Niagara Falls observation tower view cover

Niagara Falls, USA

Niagara Falls State Park
Niagara Falls State Park Maid of the Mist
Niagara Falls State Park Luna Island
Niagara Falls State Park crows nest
Niagara Falls State Park crows nest stairs
Niagara Falls State Park crows nest below
Niagara Falls State Park American Falls

Niagara Falls is beautiful year round, and I highly recommend going at different times throughout the year to witness the uniqueness of each season. With a natural wonder this close, there’s no reason not to go more than once! 

Niagara Falls from Airplane
Niagara Falls from my flight from ROC to Chicago

During peak season (roughly late May-late October) you can expect crowds of people from across the globe wanting to do exactly what you do–see the falls.

A brief overview of Niagara Falls State Park

Niagara Falls Visitor Center

Niagara Falls Visitor Center

The Visitor Center is a stop on the Niagara Discovery Shuttle, and is the hub for anything relating to the falls. You can connect here with the other trolleys that run through the town of Niagara Falls, NY and Goat Island.

This stop gets you right next to the American Falls at Prospect Point, Niagara Adventure Theater, Niagara Falls Observation Tower and Maid of the Mist. It’s also located next to the pedestrian bridge connecting to Goat Island, Three Sisters Islands, Luna Island, Cave of the Winds, Bridal Veil Falls and Horseshoe Falls.

They are incredibly helpful providing brochures (download or request an official brochure), itinerary planning (like Explorer, Adventurer, and Thrillseeker), hotel and restaurant recommendations, public restrooms, WiFi, and air conditioning!

If you plan to do a few of the major activities, like Cave of the Winds and Maid of the Mist, go for the Discovery Pass to save a few pennies.

Cave of the Winds
Looking up at Bridal Veil Falls from Cave of the Winds

Discovery Pass

You can get a Discovery Pass that costs about $40 a person, and includes the Maid of the Mist and Cave of the Winds plus a few other attractions. If you can queue up for a while in the hot sun, both are worth the wait!

Maid of the Mist
Maid of the Mist

Both get you close enough to the falls to shower you with cool, river water and an exhilarating experience.

Niagara Falls State Park Trolley

Niagara Scenic Trolley

There is an all day, hop-on/hop-off trolley service (Niagara Scenic Trolley) available that transports visitors throughout Niagara Falls State Park, hitting all of the attractions and parking lots.

The price is included in a Discovery Pass or can be purchased separately.

Discover Niagara Shuttle Stop

Discover Niagara Shuttle

The Discover Niagara Shuttle takes visitors on a 2-hour, round trip between Niagara Falls State Park and Old Fort Niagara, with 15 stops along the way including Whirlpool State Park, Youngstown, Lewiston and the Niagara Falls Amtrak train station.

This is a great way to experience the area, and it’s FREE. The shuttle runs roughly Memorial Day and Columbus Day.

Observation Tower
Observation Tower – Entrance to Maid of the Mist

Observation Tower at Prospect Point

Another cool thing to do is head to the Observation Tower at Prospect Point. This is where folks going on the Maid of the Mist tour queue up to descend in the elevators to the river’s edge.

Though you do have to wait in the same queue, you can still appreciate the view from the tower, and you ride one of the four elevators down into the gorge.

Instead of boarding the boat, you’ll head toward the American Falls along a trail that will take you close enough to be drenched in mist. Climb a series of stairs to the Crow’s Nest for an incredible natural experience. Not bad for only $1.25!

American Falls Crows Nest

You will get wet, as do the steps and any personal belongings you have. Plan to have something waterproof with you, like those beautiful blue and yellow rain ponchos used for the Maid and Cave attractions.

Points of interest around American & Horseshoe Falls

American Falls from Luna Island
American Falls from Luna Island
Terrapin Point and Horseshoe Falls
Terrapin Point and Horseshoe Falls
Winter Horseshoe Falls
Horseshoe Falls in Winter
Niagara Falls: Luna Island and Bridal Falls
Luna Island and Bridal Veil Falls
Winter Luna Island
Winter on Luna Island and American Falls
Niagara Falls NY USA Cave Winds
Looking down on Cave of the Winds
American Falls and The Crow's Nest
American Falls and The Crow’s Nest
Three Sisters Island off Goat Island
Three Sisters Island off Goat Island

More information about Niagara Falls

Cost: $10 for parking on Goat Island, attractions have fees.

Located in Niagara Falls, NY roughly 90 minutes / 90 miles from Rochester (get directions)

More information: parks.ny.gov,  niagarafallsstatepark, a park map, and the 2018 Travel Guide

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Where is your favorite spot in Niagara Falls?

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