Niagara Falls ranks only 51st among the world’s waterfalls in height but it’s still the largest producer of electricity in the state of New York
Maid of the mist
The Maid of the Mist tour boatshave been satisfying customers since 1846 and became a symbol of Niagara as the falls themselves .It is the oldest tourist attraction in North America
Aboard the Maid of the Mist boat at Niagara Falls
I must say , it’s an unbelievable adventure , just being on this historic boat , hearing the thundering of the falls crashing into the river. Wondering if this boat is safe – of course it’s perfectly safe , it’s a very precise work to navigate this boat : it has to stay precisely in the middle where the outgoing stream is, because the back eddy close to the Canadian shore could suck it into the falls. The captain appears very calm ,he takes this trip 22 times a day . He guides the boat past the base of the American and Bridal Veil Falls and into the heart of the Horseshoe Falls. You can feel the rocking of the boat as its 250-horsepower engines fight for control in the current. And you are. huddled next to the other passengers , wearing their rubber slickers , wondering whether it’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen or whether the work s coming to an end , so strong is the sound of the Falls .
Once the captain gets close to the heart of the Horseshoe Falls , the spray blowing Ito the boat is so think , it feels more like the watery end of the world than the most beautiful thing you’ve ever encountered . It’s so powerful , your poncho is inflated like a balloon , and you can barely stand up .
Imagine running past a fire hydrant ? That’s about what it feels like . And it’s a blast .
Maid of the Mist boats leave every 15 minutes, starting at 9:15 A.M., from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and every 30 minutes, starting at 10, from Labor Day to Oct. 24, when they stop for the season
Maid of the Mist boats, leaving every 15 minutes from the American and Canadian banks, operate from late May when the ice clears through mid-October,
Cave of the winds
The most intense way to see the Niagara Falls is to get to the heart of it – and here you can get as close to the Falls as possible .
This is the wettest attraction you’d ever try . Even with protective poncho , there is just no way to stay dry . It is a lot of fun , but you should consider the outside temperature , or have a change of clothes handy .
Your tour begins with a long elevator ride -you descend 175-feet into the gorge on an elevator, down through the rock into Niagara Gorge, at the basin of Niagara Falls. Before ascending the stairs into the mist, you’ll receive a recyclable, yellow rain poncho .
Hurricane Deck is drenched in water and is the highlight of the trip . You are right at the epicenter thundering waters of Bridal VeilFalls. braced ourselves against the onslaught of wind and water . It is one of the best spots to experience the power of the Falls , you are literally standing within 20 feet of the Bridal Veil Falls
It’s called the Hurricane deck not by chance , the winds can reach the level of a Category 1 hurricane and the water rains down continually.
I knew I was in for some serious water
It was definitely the most beautiful thing to see . And to hear .
Did you know ? Cave of the winds is torn down every year and reconstructed
Tip : if you are wearing long pants , roll them up as high as you can .
Cave of the Winds, on Goat Island, is open 9 A.M. to 8 P.M. Memorial Day to Labor Day, 10 to 5 Labor Day to mid-October, when it closes for the season
The view of the gorge from below is incredible . To feel the pounding water and hear the roar as it broke over the rocks was simply incredible.
Cave of the winds is open May through October from 9:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m
Take waterproof camera bag
souvenir rain poncho and sandals ( provided)
From high on the bank, 180 feet up, it looks inspiring and somewhat incongruous: All those tourists, dressed in black raincoats, resemble convicts going out to Alcatraz. But aboard at that second, when you’re holding right in the center of the shoe, it’s more than visual.
The spectacle is outside, especially during those four or five minutes when the torrents of water are cascading all around, the spray is blinding and everybody’s screaming with pure delight.
You can walk along the shore above the Horseshoe Falls and see the water as it begins to speed along its northerly route.
The deadly beauty
Niagara Falls and San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge are the most popular place to end life in the US . They say there is something mystic about the falls , something that is just pulling people in .Every year , approximately 40 suicides are recorded . The number of Niagara suicides rises through the summer and peaks in September
Best free place to view Niagara Falls
Table Rock Welcome Center
The waters of the gorge churn just 25 feet below, the mist billowing into great clouds before you. When the sun is out, the rainbow is spectacular.
When to go
With the exception of the Maid of the Mist and Cave of the Winds, most attractions are open year round, but at reduced hours.
Festival of Lights, held this year from Nov. 23 to Jan. 12, when thousands of colored lights shine from trees, walkways and animated displays.