Niagara Falls Trip Overview

This post was originally posted on my Fun With Your Kid site. I have consolidated the content into Ann Arbor with Kids.

In August we spent a weekend in Toronto followed by three nights in Niagara Falls, ON.
In Niagara Falls, you will find a variety of activities – Falls related activities, “tourist-trap kitsch”, Fallsview indoor Water Park, casinos, and more. We spent our time in the Falls area and did not venture to the wineries or Niagara on the Lake which are a little further from the falls.


On Friday, Sunday, and holiday nights in the summer there are fireworks over the falls. We arrived on Sunday night in time for a light dinner. We had the Secret Garden recommended to us by a concierge at the Falls Avenue Resort. The restaurant is located adjacent to Oakes Park and is built into the hill between Falls Avenue Resort and the falls. They had outside dining that overlooked the American Falls and Rainbow Bridge to the US. We had sandwiches which were well done (their croissants were great). The waitress recommended the adjacent Oakes Park as a non-crowded fireworks viewing location. We were able to find benches to sit on to watch the fireworks. It was not crowded and was a very pleasant walk from there back to our hotel.

National Parks - Niagara Falls


Our original plan had been to split the Falls activities across Monday and Tuesday and spend parts of each day at the Fallsview Indoor Water Park. However, the possibility of storms on Tuesday encouraged us to make sure to finish the Falls activities on Monday as many were outside. While it did not storm on Tuesday, it worked out well to have done the Falls first and arrive at the water park in the morning when it was less crowded than in the afternoons.

Falls Activity

For the Falls activities, we bought the Niagara Parks Commission package that included Maid of the Mist*, Behind the Falls, Niagara’s Fury and White Water Walk. It also included transportation on the WeGo bus system. We loved Maid of the Mist and Behind the Falls and enjoyed the White Water Walk. For more details, see my review of Niagnara Falls Attractions.

Ready to Ride Maid of the Mist
  • Maid of the Mist is no longer operating from Canada. They will still operate tours from the American side. Boat tours from Canada will be provided by Hornblower Niagara Cruises. Hornblower currently provides boat tour experiences for US National Parks at Alcatraz Island in San Francisco and the Statue of Liberty from both New York and New Jersey.

Clifton Hill Attractions

Monday night we spent in the Clifton Hill area which I would classify as “tourist-trap kitsch”. There are several mini-golf courses, several wax museums, numerous horror attractions, gift shops, and various other attractions (Guiness World Records, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, arcades, etc). For more detailed reviews of the Clifton Hill attractions, see my review.


at Wax Museum

Fallsview Indoor Water Park and Hotels

We stayed at the Clifton Victoria Inn which is part of the Falls Avenue Resort which includes the Fallsview Indoor Water Park. While in Niagara, we were able to enjoy the views of the Falls, the fireworks over the falls, the Falls activities, the Clifton Hill Activities, and the Fallsview Indoor Water Park.  We loved the location of our hotel as it was easy walking distance of almost everything, but set off the main tourist areas so it was a little quieter.

Tuesday we spent most of the day at Fallsview Indoor Waterpark which my daughter loved – and my husband and I also enjoyed.

After the water park, we had a buffet dinner at Fallsview Restaurant with spectacular views of the Falls from one of the top levels of the Falls Avenue Sheraton. The food was quite varied including pasta, seafood, Mexican, and more. There was fresh fruit, salad, and sides. The desserts were also great. We arrived for dinner early which worked out great. We were able to get seats against the window (right next to the door for the observation deck) and they offer free kids buffet with an adult buffet from 5-6p.

View from Observation Deck at Fallsview Restaurant

American Falls

We never made it across to the American side of the falls. The Rainbow Bridge crossing near the Falls frequently had a long line for Customs (into the US in the morning and into Canada in the evening). Had we been doing our main border crossing at Niagara Falls, we would have done the American side on our way in or out. Since we live in Michigan, it is considerably shorter for us to drive across Canada from Niagara Falls instead of through the US. My daughter was quite confused when we got in the car to leave Niagara Falls and we told her we wouldn’t be back in the US for 3 hours even though she could see New York.

We had a great time on our Niagara Falls Trip and definitely recommend a family trip to Niagara Falls.


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Anna Mae

Anna Mae owns & operates Ann Arbor with Kids, a website dedicated to Family Activities in Ann Arbor. My husband and I moved to Ann Arbor in 2003 and our daughter joined the family in 2006.

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