If you look at the bucket lists of any North American traveler, Niagara Falls has to be on it. It may not be the largest waterfall in the world, but it is definitely one of the most famous. The size and intensity of water flow has made Niagara Falls a place that draws travelers to visit.
Lots of people use their honeymoon as a reason to knock Niagara Falls off their list. Not me. I opted for Oklahoma City in an ice storm. But that’s another story for another day. My first visit to Niagara Falls was with G Adventures this summer, and I am very glad I made it. It showcased the sheer power of nature – and it was beautiful. I can’t think of any other place I’ve been that came close in that respect.
The Three Waterfalls That Make Up Niagara Falls
Before I visited, I knew there was an American side and a Canadian side, but I didn’t realize there were three separate waterfalls that made up Niagara Falls. The three waterfalls are American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and Canadian “Horseshoe” Falls. I found American Falls to be the most impressive. Canadian is the largest, and supposedly coolest, but all I could ever see was large clouds of mist. When I tried to get anywhere near it, it was like it was raining heavily! But I could clearly see American Falls all four times I went to view it.
At night the falls are illuminated. What this means is that they shoot colored lights from a building on the Ontario shore onto the falls. This makes them appear to change colors at varying intervals.
I believe they illuminated Horeshoe Falls as well as the other two, but it was hard to tell through all the fog and mist.
Reflecting on my visit, I think that childhood has to be the best time to visit Niagara Falls. Everything is larger when you are small, so Niagara Falls would have to be HUGE to a kiddo. I can’t wait to plan a trip there with my children. Even showing them this video is inadequate for them to truly understand the power of the rushing water and the majesty of nature present at the falls.
People come from worldwide to view Niagara Falls… then what? They are waterfalls. You can only look at them, boat under them and walk behind them for so long. If the city planners were going to get tourists to stay, they’d have to create some other attractions.
So over the years, Niagara Falls added man made attractions. To “impractical me”, it is always sad when natural beauty is commercialized. I hate that man has to build tourist infrastructures to make all the money possible off of something that should be admired for its natural state.
But Niagara Falls couldn’t support near as many visitors as it does each year without the tourist infrastructure – and everyone should visit Niagara Falls. So “practical me” has to take a moment and really step past that immediate thought. When you do that, you can really evaluate the attractions on their own. Niagara Falls is a place for great family fun, and bonding. That’s what family travel is all about, right?
It is often impossible to go to a place as powerful and highly visited as Niagara Falls, write about it and feel I did it justice. However, over the years many authors far greater than myself have visited Niagara. Here is a quote from my all time favorite writer :
It was a miserable day; chilly and raw; a damp mist falling; and the trees in that northern region quite bare and wintry. Whenever the train halted, I listened for the roar; and was constantly straining my eyes in the direction where I knew the Falls must be, from seeing the river rolling on towards them; every moment expecting to behold the spray. Within a few minutes of our stopping, not before, I saw two great white clouds rising up slowly and majestically from the depths of the earth. That was all. At length we alighted: and then for the first time, I heard the mighty rush of water, and felt the ground tremble underneath my feet. — Charles Dickens