Niagara Falls

Ten years ago when we came to Ohio with our daughters we drove up to Niagara Falls. On that trip I got to ride the Maid of the Mist boat that goes into the spray of the falls, but Chuck didn’t so a return trip was in order.

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Our huge grassy site.

Our base for the week was Four Mile Creek Campsite, our first New York State Park. It’s a huge park and a mixed bag as far as campsites go. We opted for the quieter “tent” loop with no electric hookups and it worked out well since our solar gives us all the power we need. Plus even on the weekend our loop never filled all the way but the hook-up side of the campground was crowded and noisy.

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The viewing areas near Horseshoe Falls.

We picked a good day for the falls. It was warm and muggy so the spray felt good plus it wasn’t very crowded. We had no trouble finding parking in the lot near the Cave of the Winds entrance and as a bonus it was a free parking day for some reason.

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Looking down at Cave of the Winds, a series of boardwalks that take you into the spray.
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American Falls with the observation tower in the background.

We enjoyed the view as we walked along peering over the edge at the top of Horseshoe Falls and then American Falls. It’s a bit hard to see from the top but we were there to ride the Maid of the Mist so knew we’d get a better view from down below. We bought tickets, took in the windy view from the observation tower, descended the elevator and walked out just as the boat was unloading. By the time we had our complimentary blue ponchos in hand it was nearly time to load.

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Yep, that’s Toronto across the river.

We scoped out the boat’s path from the top so knew we wanted to be in the front or on the left (port) side to get the best view.

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American Falls from below.

As soon as we got underway we struggled to don our ponchos in the wind created by the falls, but were soon glad we had them.

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The water roared down from Horseshoe falls, spraying us in a torrential, wind swept downpour and we delighted in it. Our captain kept us steadily in the spray for a good 5-10 minutes before turning back to the dock.

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A Maid of the Mist boat heading into the spray.
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Before
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After

Thanks to the ponchos we weren’t too wet, but we soon fixed that by heading up the observation stairs next to American Falls.

 

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We climbed these stairs up the side of America Falls and that’s when we really got wet!

There is no better view of the falls than from the boat so I’d highly recommend it, but if you can’t do that at least buy a ticket for the observation tower.

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View from the observation tower. 

If you plan to visit the falls note that the boats on the Canadian side are much larger (meaning they pack on more people) and don’t go quite as close to the falls so I’d stick to the American boat.

We planned to go back and see the falls lit up at night and watch the fireworks, but with the off and on rainy weather and the fact that the fireworks show lasts only 8 minutes we never did make it. Something for next time. 🙂

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Amazing that they’ve been running boats into the mist for over 150 years.

There wasn’t a lot to see right at our campground. We took several bike rides through the loops and there were some spots with views of Lake Ontario. We went to several nearby parks on the Niagara River but didn’t find anything as spectacular as the falls.

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Power Plant on the American side. There’s one on the Canadian side too.
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The mighty Niagara River, all that water pouring over the falls has to go somewhere…
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Outdoor sculpture at Artpark State Park.

Add in laundry, grocery shopping and a trip to the outlet mall and that pretty much rounds out our week in this corner of New York. I’ll leave you with pics of a cool Airstream we saw parked at Niagara Falls. The whole thing was covered in a vinyl wrap promoting Austin, TX. We’ll get there someday.

 

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