New York State, United States
Niagara Falls New York State Reviews
The American Falls, as breathtaking as on the Canadian side! Jul 21, 2015
Everybody told me the view of Niagara Falls is much better on the Canadian side, so I kept my expectations low when we went there last month on our way to visit the provinces of Ontario and Quebec in Canada.
After our plane landed at Buffalo International airport in New York state, we rented a car from Budget and drove straight to the city of Niagara Falls where the waterfalls are located. It was a good 45 minute drive to get there. A short walk away from Niagara Falls State Park is a big Food Court, and as we wanted to have lunch first we decided to park nearby. Parking fee was $5.00 which wasn't too bad for downtown. However, prices at the cash only Food Court are extremely high. I had a Chinese combo meal which came up to nearly $17 with tax! The place was so packed with Chinese tourists that I thought it was an invasion. Apparently, they could afford to pay for the expensive food.
Anyway, after the overpriced lunch we sauntered over to the State Park. There is a Visitor Center near the entrance where you can get information. My first impression of the American Falls was very positive and that feeling remained with me throughout the trip even after viewing the Falls on the Canadian side (of which I'll be writing later).
I had thought that there would be a lot of domestic tourists on the US side of the Falls, but there weren't that many. In the past, American citizens needed only to show their ID cards to cross over to Canada, but some years ago both the US and Canadian governments came out with a rule that their nationals would have to carry passports to visit each others' countries. So, many Americans stopped their cross border trips and restricted their Niagara Falls experience to just the American side. Anyhow, the absence of large crowds didn't bother me at all, and we enjoyed the amazing natural beauty of the American Falls.
All along the walkway and from observation points we could see the city of Niagara Falls on the Canadian side. The city skyline is very imposing and looked more prosperous than its namesake on the American side. Although we didn't take the 'Maid of the Mist' boat tour along the Niagara River we could see several of them down below loaded with tourists dressed in colorful rain parkas.
We crossed the bridge to go over to Goat Island to have a closer look at the American Falls, Luna Island and the Bridal Veil Falls. There we had more stunning views of the Falls and also saw 'Cave of the Winds' where one takes an elevator deep down into the gorge and follow the tour guide over a series of wooden walkways and view the Falls up close.
For those of you who want to get around the park without too much walking, you can take the guided bus ride in a vintage style trolley that offers history, fun facts and tips on the park’s top attractions. These are the 'hop on, hop off' buses one sees in major tourist cities around the world. Likewise, at the Niagara Falls State Park you can get off at one or several of the stops along the way to explore the area at your leisure, and when you’re ready, catch another trolley to your next park destination.
One thing I've learned from years of travel experience is not to have high expectations of any place I visit. With that thought in mind, I went to Niagara Falls, USA and I am happy to say that I was not disappointed at all. I'm really glad I finally got to see one of the great natural wonders of the world right here in the US of A. Next stop - Niagara Falls, Canada.
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