Niagara Falls, one of the great natural wonders of the world, displays in unforgettable fashion the sheer force of Mother Nature. Six million cubic feet of water drop over the precipice every minute, creating so much spray that you'll see the mist long before you see the falls themselves. Maid of the Mist sightseeing boat tours travel right to the base of the thundering Horseshoe Falls and soaks spellbound passengers. More peaceful displays of nature lie all along the river gorge, along Ontario's Niagara Parkway.
Walk in between solid rock face and roaring water on tours such as Journey Behind the Falls on the Canadian side. A red-and-yellow cable car called the Whirlpool Aero Car whisks passengers 3,600 feet above the swirling Niagara Whirlpool. You can get to the whirlpool via water, too, and at breakneck speed on Whirlpool Jet Boat tours. The jet boats careen up the Niagara River to Devil's Hole Rapids and beyond at the bottom of the 200-foot gorge.
The Niagara Parkway, a 35-mile scenic road and bike path, winds from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Niagara Falls, revealing glimpses of Niagara River gorge through breaks in the sugar maples and oaks. On the American side of the river, climb aboard the Scenic Trolley for a relaxed ride through Niagara Falls State Park. The Butterfly Conservatory at the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens is home to 2,000 winged creatures that float and flutter among such nectar-producing flowers as lantanas and pentas.
Where to Stay
Ontario's Clifton Hill offers Niagara's best hotel choices, from glitzy casino resorts to mid-range hotels and homey B&Bs. Book rooms in "fallsview" hotels for the most memorable overnight stays; after dark, gaze out at Niagara Falls, which become even more magical when illuminated by multicolored lights. Four Mile Creek State Park in nearby Youngstown, New York, offers camping right on the shores of Lake Ontario.