Bucket List Destination: Niagara Falls State Park

For the past fifteen years I've heard my mother dream of visiting Niagara Falls. It surely is a destination that everyone should put on their bucket list.  Even though it was 1,400 miles away, driving up to Niagara Falls was well worth the effort. The first moment we reached the railing and looked over the edge took our breath away.  The power and the majesty of a natural waterfall is something that plays on your heart like the song of a cello.  It's hard to resist being emotional in it's presence.

Niagara Falls State Park

Niagara Falls State Park

If you want to get the straight on view of both the American falls and the Horseshoe falls, you need to head over the Rainbow Bridge to Canada.  Since we did not all have our passports, we just hung out on the American side at the Niagara Falls National Park.  With extensive paths and up close views of the falls, I was like a kid in a candy shop!  The trails go right along the river that feeds the falls and gives up close views of the rapids that build towards the huge drop.  To top it all off, we found ourselves in the park at the peak of the fall colors.  Let's just say God put up a spectacular display of His splendor.

Niagara falls state park (10)


Niagara falls state park (13)



Niagara falls state park (11)



Niagara falls state park (16)


Niagara Falls State Park Attractions

There are many attractions that are incorporated into the state park that provide additional ways to experience the falls.  You can buy a pass at a reduced price to enjoy them all, or you can just select what works for you.  We chose to enjoy the Maid of the Mist which includes the Observation Tower which gives you the best view of the falls from the American side.

Niagara Falls Maid of the Mist

The Maid of the Mist runs a new boat every 15 minutes.


Niagara Falls Maid of the Mist

Maid of the Mist ponchos are included with the boat ride, and you will need them!


Maid of the Mist at Niagara Falls

The view of the American Falls from the Maid of the Mist.


Maid of the Mist

The boat goes to the center of the Horseshoe Falls where we got really wet! The kids loved it!


Maid of the Mist

After you get off of the Maid of the Mist, you can climb the stairs to get a close view of the falls. I went back up the elevator with my mom and watched my little pink specks explore the falls!


Maid of the Mist



Since it was a bit chilly, the Cave of the Winds did not appeal to us as much, but the kids would have loved it if it was warmer outside.  It gets you the closest access to the Bridal Veil Falls.

Cave of the Winds by the Bridal Falls


No matter which way you decide to enjoy the falls, I don't think there is a bad view.


Niagara Falls Rainbow


Niagara Falls


Hotel Accommodations

We found a great deal on Groupon for the Days Inn on the American side.  Not only was the price great, but the deal also offered dining vouchers and game room credits.  It was easily within walking distance from the falls.  If we could go back again, we'd love to stay on the Canadian side at the Embassy Suites.  From there you could have a view of the falls from your room.  When I checked after we returned home, there were deals for this hotel on Groupon.  Always check there first!

Places to Eat on the American Side

We arrived late on Monday night, so it was dark and hard to see what dining options were available.  Thankfully the Denny's in the Days Inn was clean and the food hit the spot.  Although there are some eating options right by the falls, we opted to head east (inland) and found the fast food eateries.  There is an Outlet Mall in town and many of the chain restaurants are available there.  While it might not be as full of the Niagara Falls atmosphere, it's pretty good on the budget.


Returning to the Falls

I would love to go back someday and discover the falls in another season, or just at a time when I could sit and soak in their beauty. I will definitely make sure that I get my passport and make it to the Canadian side.  Whether you have your passport or not, it's worth experiencing the majesty of a falls like Niagara.Niagara Falls Canada

What's on your bucket list to see?


  1. Mary on November 1, 2015 at 7:16 am

    We went here several years ago – we did a full day cruise on the Erie Canal, too – very fun! We’re trying to hit lots of National treasures before our kids graduate. Next on our list is the Grand Canyon!

    • Betsy on November 1, 2015 at 9:29 am

      I would have loved to spend some time at the Erie Canal. Grand Canyon is next on our list too!

  2. Susan Evans on November 4, 2015 at 9:13 am

    Your pictures of Niagara Falls are gorgeous! That’s one place I’ve never been that looks breathtaking.

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