Packing for Niagara: The Iconic US / Canadian Waterfalls
Niagara Falls is one of the most famous landmarks on the planet. This is a set of three impressive waterfalls that dissect the border of the Canadian Province of Ontario and the US State of New York.
Canada and the US collide in the most beautiful way. Niagara has become stuff of legend, with many attempting to go over the falls in a barrel. While many have succeeded, other have failed and lost their life. Tightrope walks across the falls have also made headlines, the famous Blondin once walking across a tightrope with his manager on his back.
Nearly 30 million visitors visit Niagara falls on an annual basis (only a very small proportion of those go over them in a barrel or walk across them on a rope thankfully). Niagara Falls has featured in many movies and TV shows, most notably ‘Niagara’, starring Marilyn Monroe in 1953 and Superman II in 1980.
The latest in my ‘packing guide’ series covers the highlights, along with some tried and tested advice for what to pack.
Packing for Niagara: Major Attractions at the Falls
For many years, the ultimate cruise experience close to the Falls was the ‘Maid of the Mist,’ which has now been taken over by Hornblower Cruises. You certainly need to don a rain jacket as you board the 700-passenger catamaran, as you head out to the very base of the falls.
This close up view of the falls offers the ultimate tourist experience, allowing you to look up from the base and see just how majestic this natural landmark truly is.
Jet Boat Tours:
If the cruise experience doesn’t quite give you the ultimate falls adventure, the jet boat tour might be more up your alley. Don a life jacket and you’ll move through the class 5 rapids at speed. If you thought you got wet on the cruise, this takes it to the next level. As well as the adventure side to this experience, there is also an educational aspect to the jet boat ride.
Cave of the Winds:
For the ultimate close-up experience of the falls, the Cave of the Winds allows you to follow a series of wooden walkways to reach the destination. Here you have a wonderful view of the Bridal Veil Falls. You might have gathered already, that once again, you are going to get very wet.
Falls Restaurant Experiences:
If you want to eat gourmet food whilst viewing the falls, and for once, not getting drenched, there are many restaurants in the area with a fine view. The Watermark restaurant at the Hilton Fallsview is one such eatery with a view of both the American and Canadian sides of the falls. Massimo’s Italian Fallsview restaurant, located on the dining level of the Sheraton is another popular spot.
If you enjoy a flutter (with money you can afford to lose, naturally), then you will find huge casino resorts on the Canadian side of Niagara falls. With 1000’s of slots, table games and poker all available around the clock. These resorts include shopping, restaurants and bars, spas, and concert venues. Rooms with a view of the Falls cost a little extra.
What to Pack for a Trip to Niagara Falls?
If there is one ‘given’ for a trip to the falls, it is that you’ll need to take precautions to stay dry. This list of what to pack covers all the possibilities.
Weather Appropriate Clothing:
The most obvious advice on visiting the falls is that you should take a lightweight rain jacket. While, after reading about the attractions above, this might seem a must, many of the attraction will supply a waterproof poncho. However, if you want to go for a more fashionable look, this might be the way to go.
Jeans can be a problem if they get wet as they become heavy, so you might want to wear shorts or a skirt. The standard clothing you take for a trip will depend on the season. Go to the falls in the summer months and average temperature is between 25 and 28 degrees Celsius, while it will go below zero when you visit between December and February.
Niagara Falls Guidebook:
While you might not immediately think you’d need a guidebook for a set of waterfalls, there is so much to do in and around the area, that this is a must. There are zoos, amusement parks, botanical gardens, casinos, a host of restaurants and much more to do in the Niagara area. With a guidebook you can easily make plans for the days ahead.
This one is easily overlooked. If your regular day-bag is canvas or fabric, then you should invest in a waterproof one before you travel. The raincoat / poncho will keep you dry, only you don’t want to be carting round a soaking wet bag all day long.
Yes, everyone has cameras on their phone nowadays, but if you want to capture the sheer beauty of the falls, a high-quality camera will be your best option. Consider a waterproof camera if you want to take those shots in the places where you won’t be staying dry.
It can be an idea to have your passport handy, as the falls are on the border between the US and Canada. If you want to move from one side to the other, you will need it. At one time you could just show a regular driving license, but that is no longer sufficient. Remember, entry to the USA requires an ESTA (electronic visa), which you will need to apply for online.
While tours of the falls require practical attire, the chic restaurants, cocktail lounges, and nightclubs in the resorts around Niagara have a different vibe. Make sure to pack something which will up the glamour levels in those heady Ontarian evenings!
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