Falls is from the land that’s level with the top of the falls. On the US side, this is Niagara Falls State Park. The park is a nice one to explore, but views of the falls themselves are limited from here. However, you can view the Niagara River above the falls and see the water dropping off when it reaches the cliff, which makes for a unique perspective.  The falls can more clearly be seen from Queen Victoria Park on the Canadian side of the border. At night, they are even lit up in different colors, providing yet another variation on viewing the massive waterfall.

 

Below the Falls – The Best Views

After exploring Niagara Falls State Park, it was time for me to take a boat ride out into the Niagara River to view the falls from below. This provided the best views of the falls by far. Though the mist from the splashing water blocks much of the view from farther away, the boat goes into the fog, meaning that less fog obscures the view. There was enough mist in the air that I could actually feel the falls, but not so much that it damaged my camera when I took it out for a few shots. The mist also caused giant rainbows over the river that show up clearly in pictures. As the boat neared the Horseshoe Falls, which form a semicircle, it truly felt like I was surrounded by the rushing water. Though I would recommend all three Niagara experiences, the boat tour was my favorite. If time or budget constraints prevent you from seeing the falls in multiple ways, I would recommend taking the boat ride.

 

Behind the Falls – The Most Excitement

Perhaps access to the tunnels that lie behind the falls on the Canadian side is a way to get money from tourists, but at least the experience provided is a good one. I fully enjoyed looking through the windows cut out of the stone and seeing only the rushing water outside. I will, however, say that I did start feeling a little bit claustrophobic and didn’t stay long in the tunnel. I much preferred the other viewpoint included in this experience. An overlook is located near the edge of the Horseshoe Falls. From here, I could stand quite close to the falls and saw the force with which all of that water was rushing. Though there are often places to view falls from the top or bottom, how often can you stand right next to them?

 

Niagara Falls gets a lot of hype, so I wasn’t sure if it would live up to its reputation. Any one of these experiences would have convinced me that Niagara Falls deserve their fame, but the triad of experiences combined made me feel like I had fully accomplished my goal to experience this destination.

 

 

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