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Deafening sound of milky water gushing down with mighty force, drenching us in the mist as the boat moves closer. A glittery rainbow appears against the sun, birds flocking in the backdrop, dipping themselves into the water to catch fishes. Still remember the jaw-dropping sight. Vivid memories from our trip to Niagara Falls are still fresh in my mind!
If you are planning a trip to the East Coast, USA, there are few locations that you can’t afford to miss. Niagara Falls is one of them. Spanning between the border of USA (New York) & Canada (Ontario), Niagara Falls is a group of 3 falls which collectively creates breathtaking visuals.
This blog will help you plan a perfect one-day family trip to Niagara Falls, USA. The question is How many days you need to explore Niagara Falls?
In my experience, it’s better to have 2-3 days in hand, not only to enjoy the best attractions but also other interesting places like hikes, trails, museums, etc. As much as we want, it’s not always possible to lavishly spend time at every place. Here, I have included the best attractions of Niagara Falls that can be covered in a day.
Did you know there is a time zone difference between the East Coast & West Coast?
During our trip to the USA, San Francisco was our base. Journey to the East coast was long, including flight change at Chicago, even difference in time zone. Eastern Time Zone (East coast) is 3 hours ahead of Pacific Time Zone (West Coast). Along with this one day trip Niagara Falls, we spent 5 days in New York City.
1-day itinerary to Niagara Falls, USA
We landed at Buffalo, USA (the nearest airport to Niagara Falls) early in the morning and headed straight to our Hotel. It was an overnight journey, but the excitement kept us going. After a bit of refreshing nap & breakfast, we headed straight to Niagara Falls. Niagara Falls is 27 km away from Buffalo and it took us 30 mins to reach the Niagara falls. Once we reached the Niagara Falls state park USA, we headed straight for the Maid of the mist boat ride, the signature boat tour.
Maid of the Mist, Niagara Falls
Timings: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (weekends till 6.00p.m)
Entrance Fee: Adult: $22.25
Child (6–12 years): $13.00
Children under 5: free
Required time: around 1 hour (including the wait time)
Tickets available: Visitor Center
Maid of the Mist boat tour is the most popular attraction at Niagara Falls. An elevator takes you down to the boarding point, where raincoats are given. Wait time was not much and our turn came quickly. After boarding the boat, we climbed up to get the best view. During15-20-minute ride, the boat crossed past the gigantic American falls, moving closer to the Horseshoe Falls. The mist from the fall drenched our faces. During the boat ride, we could spot a rainbow over the American falls, which was a unique experience.
Entry fee: you don’t need to pay an additional fee if you buy Maid of the mist tickets.
Timings: 10 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. (might vary as per days and seasons)
Next stop was the observation tower, you can find it right at the top floor where the elevator stops. The 230-feet lookout point seems hanging in the air, provides a magnificent view of the American & Horseshoe falls (From the USA side). Spend some time here and click perfect misty pictures of the falls.
Another spot to enjoy a closer look at the falls. From the prospect point, we could see the top view of the falls and stand right near the point from where water cascades down. Surrounded by the lush green trees and grass, the prospect point also provides a mesmerizing view of Ontario Skyline.
Lunch at Top of the fall restaurant (and explore the Goat Island along)
Enjoy your lunch along with the magnificent view of the falls at “the top of the fall restaurant”, at the Goats island, Niagara Falls state park. The restaurant offers modern American cuisine and classic dishes. Goat Island is located on Niagara Falls between the Bridal Veil Falls and the Horseshoe Falls, offers scenic vistas .take the opportunity to look around and enjoy the panoramic view. However, if you don’t want to take the trouble, There are many other eating joints in the state park as well as very close by. We enjoyed our lunch at an Indian restaurant, located right on the main road outside the park.
The Niagara Gorge Discovery Center
Entry fee: Adult: $3
Timings: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Time required: 1 hour (approx.)
If you are traveling with young explorers, it’s a good idea to visit the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center, to make their curious minds learn about the history of Niagara Falls. At the center, one can learn about the ancient rock layers, local minerals, fossils and much more. Interactive displays along with180-degree multi-screen theatre depicts the story of gorge formation over a course of 12,000 years.
Aquarium of Niagara
Entry Fee: Adults (Ages 13+): $14.95
Senior (60+): $12.95
Child. (Age 3-12): $10.95
Timings: 9.00 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Time required: 30 mins – 45 mins
Situated near Discovery Center, Aquarium of Niagara is home to 1500 species including sharks, piranha, California sea lions, and the endangered Peruvian penguin. It’s a small aquarium, but well maintained and good enough to keep the kids engaged. You can also enjoy the shows depending on the time available.
Niagara Falls state park
Return to Niagara Falls state park, enjoy your coffee and snacks under the lush green trees and green stretches of grass. Spending some peaceful time here is a relaxing experience. If you have energy and are up for some more activities, visit Niagara Falls gift shop at the state park and pick up souvenirs for friends and family. We picked up some pretty fridge magnets and mugs from the shop.
You can also hop into Niagara scenic trolley to enjoy 3 miles,30-minute guided overview of the park. Explore many attractions at the park.
Witness the lights at the Niagara Falls
As the sun sets, the fall turns into something magical and mystic with colorful lights. What could be a better way of wrapping up the day, then experiencing this magical transformation of milky waterfall into an illuminated colorful masterpiece?
There are many other interesting places to visit in and around Niagara Falls. Check out my next blog for a complete guide to Niagara Falls. Have you been to Niagara Falls? Which was your favorite activity? Do share in the comment section
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