Last week we went to see the Niagara Falls. We drove from our home in Illinois down to Indiana and through Michigan to cross the border at Port Huron. Then we drove through part of Ontario to Niagara Falls. It had rained the days before and even during our 9 hour drive it was pouring down most of the time, but as we approached the waterfalls the sky cleared up and it was mostly sunny the whole time we were there. We spent the night at a Days Inn on the Canadian side and crossed the border into New York state the next day to check out Niagara Falls State Park on Goat Island. We had a wonderful time and were very impressed with the magnificent falls.
The Niagara River runs across the Canada and United States border from Lake Eerie to Lake Ontario. Niagara Falls is made up of two parts separated by Goat Island: Horseshoe Falls, the majority of which lies on the Canadian side of the border, and American Falls on the American side. Horseshoe Falls drops about 173 feet (53 m) and the height of the American Falls is about 100 feet (30 m). Here you can see both with Horseshoe Falls on the far right:
The view of the falls is much better from the Canadian side, and as a result the town has an abundance of tacky tourist attractions like Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and glow-in-the-dark mini-golfs. Fortunately the river side has not been spoiled too much and there is a great river walk with parks and some stunning views of the falls. We parked our car in a large parking garage of a hotel and walked to horseshoe falls, where you can stand real close to the rushing water as it tumbles over the edge. The volume of water approaching the falls during peak flow season (late spring and early summer) is sometimes as much as 202,000 cubic feet per second (5,720 m³/s).
The mist from the falls gave us some nice views of rainbows too:
The next morning we walked from our hotel down to the river to catch the first 9:45 boat tour of the Maid of the Mist, a famous tourist attraction that has been bringing people to the foot of the waterfalls since 1846.
We don’t have any photos from when we were under the falls, but believe me it was like being in the middle of a storm. We were blasted with water and hurricane winds. We got soaking wet, despite our ponchos.
There were thousands of Ring-billed Gulls flying around and sitting on the rocks. We saw lots of cormorants too.
After our ‘morning showers’ on the Maid of the Mist we crossed the border via Rainbow Bridge, seen below. Crossing the border was quick and easy. They took a picture of us in the car, we had to take off our sunglasses as they checked our passports and we answered some questions about our trip and the souvenirs we were bringing back to the US.
On the American side we parked at Niagara Falls State Park and had lunch at a picnic table just a stone’s throw away from the falls before talking a walk to Luna Island.
As expected the views here were not as stunning as those on the other side, but it was still impressive to see the rushing water nearby.
After this we drove home to Illinois through New York state, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana. To our pleasant surprise the Illinois I-Pass we got in January worked flawlessly on all toll roads in these states, which was very cool.