Accommodations range from huge chains to quaint B&Bs to disgusting motels; the Canadian side has more and better choices. Rates from June to August are decidedly higher than the rest of the year and may fluctuate wildly depending on the particular week, whether any events are in town, and, of course, availability. So if you call to book and the quotes are astronomical, try the following week.

At press time, the Giacomo, 222 Rainbow Blvd., taking up several floors of a 20-story Art Deco 1929 building, was just about to open -- making it the first boutique-style hotel in the Falls area -- while the Hotel Niagara was in the midst of a $15-million renovation.

Chain hotels make up a large part of the selection. On the American side, good choices include Comfort Inn The Pointe, 1 Prospect Pointe (tel. 800/28-HOTEL or 716/284-6835), which is super-close to the water, and the Hampton Inn, 501 Rainbow Blvd. (tel. 800/426-7866 or 716/285-6666). In Canada, the Hilton Niagara Fallsview, 6361 Fallsview Blvd. (tel. 888/370-0325 or 905/354-7887), just unveiled their new 53-storied tower in summer 2009, making it the tallest building between New York City and Toronto, while the Comfort Inn, 4960 Clifton Hill (tel. 800/263-7137 or 905/358-3601), puts you in the middle of all the Disney-like action.

If you're like us -- and prefer calm over crass commercialism -- we recommend staying in nearby Lewiston, New York, at the pleasant Barton Hill Hotel & Spa, 100 Center St. (tel. 800/718-1812 or 716/754-9070), located just steps away from the Niagara River, or in Canada's Niagara-on-the-Lake, where there are some decidedly more charming lodging options.

Campgrounds -- Set right on the shore of Lake Ontario, Four Mile Creek State Park, 1055 Lake Rd., Youngstown (tel. 716/745-3802), is a huge expanse of park with 266 campsites and great views -- on a clear day you can see Toronto. Pay a few bucks extra for a prime site and you'll be right on the water. There's lots of exploring to do around here: Hiking trails unfold along densely wooded bluffs, while the marsh at the mouth of Four Mile Creek is home to many varieties of wildlife, including great blue herons.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.