It’s been such a long time since I’ve been to Niagara Falls. The last time I took a trip there was in 2007, and it was on the Canadian side. I’ve never experienced the U.S. side of the Falls, and with the borders currently closed – this was a great opportunity to try something new!
From Columbus, OH, Niagara Falls, NY is about a 6 hour drive. It’s possible to make this location a day trip (if you don’t have more than one day to dedicate to the attractions), but there are plenty of hotels if you’d like to make a weekend trip out of it, or longer.
Most parking lots charge by the day, so there’s no need to worry about meters and time running out. Entry to the state park is free. You can park your car and walk right up to the imposing falls and stay by the water all day, if you’d like! Although entry to the park is free, popular attractions do have prices.
The Maid of the Mist, one of the most popular attractions at the Niagara Falls, cost $25.25 for adults and $14.75 for children. These tickets cover the boat ride, rain cover, and access to the viewing deck. The Maid of the Mist takes up less than 30 minutes. They take groups out to the multiple water falls, getting pretty close (close enough for the passengers to be soaked), and the makes a return trip back to the dock.
PRO TIP: Bring a change of shoes/socks and wear clothes you don’t mind getting wet. Wearing secure sandals is good, but I wouldn’t suggest flip flops. The deck of the boat gets drenched by the freezing water and folks were slipping around. I wore sneakers. Although my shoes dried quickly, my socks didn’t. I was so glad I brought extra socks!
The State Park has other things to do such as Cave of the Winds, and Adventure Theatre, Aquarium, hiking trails, and various lookout points (Goat Island and Luna Island). The hiking trails and small islands are free access to visitors, and I think they absolutely worth checking out- especially Luna Island. This spot allows you to stand above one of the waterfalls and feel the water splashing back up at you. The whole park is walkable, but there’s also a trolley you can ride to get around from one stop to another!
Whether it’s a day trip, weekend getaway, or an extended stay, if you’re in the area of Buffalo, NY, making a stop at Niagara Falls is well worth the time.