Niagara Falls lives up to the hype. It has plenty of cheesy tourist stuff and both sides of the border are overbuilt, but if you peel all of that away and just pay attention to the falls, it is really hard not to be blown away. They are immense, massive, thunderous, and the word “waterfall” just doesn’t seem to be enough. You hear them well before you can see them, and you can see them from all over Niagara Falls because they are so incredibly large.
We rolled out of the Toronto area by mid-morning and only had about an hour and a half on the road. We had snagged the very last camping spot at Long Beach Conservation Area on Lake Eerie (add another Great Lake to our list) and we were going to use it as our home base for a visit to Niagara Falls, which was only 30 miles away. After arriving, we disconnected the CR-V and headed towards the falls. Coming into Niagara Falls, the very tall buildings were the first thing you spotted. But it wasn’t long after that we saw the falls, and they were impossibly large. We took some photos and then headed down to the dock to board a boat that would take us next to and into the mist of the falls. We didn’t have to wait long and we were aboard, grabbing a prime spot in the very front. Let me tell you, this was an experience we will never forget. The first fall (American Falls) was a mild mist and very picturesque, but when the boat enters Horseshoe Falls everything basically disappears. The wind is howling, water is everywhere, the surface of the river is boiling, and people are laughing and yelling. The kids didn’t appreciate it quite the same way as Val and I did. Brooks alternated between screaming and just standing against the rail. Hayes wasn’t upset at all, but he crouched down and went to his happy place for most of the 15 minutes we were on the boat. Once it was over he was up and smiling, glad that the onslaught of water had ended.
We got off and grabbed a beer at the café overlooking the falls, just marveling over how big and amazing they are. Whenever I thought of Niagara Falls the first thing that sprang to mind was honeymoons and tourism. But they were amazing, definitely in my top 5 natural wonders that I have experienced so far. Word to the wise: if you haven’t been to Niagara and plan on visiting, it is worth crossing over to the Canadian side because of the view. The U.S. side is where the falls pass over the ledge, so if you want to see all of them straight on, you have to be in Canada.
We walked around a little while afterwards, played a little bit of glow-in-the-dark mini golf, then rolled back to Marty, picking up a local pizza on the way. This campground might be the worst one we have ever stayed in. It is crowded, loud, and there is very little privacy. But it is only for one night, and the experience we had in Niagara makes it well worth it.
Tomorrow we are back in the U.S.!