Visiting Niagara Falls with Kids
Visiting Niagara Falls with kids is a total bucket list place to visit in North America. We chose to visit Niagara Falls in April, which lent itself to smaller crowds, but also colder temps. The most popular time of year to visit Niagara Falls is in the summer. But even in the cooler months, there are plenty of things to do in Niagara Falls. When looking up what to do in Niagara Falls, you will notice that some things are located in New York, and the others are in Ontario. We found it was definitely worth visiting both sides of Niagara Falls because they each offered something slightly different.
Where We Stayed
We stayed at the Country Inn & Suites on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, which was a great decision because it was easy and quick to walk to everything and was under $100 a night. There is a self-park lot behind the hotel which was only $15 a day and we got one of the last few spots left. The hotel rooms were a spacious size for our family of 4, with plenty of room for my 2-year-old to run around and stretch her legs. Everything was clean and pretty basic; our only complaint was the beds were super uncomfortable. Luckily, we were only staying at this hotel for one night so we dealt with it.
Things to do in Niagara Falls with Kids
Okay well, this is an obvious one, but you will really have no choice but to see the waterfall when you are here. We were sure to visit Niagara Falls at night, and during the day. They both are amazing views, but you will notice at night that they light the falls up with colored lights, and it is so pretty!
And even though the falls at night, from the Canadian side, is just so stunning with the lights, the day time view is equally amazing! Along the edge of the river, there is a path that is perfect to walk along as you take in the view of Niagara Falls. We spent over an hour strolling along this path, as we gazed at this massive waterfall. There are plenty of amazing places to stop for a picture along the path, so don’t forget your camera on your visit!
Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls, ON
Clifton Hill is one of the main drags in Niagara Falls, Ontario. It reminded us of a boardwalk found on the Jersey Shore. The street is filled with bright flashing lights, arcades, souvenir shops, mini-golf, fun houses, and low budget chain restaurants. It was very quiet here during April, but I could imagine it gets very busy in the summer. We spent a short amount of time here, only stopping to play in the arcade, and for some ice cream.
Hornblower Niagara Cruise
I have always wanted to ride on the Maid of the Mist since I was a little kid. However, since we were visiting Niagara Falls from the Canadian side we rode its equivalent, the Hornblower Niagara Cruises. I learned that the Maid of the Mist was once on both the US and Canadian sides but the Hornblower replaced it for the Canadian side. The research I did explained the two cruises are essentially the same experience, same lines, same falls, and same price. All I can say is the experience of going right up to the falls was more amazing in real life than I could have ever imagined. If you want to find out how the Candian side compares to the American side of the Niagara Falls check out this post: US v Canada Niagara Falls.
My two kids looked so cute in their (complimentary) kid-sized ponchos and let me tell you, we really needed those things. Our younger daughter did not enjoy the water spraying in her face at all. Although I think she was still excited to be so close to the pouring water. It was pretty rocky on the boat when you got close to the larger falls and was tricky to open your eyes up. It was definitely an experience I will never forget and one that you just need to see to understand how awesome it was.
Falls Incline Railroad
After the boat ride, we walked along the river and headed to lunch inside the Fallsview Casino. In order to get from the road along the river up to the casino, we took an inclined railroad. At only $2.75 a person (kids 5 and under free) it was a super quick ride up the hill and a unique experience. I am sure we could have found a way up to the casino on a street but this was just way more fun!
Goat Island, New York
The last few hours of our trip we spent at Goat Island on the NY side. This offered a whole new view and way to experience Niagara Falls. We parked the car (paid parking only) and walked down a path that led us down to the falls. And by that, I mean literally next to the falls as in you could jump right in. I could have stood there and stared at the rushing water forever! It was so crazy how close you got to the top of the falls. Madison (my older daughter) was super impressed with this site! However, my younger daughter was more into walking on the rock ledges along the walking paths.
More Things to do in Niagara Falls with Kids
- Cave of the Winds (NY)
- Maid of the Mist (NY)
- Niagara Discovery Center (NY)
- WildPlay MisterRide Zipline (CA)
- Niagara Skywheel (CA)
- Skylon Tower (CA)
- Bird Kingdom (CA)
- Indoor Waterparks (CA)
I am not even sure if we quite hit the 24-hour mark on our short trip to Niagara Falls. Our family definitely took advantage of our time in Niagara Falls and had a great experience. We got to see the falls by boat, on the side of a cliff, from two countries and during the day and night. There were a few more ways to experience the falls that we would like to come back for another time once our children are older. But, for a quick trip to the falls, I think we did well with the amount we got to experience!