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1/2 Day Niagara Falls-help with absolute 'must sees/do's'

United States
Level Contributor
153 posts
1/2 Day Niagara Falls-help with absolute 'must sees/do's'

Hi there, we are planning a trip to Maine next May, and plan to arrive on the US side of Niagara Falls late one evening. We will get up early and explore for a few hours before leaving at lunchtime. We have never been to Niagara Falls before (we're from England), but would like to take in the beauty, and experience the Falls as much as we can in such a short time. We have passports, so the flexibility to cross into Canada is no problem.

From your perspective:

What are the absolute 'must do's' when visiting... there appear to be so many options, but which one(s) should we absolutely do when only having half a day?

Are there are viewing points that we should absolutely stop at?

Plus, if you have any tips and tricks to avoid lines, we'd appreciate those too :-)

These are some of the more popular things I've read about - Walking across Rainbow Bridge, Maid of the Mist, Journey Behind The Falls, and Cave of the Winds... but, we only have so much time.... we'd love to do them all, but know that it's likely impossible.

We'll be up by 6-7AM, and have until around noon... so please could you share your thoughts...

Many, many thanks - we greatly appreciate any inisight you can offer.

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16 replies to this topic
Canada
Level Contributor
10,081 posts
81 reviews
1. Re: 1/2 Day Niagara Falls-help with absolute 'must sees/do's'

I would take one boat ride either the M of M from the American side or the Hornblower from the Cdn side. That is really the only must do ( such and overused expression isn't it ?)

SE Ontario
Level Contributor
25,524 posts
15 reviews
2. Re: 1/2 Day Niagara Falls-help with absolute 'must sees/do's'

This is the Niagara Falls Canada forum. Were you intending to stay on the Canada side, or on the American side?

When in May do you plan to travel? You'll need to check when Cave of the Winds on the US side will have their walkways/stairs built. They are rebuilt every summer. Maid of the Mist (US side) and Hornblower (canada side) travel the same route to the falls. However again, you'll need to watch for their opening days... early May there can still be ice in the river.

United States
Level Contributor
153 posts
3. Re: 1/2 Day Niagara Falls-help with absolute 'must sees/do's'

Hi there... we will be there on Memorial Day weekend, so end of May... and likely a very busy weekend! We are flexible and can stay on whichever side makes the most sense. We’ll be coming from OH, so from the US... and headed towards MA when we leave, so I guessed staying on the US side would make the most sense from a time perspective? Thanksin advance for any insight you can offer 😊

SE Ontario
Level Contributor
25,524 posts
15 reviews
4. Re: 1/2 Day Niagara Falls-help with absolute 'must sees/do's'

Memorial Day means nothing on this side of the border... it's just a regular day in Canada, although there will be increased business due to US tourists. However it is end of May so the boat cruises will be operating by then.

If you stay on the Canada side you'll get better views and more choice in accommodation. Niagara Falls, NY isn't a very nice city. You need to go to that forum to see hotel listings and reviews.

Edited: 02 September 2018, 00:40
Guelph, Canada
Level Contributor
2,506 posts
17 reviews
5. Re: 1/2 Day Niagara Falls-help with absolute 'must sees/do's'

You will get much better views of the falls from the Canadian side.

United States
Level Contributor
153 posts
6. Re: 1/2 Day Niagara Falls-help with absolute 'must sees/do's'

Thank you so much! I have heard that the views from the Canadian side are much better, so we’ll absolutely do that - it’s fun to cross into Canada for the first time too!!! We’re going to Quebec City later on duringvthis roadtrip and can’t wait!!!

Are there particular viewing points on the Canadian side that we should absolutely stop at? We’re good walkers 😊

Niagara Falls, ON
Destination Expert
for Niagara Falls
Level Contributor
10,127 posts
48 reviews
7. Re: 1/2 Day Niagara Falls-help with absolute 'must sees/do's'

For such a short visit, I would just stay in Niagara Falls,N.Y for the night and then walk across to the Canadian side. You'll get your Rainbow Bridge experience and won't have to worry about any traffic delays on the bridge. From the bridge to Table Rock Centre at the Horseshoe Falls, along the gorge through Queen Victoria Park, you'll get all the views you could want.

United States
Level Contributor
153 posts
8. Re: 1/2 Day Niagara Falls-help with absolute 'must sees/do's'

Thank you so much for the advice... I was just researching where to walk after crossing Rainbow Bridge, and you've provided great suggestions - thank you... we may try and do an early morning walk across to the Canadian side, then come back and take one of the early morning Maid of the Mist boat tours... and then if time (which is doubtful), we may do the Cave of the Winds or just walk through the state park (on the US side).

Many thanks again!!!!

Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
285 posts
17 reviews
9. Re: 1/2 Day Niagara Falls-help with absolute 'must sees/do's'

The area around NF NY is a bit sketchy. I’d recommend staying in Canada.

United States
Level Contributor
153 posts
10. Re: 1/2 Day Niagara Falls-help with absolute 'must sees/do's'

Thanks for the advice, I've heard that from others too... we'll look into that for sure.

Thanks again,

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