After driving 7 hours from Long Island to the Border of the U.S.A and Canada, we could not wait to see the falls. We had an early check-in at the Holiday Inn By the Falls, so once we unpacked the car we were ready to explore. Our hotel was in the best location. We were right across the street from the famous Skylon Tower; 100 feet from our hotel was the bridge leading to the Casino and we could see the falls. And just a short walk down the hill, we were standing on the fallsview sidewalk to see the falls. It was a very pedestrian friendly place.
This is a guide to the place that we visited:
The Holiday Inn By the Falls: This hotel had 2 pools – one outdoor and one indoor, with a hot tub and a sauna, which my kids enjoyed on two occasions after our adventures about town. Towels were always available; you place wet ones in a pail and could get dry ones as many times as desired. Vouchers for children under the age of 10 to eat free with a purchase of an adult meal, were given to us at check-in to be used at any meal. We took advantage of this a few times for breakfast and dinner during our 3 night stay. A parking voucher was also provided to place in the windshield of your car for as long as your stay. Our family of 5 fit comfortable in a room with 2 queen beds. We had no complaints about our stay in this reasonably priced hotel and we were pleased with our location.
TIP FOR SAVINGS: Look for the free coupon Book of Attractions for Niagara which includes great deals for numerous attractions.
The Skylon Tower: My 4 1/2 year old was begging to go to the top of the this tower from the moment we got to Canada! We decided to do this at night. The views were amazing from 520 feet up on the observation deck. We took the elevator, but there are 662 steps from the base to the top. There is a restaurant you can eat at while viewing the Niagara area, which we did not do. There is a fee to only ride to the top or you can purchase a combo ticket which includes a 3D/4D movie of the Legend of the falls and the ride to the top of the tower. We chose the latter and it was not worth it. The seats in the theater jerked you around and water was sprayed a few times during the movie as a special effect. The jerking seats were an unwanted surprise and were quite hurtful. We did not enjoy the movie and do not recommend that you waste your money one it. Warning: there is a game room on the way to the elevator that is very inviting for the kids. Pricing: TIP: Look for the $2 coupon good for up to 6 people in the Free Coupon Book of Attractions for Niagara.
Just the ride to the top observation deck: Adults: $11.99 + tax, children 12 & under $6.99 + tax
Just the 3D/4D Legends Movie: Adults $9.99 + tax, children 12 & under $5.99 + tax
1/2 Off Special – Ride to the top and 1/2 off movie combo: Adults $16.98 + tax, children 12 & under $9.98 + tax.
The Falls Incline Railway: This one minute trip from the Fallsview Hotel Casino area above to the Table Rock observation area below, across from the Horseshoe Falls. It is a convenient one way trip, but it is the slowest incline railway in the world. We all enjoyed this slow ride which gave us a great view of the Falls. I remembered riding this when I was a kid visiting Niagara Falls with my family! PRICING: One way tickets for this ride are very affordable at a rate of $2.50 for each rider ages 6 and up.
The Fallsview Indoor Water Park: Fantastic day of splashing fun. We really enjoyed our day here ( we spent 7 hours in this water park). Comfortable temperature inside, fun for all ages, decently priced food concession, very clean facility. Day passes are available to buy tickets in advance on their website for savings. Stay and Play Combo packages are available in 4 Hotels: Sheraton on the Falls Hotel, Crown Plaza Niagara Falls – Fallsview, Skyline Inn, Hampton Inn at the Falls, which are all connected to this indoor water park. Check their website for more information and read our review here.
The Elements by the Falls Restaurant: A great view of the falls from indoors. Located across from the Horseshoe Falls. We were really hungry from our long ride and the walking around we did, so there really wasn’t time to search around with the kids. There was a kids menu available. My husband and I just had burgers. Be prepared for the bill: this was $$$$$ for lunch. For a romantic dinner for 2 it would have been a great place to dine.
Denny’s Restaurant: (for breakfast) You know what you are going to get at a Denny’s. We all had a good meal for an affordable price $$. no complaints here.
Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Restaurant: (for dinner) This was a fun place, music playing, indoor/outdoor seating available and there was a man on stilts making balloon creations for anyone for entertainment. My kids did not like their choices for dinner – so they did not eat, which was frustrating since we have to pay for it whether they eat or not! Be prepared for the bill: this was $$$$$ for dinner.
On certain night there is a free fireworks display at 10pm right over the American Falls. We were able to view it on Sunday night in August. It was a great 10 minute show for the kids on our first night in Niagara. Firework shows vary on different nights at different times of the year.
* We did not pack the right clothing. Even though we visited in late August, it was quite windy during the day and colder in the evening, which was not really short sleeved shirts and shorts weather. We suggest you pack some warm clothes like a sweatshirt/light jacket and pants. Luckily I packed 1 long sleeved shirt and a pair of pants for each of my kids but I had to buy a sweatshirt because I was not prepared. We had 2 bathing suits each for the hotel pool and the water park. We suggest water shoes or flip flops for the pool areas, and sneakers or comfortable footwear for lots of walking during site seeing.
IDENTIFICATION: Passports or original birth certificates and a driver’s license are sufficient forms of identification to cross the border from the U.S.A. to Canada and back. We spent a whole day back on the NY side of the Falls and had to go through customs to enter each way that day. All 5 members of my family have our own passports and we crossed without problems each time. Check the website for accurate information on crossing the border.
There were many tourist attractions and game areas which we just did not have time to explore in our short time in the Niagara area on the Canadian side of the falls. There is a lot to do and many hotels to choose from, so do some research before your trip and have a plan so you are not overwhelmed with all the fun things to do. It is a great family vacation.
This is the second part of the Road Trip Guide to Niagara Falls – click here to read the first part.