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Niagara Falls New York Visitor Guide

North of Buffalo in the state of New York Niagara falls is probably New York states second most visited city with only New York, New York attracting more visitors annually.

Probably the most important area of concern of any visitor wanting to view the falls would be a trip to Goat Island. This is about the closest you can get to the falls and the most friendly and accessible destination wishing to cross Niagara falls of their bucket list whilst remaining in America.

Goat Island is free to enter and the breath taking views up close to falls, the hikes, trails and wildlife are all free also. There are a range of activities on the island for which an admission fee is payable including the not to be missed Cave of the Winds. Package tickets can be brought which offer entrance to the cave, Maid of the mist tours and other attractions for around $38 US at the time of writing.

Visit the Viewing platform for the best Views.

You will here the statement ” but the view is better from the Canadian side” all the time. Ok, so from land you could argue this is true. Niagara Falls New York though offers by far the best alternatives, its the home of the world famous Maid of the Mist tours which cant be beaten for getting up real close and feeling the power of the falls and getting wet of coarse. If you don’t wish to get on the water but fancy the thrill of walking out onto a viewing platform high above American falls then this is well worth a stroll through the state park, next to the Rainbow Bridge crossing.

Try the Casino for some evening entertainment

The city of Niagara falls, whilst not like its tourist center Canadian counterpart,  is in the main much like any other American city, there is plentiful restaurants and entertainment close to the falls and with some hotels well located near to the state parks and a shopping mall not far from the hotels there is plenty on offer when not admiring the falls. The city also has a Casio located within the Seneca Niagara Resort a short walk for the biggest hotels in the area.

Transport around the tourist area and deeper into Niagara falls is provided for with a hop on-off Trolley service which if buying an explorer pass from the falls is included in the price. Regular buss services are available and the city also has to the east The Niagara Falls International Airport ( IAG ).

If your visiting Niagara Falls by car then driving times and distances are approximately:

  • From Buffalo NY 25 miles /36 Minutes
  • From Rochester NY 88 Miles / 1 hour 36 Minutes
  • From New York NY 410 Miles / 6 hour 30 Minutes

Niagara facts and figures:

  • Over 163,000,000 Litres flow over the falls at peak times.
  • Used for Hydro-Electric power generation to over 160,000 homes.
  • Directly on the border between Canada and the USA.
  • Last estimates expected 30 million visitors annually.
  • Home to the famous Maid of the Mist.

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Niagara Falls – Which is the best side to visit – USA or Canada

One of the most common questions asked be people wanting to or planning to visit Niagara Falls is which side is it best viewed from, USA or Canada.

Whilst we are not going to directly tell you which side you should visit, as each has its merits, we will do our best to list the pros and cons of both to help you make an informed choice. We do have our own favorite but that’s our own personal opinion and it would be wrong to tell you outright one way or the other. We will explain the facts and hopefully all your questions will be answered.

So lets get some statements out there to begin with:

The view most commonly seen in photos and on the media looking across the Niagara river at the falls is the view from the Canadian side, other than looking at Horseshoe falls ( one of the three falls that make up Niagara Falls ) you will only ever see the falls side on from the American side. Now of course this is only true if you are planning on staying on dry land. If your not that bothered about looking across at the falls but you are planning on going on the Maid of the Mist then arguably the American side is better as the Maid is Based here, although she does pick up from the Canadian side also.

Goat island is within US territory and is only accessible from the American side. Whilst not on every visitors list, if its on the wishlist then accessibility should be noted. The Island is very much different from the Canadian park offering in that once on the island there is a selection of shop, restaurants and the Cave of the Winds Tour. Just like the Canadian counter part, it is free to access and take in the views of the falls.

Niagara Falls From Below - TravelammoBehind and down to the falls is something which both sides offer although they do have slight differences. The Canadian tour branded Journey Behind the falls offers trips down to viewing platforms emerging from the rock faces very close to the edge of horseshoe falls, the standard tour does not as you might think allow you to walk about freely behind the falls. The american offering, Cave of the winds begins with a similar elevator trip down inside the rock but the remainder of the tour leads you along many exposed platforms.

So whats the cost of all these attractions, well the most comparable multi attraction ticket at the time of this being published is $38 US and $55 CAD. Both get you similar entrances and privileges, the Canadian being Journey behind the falls, Hornblower Niagara cruise, Niagara’s Fury Experience,  White water walk and a WEGO buss pass. The American ticket includes the Cave of the Winds, Maid of the Mist, Aquarium of Niagara, Niagara adventure theater, Niagara Gorge Discovery center and a Niagara Trolley Pass.

What about viewing platforms. Well the Canadian side does not have one simple. It does however have the whole side of the Niagara river looking onto the falls so you cant get much better than that but the American side does have a dedicated viewing platform which extends out over the edge between American falls and the Rainbow Bridge.

Niagara Falls Clifton Hill - TravelammoThe towns on each side provide very different experiences. The Canadian Niagara falls is pretty much a giant tourist resort whilst the American side is pretty much like and other american city. Both sides have restaurants, hotels and plenty of souvenir shops. However, Mall shopping is most easily available on the American side.

So in summery both sides have about the same to offer, it will come down to what side you like the sound of the most, which country you are already in and maybe even where you can get the best hotel deal. It must be mentioned that which ever country you are already in, traveling from one side to the other is relatively hassle free for most nationalities, although please do bare in mind if you are a national or traveling from a country that does not participate in the various visa waiver plans you may need visas which will need to be applied for in advance.

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