This is a travel guest post by Shawn P. Thomas, photographer and travel enthusiast. This photo essay was taken in Niagara Falls, Canada and is a visual overview of what you can expect to do (and see) when you visit. If you think the pictures are stunning, imagine feeling the wind and spray up close!
Why do *Millions* of visitors tour Niagara Falls each year? Take a look…
Things to Do in Niagara Falls: What might you see and do if you visit?
More than two thousand miles of land and six hundred feet of elevation separate the western end of Lake Superior and the eastern end of the Atlantic Ocean. Between those two massive bodies of water lie the other Great Lakes, connected by a series of rivers, channels, and smaller lakes. Together, the Great Lakes hold 54 percent of the world’s liquid fresh water, and as the elevation drops between Lake Superior and the Atlantic, that fresh water flows through the Great Lakes and into the ocean. More than half of the elevation drop, 325 feet to be exact, lies between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, along the 36 miles of the Niagara River. And, half of that 325 foot drop in elevation can be found in one place along the river, at a set of falls collectively called Niagara Falls. On average, 85,000 cubic feet of water flow over the falls every second, and every year about 25 million people come from all over the world to see it fall.
American and Bridal Veil Falls
On the American side of the Niagara River lie the American and Bridal Veil Falls, separated by Luna Island, a small island in the Niagara River. The height of the American Falls ranges between 70 to 110 feet and the height of the Bridal Veil Falls, on the far right hand side of this picture, is 78 feet.
On the Canadian Side of the Niagara River lies the Horseshoe Falls, separated from the American and Bridal Veil Falls by Goat Island. The height of Horseshoe Falls averages 188 feet, and you can see it from the ground, by boat and even by air via helicopter tour.
The Hornblower Niagara Cruises on the Canadian side and Maid of the Mist on the American side offer visitors the opportunity to get up close and personal with the bottom end of the falls, taking passengers on cruises right up to the three falls in the morning and afternoon. Just after dark, The Hornblower offers additional cruises which are quite spectacular as fireworks light the sky and spotlights illuminate the falls.
The falls up close
If getting soaking wet on The Hornblower or Maid of the Mist is not your thing, you can get soaking wet standing right next to the falls. Consider getting a rain poncho and feeling the awesome power of the water as it flows by at about 25 miles/hr before plummeting to the bottom.
If you are at the falls at the right time of day, at around 5-6 in the summer, you stand a great chance of seeing rainbows in the mist along each of the falls. As you can see here, this is your chance to capture some postcard-perfect pictures.
Walking around Niagara Falls on the Canadian side you can find a wide array of attractions and view beautiful scenery, including sets of baskets overflowing with flowers.
There are also a range of opportunities to view the falls from up high, and none are higher than the Skylon Tower on the Canadian side of the falls, which stands 775 feet above the falls and offers visitors spectacular views of the falls and the surrounding area.
Other opportunities to view the falls from up high can be found in your own room in one of the several hotels that line the falls. And sometimes, the hotels themselves offer a unique viewing opportunity themselves, as fog and the mist from the falls hover over them and mix with rays from the rising sun to create the effect pictured here.
Sunrise on the falls
Getting up early in the morning to watch the sun rise behind the falls from your hotel room is an easy and worthwhile experience that no words can match.
By far, the best thing to do in Niagara Falls is to explore the falls from every breathtaking angle as we’ve shown here. That said, here are a few honorable mentions not pictured:
- Take an 8-minute ride on the Niagara Skywheel for views similar to the Skylon.
- Get soaking wet in an adrenaline-fueled Jet Boat Tour.
- Explore the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens for lots of beautiful native plants.
- Get your nature on at the Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory.
- Take a Private Winery Tour
- Try your luck at the Fallsview Casino.
We hope these photos inspire you to visit if you are nearby, or consider Niagara Falls as a vacation destination!
Shawn P. Thomas has a way of capturing majestic moments in time and space with his camera. When you explore his portfolio you can expect to be pleasantly surprised by new perspectives on scenes both natural and manmade. You may have never seen streams, skylines, and the odd duck quite like this before. (NOTE: If you plan to share these photos, please attribute the photographer with a link to his site per creative commons licensing: http://www.shawnpthomas.com.)
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