When you are on the Niagara Falls, you certainly should not miss the experience with the famous "Maid of the mist". The ride is alltogether I think about half an hour long (I did not take care about that) and you get very wet if you chose to stay outside on the boat and not inside, but every second and every drop of water is very worth! It is a great experience to stay in front of the waterfalls and feel the energy of the water.
Goat Island is the place to go to get some of the best and closest views of the Niagara Falls. As a part of Niagara Falls State Park, it is a great place to walk around and witness the fury of the water. We rode on the Niagara Scenic Trolley to the southwestern extremity of the island, called Terrapin Point, and slowly made our way back by following the path along the river. In fact, the walking trail does a loop all around the island. There are two bridges connecting Goat Island to the mainland and you can walk across both of them.
If you want to get even closer to the falls, nothing beats the Cave of the Winds on Goat Island. While we didn't have time to go down there, we could see people wearing their bright yellow ponchos getting sprayed by the water.
Interestingly, Goat Island will eventually disappear, as it is slowly being eroded by the power of the Niagara Falls.
The Aquarium of Niagara doesn't have the splash of the larger water-themed parks on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, but it makes for an interesting, educational visit.
For a fraction of the price you would pay to go to Marineland, whose treatment of animals remains controversial to this day, you can hear heartwarming stories about the seals that have lived at the Aquarium since been saved from certain death; witness feedings of different animals; and see and get to know better many water-dwelling species.
However, keep in mind that the Aquarium is relatively small and that you should plan other activities around your visit here, whether it's visiting Niagara Falls State Park or riding to other sites on the American side of the Niagara River.
The Aquarium of Niagara is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is wheelchair- and stroller-accessible.
The Maid of the mist tour is quite an experience as the boat passes the Bridal Veil Falls then directly in to the misty Horseshoe Falls. You can also take the Cave of the Winds Tour that takes you right into the falls then later you can walk to the deck which is just a few feet from the Bridal Veil Falls, but take a raincoat or you will be soaked. Then if you still want more visit the Prospect Point Park Observation tower which is directly over the falls.
The Bridal Veil Falls is the smallest of the three waterfalls that make up Niagara Falls. It is located on the U.S. side (New York State). The Bridal Veil Falls faces to the northwest and has a crest 56 feet (17 m) wide.
The falls are beautiful to see, but for a different perspective try crossing the Rainbow Bridge and walk along the falls from the Canadian side too.
The Canadian side of the falls is a bit more scenic then the American side. Lots of gardens and parks.
Instead of going to NYC, why not do the vacation in Toronto??? You get to see Niageria Falls, stay in the Embassy Suites with a fall views,,,the best, and then go to the winery the next morning in the Canada side and be sure to get some Ice Wines...hard to find in the states, and good...Go through the nice quint towns on your way to Toronto where it is a international city. they have a great Chinatown, Little Italy, Greek town and Eaton center without the congestion of NYC. from Buffalo it is a hour and a half drive and the prices are half of NYC. There are plenty of things to see and do in Canada and the people are friendly. Transportation on the trolley and metro can take you to most places and the food is fantastic. i stayed at the Westin Castle Harbor with another sea view and spent a week of fun there. They also have a great theater and many events going on at Eaton place. IMHO
cheers tommy x and happy travels
I lived in the area for several years. Many people miss Goat Island and the 3 Sisters Islands on the NY side. I know most people like the Canada side because you get a good view of the falls. The Canada side also has more tourism. But you can really experience the river and the falls on Goat Island and the 3 Sisters Islands.
There was free parking near the back of Goat Island the last time I was there. From there, you can walk to the 3 Sisters Islands, the House Shoe Falls, The New York Falls, and onto the little island between the NY and Bridalveil Falls. Looking strait down from the Bridalveil Falls Island is indescribable.
If you have some time, drive up to Whirl Pool Park a little north of the falls. There is free parking on the NY side and I also think on the Canada side. From the top, the lower rapids just look like white water, but they are awesome when you hike down to the river. From the NY Whirl Pool Park, walk a little north from the parking lot. Then you will find a path down. Once at the river, hike back toward the whirl pool to get a fantastic view of the lower rapids.
IMO, it is also a shame that many people miss the above when they go to NF.
From Luna Island via Goat Island you can see the Bridal Veil Falls, the smallest of the waterfalls, in the Park. Luna Island separates them from the American Falls and Goat Island does the same but from the Horseshoe Falls.
Goat Island is a big island off the Niagara Falls and connects between both the American and Horseshoe Falls. The Island is accessed by the American Rapids Bridges that crosses the American Rapids and the American Falls.
The Observation Tower is 230-feet high which overlooks the Rainbow Bridge and both the American and Horseshoe Falls. I was able to take some photos of both the American and Horseshoe Falls from the tower.
The Cave of the Winds trip will take you very close to Niagara Falls. Make sure you have at least 1hour for the entire trip. The journey starts with an elevator ride to the foot of the falls. Make sure you have the rain poncho or else you can get wet. Since its gonna be very cold down there, make sure you have the proper protection from cold. On your way down, you follow a wooden walkway which could be slippery so make sure you have the proper boots as well. This for me is one thing you cannot afford to miss. As for children, handicapped people, a deck has been build close to the bottom of the falls. You cant get a closer view of the falls and this is one of the best places to take a few snaps. Once you go down the wooden walkway you feel as if you are passing through a tropical storm. This breathtaking view of one of the most amazing views of mother nature that will leave you in total awe.
The Three Sisters islands were named for the three daughters of an early visitor named Parkhurst Whitney. In the spring of 1816, he led his girls on a tour of the islands, and persuaded the owner, Augustus Porter, to name these islands for them.
Each island is connected to the mainland by a footbridge. And each has its own unique charm and ambiance. Just a word of caution: Stay out of the water. It may be shallow, but the currents are dangerous, and you could damage something.
There are actually three waterfalls on the Niagara River, and all of them collectively are referred to as Niagara Falls. The largest and most famous of these is the Horseshoe Falls, on the Canadian side of the river. An island separates the Canadian falls from the American Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls.
Unlike the Canadian Falls, which is essentially a sheer drop, the American Falls plunges into a jumble of huge bolders. Although overshadowed by Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls is quite maginificent in it's own right, and would be a major tourist attraction if it were the only falls.
At 56 meters (180 ft) high, the American Falls is slightly higher than its Canadian counterpart. Its crestline is 328 meters (1075 ft) wide.
It is estimated that 75,000 gallons of water flow over the American Falls each second, amounting to only 10% of Niagara's total waterflow. The American Falls look spectacular at night, when it is lit with various combinations of coloured lights.
All three of the falls are best viewed from the Canadian side of the river. However, it is only here at Niagara Falls State Park in New York that you can stand on the very lip of all of the falls and see them close up as they make their thunderous leap.
What a wonderful attraction to visit. Skylon Tower is 520 feet and the tallest structure in Niagara. It opened in the autumn of 1964. It has one of the most breath taking views to see the falls from up above. It has this wonderful pictural presentation of plaques that line the outside walk of the history of the falls. You learn alot just from those. It has a wonderful restaurant too! This is a must see and do!