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Niagra FallsFirst formed eons ago during a period of ice age glacier movement - followed by gradual melting - the falls epic journey from Great Lakes runoff to a roaring waterfall rose to national prominence as a prime tourism spot only in the 19th century.

Touted as New York State's most popular tourist attraction, the number of visitors later increased tenfold with the rise of the early 20th century automobile as the falls' popularity grew steadily as an iconic symbol of nature's might and power.

Today, Niagara Falls continues to roar to the delight of travelers who come to ogle one of America's most impressive natural wonders lying majestically (and conveniently) on the New York - Canadian border, Needless to say, today Niagara Falls also remains one of the nation's top honeymoon destinations.

Getting to Niagara Falls

You can still get to Niagara by car with easily marked highways pointing directly at Niagara Falls, i.e., from New York, Boston, and the East Coast, take I-90 W towards Buffalo to the 290 W. Exit onto the 190 N towards Grand Island and Niagara Falls. From Chicago and the Midwest: take I-90 East towards Buffalo to the 190 W. and follow signs for Grand Island and Niagara Falls.

Visitors further afield can fly into the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport with flights bookable across the United States, followed by an easy half-hour car ride to the falls. To visit the Canadian side of the falls, frequent flights are available into Toronto Pearson International Airport, but from there expect a 1 1/2 hour drive from the airport to reach the falls by car.

What to see and do at Niagara Falls

For the easiest and most spectacular views, simply follow the crowds to the falls, and walk around the clearly marked walks and pathways.

Also don't miss the pedestrian path across the bridge to Goat Island for different photo opportunities and vantage points. Of course, no visit to Niagara Falls would be complete without a scenic boat ride on the Maid of the Mist tour for an up-close, breathtaking and very wet) excursion to the base of the falls. Although a thin poncho is provided, extra rain-proof clothing is always recommended!

Niagra falls at night
A view of Niagara Falls at night.

For another less tumultuous look at Niagara Falls, take the Cave of the Winds elevator ride down to the American Falls, although here, too, expect to get wet during the guided walk provided around the base. Later, dry-off with a very relaxing and narrated trip aboard the Niagara Scenic Trolley with hop-on, hop-off stops throughout Niagara Falls State Park.

With a gaggle of kids in tow, also don't miss the Niagara Adventure Theater (located at main the visitor's center) for an IMAX-size hour-long film presentation of the falls' place in history and pop culture. Just outside Niagara Falls State Park, the Aquarium of Niagara also comes highly recommended with feedings of shark, seals and penguins on the hour.


Where to stay at Niagara Falls

As a major tourist and honeymoon destination, Niagara Falls accommodations range from major hotels to family-friendly motels to bed and breakfast establishments.

Downtown, the most modern hotels are the Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel and The Red Coach Inn. On the Canadian side, Sheraton Fallsview Hotel & Conference Center sits on Horseshoe Falls and is only minutes away from Maid of the Mist. Nearby, the small town of Niagara on the Lake in Ontario is another notable place to stay while on a visit to the falls offering a network of fine hotels and B&B's.

DID YOU KNOW? Niagra Falls Fun Facts

Superman to the rescue!

• Niagra Falls has been the movie back drop for scenes from "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End", "Superman", and "Niagara" starring Marilyn Monroe.

• True fish story: About 90 percent of fish that travel down Niagra Falls survive thanks to the foamy cushion on the way down.

• The first person to ever go over the Niagra Falls was 63-year-old teacher Annie Edson Taylor who traveled down the Falls in a barrel.

• Act fast! At the current rate of erosion, scientists believe that Niagara Falls will be gone in around 50,000 years.

• From about noon onwards, you are almost always guaranteed to see a rainbow if you’re on the Canadian side of the Falls.


More about Niagara Falls vacations & travel around the Web:

Niagara Falls State Park - The official New York site with extensive information on vacation packages, hotels and honeymoon bookings, restaurant guide, online purchase of discount Discovery Pass, major attractions, history and fun facts, photos.

Niagara - The Canadian Falls, covered extensively with information on vacation packages, hotel booking, guides to major and nearby attractions, live webcam, photos and video.

Niagara Falls - Wikitravel - Excellent overview with guides to getting there and getting around, including suggested restaurants and hotels, what to see, nearby attractions, with related resources and photos.

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