Where Exactly Is Niagara Falls?

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Niagara Falls is one of the best-known waterfalls in the world, drawing visitors to see its incredible power for over two centuries. The falls are a breathtaking sight.

But before you plan your trip, you may be wondering; where is Niagara Falls? We’ll take a closer look at this cross-border wonder and explore how to see it. Let’s get started! 

About Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls is a 167-foot-tall waterfall by the Niagara River along the US-Canada border.

It’s existed for tens of thousands of years, as the Niagara River cut into bedrock flowing north toward Lake Ontario. The first European discovery of the falls on record came in the 17th century, and interest grew as settlement expanded on the American continent.

When officials established international borders between the new United States and Canada, the Niagara River was one of the boundary lines, placing the falls on the line between the two nations.

Tourism peaked in the 19th and early 20th centuries as millions of Americans on the east coast flocked to see the falls and the many tourist-friendly attractions that sprung up around them. 

Today, it lies less than 20 miles from Buffalo, N.Y., and about 40 from Toronto, Ont., with twin cities named Niagara Falls on each side of the border. While the falls don’t command the attention they once did, they still draw vast visitors yearly to appreciate this natural wonder.

It is often a day or less driving for tens of millions on both sides of the border. A plant diverts the river on a nightly and seasonal basis to create hydropower, though an agreement with the plant always requires a flow of water over the falls if possible. 

A boat tour of Niagara Falls

Is Niagara Falls in the USA or Canada?

Where is Niagara Falls? The answer is the U.S. and Canada! Niagara Falls is a collection of three waterfalls. The biggest and most famous is Horseshoe Falls, spanning the USA-Canada border.

Two more minor falls, Bridal Veil Falls and American Falls, are solely in the USA. The massive size of the falls and the surrounding geography make it a true international attraction. 

Which Country Owns Niagara Falls? 

As you might expect from their border location, managing the falls is a collaborative process between the United States and Canada.

While the US addresses American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls, both share Horseshoe Falls, which lies primarily in Canada.

Therefore, it’s hard to say any one country owns Niagara Falls. Instead, they’re shared pieces of international heritage, which two close allies carefully manage. It’s one of the more unique twists to where Niagara Falls is. 

Does It Cost Money to See Niagara Falls?

It may be surprising in an increasingly commercialized world, but it’s possible to check out the wonders of Niagara Falls without paying a dime.

Niagara Falls State Park is on the American side and offers free access daily. Those on the Canadian side can also take advantage of free views of the falls from Table Rock Welcome Centre. 

There are several free ways to see Niagara Falls depending on where you go. However, there are also many other ways to experience the area, costing anywhere from a few bucks to more significant amounts. 

What’s the Best Month to Visit Niagara Falls?

Most visitors travel to Niagara Falls between late spring and early fall. April through September provide the mildest temperatures and the most things to do in the Niagara area.

This is critical for a primarily outdoor attraction like the falls. Winter can provide dramatic views of snow-covered falls and far fewer crowds for those who can brave the western New York and Canada weather.  

How to Visit Niagara Falls in the USA

There’s good news for Americans looking to check out this transnational wonder from the U.S. Visitors to Niagara have a few ways to experience the falls without crossing the border.

Hiking in Niagara Falls State Park

Niagara Falls State Park is the best place to see the falls for free.

But the park has much appeal beyond thrift. This gorgeous park includes land on the shore of the Niagara River, including Goat Island between Bridal Veil Falls and Horseshoe Falls.

Various walking trails weave through the park to viewpoints of the falls. They also cross other attractions like Cave of the Winds. With plentiful parking and free admission, it’s an excellent choice for those looking to see Niagara on foot. 

A Niagara Falls State Park welcome sign

Guided Tours

Numerous tours are available on the American side for visitors who want additional information and context with their visit. Whether on a bus, on foot, or through other methods, these can be a fun way to learn more about the falls and their history.

These include the famous “Maid of the Mist” boat tours, providing one of the best and closest views of the falls. You can find tours at various price points, from affordable short ones to more extended adventures throughout the area. 

Kayaking

For the particularly adventurous and active, there are plenty of kayaking opportunities.

Don’t worry; officials do not permit you to go too close to the falls, either above or below them. There’s little risk of becoming an unexpected daredevil.

But between the other parts of the Niagara River, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, and numerous other bodies of water, kayaking is one of the best ways to get a unique perspective on this beautiful region.

Keep in Mind: Move your kayaking toys to the lake easily with The Best Kayak Trailers!

How to Visit Niagara Falls in Canada

The Canadian side offers a new experience and perspective on Niagara Falls worth checking out, no matter where you hail from. 

Viewing Area

There are several excellent viewpoints and viewing areas from the Canadian side of the falls, including the free Table Rock Welcome Centre.

The area along the Canadian side also includes a long stretch of parks and green spaces. They provide unique viewpoints of the falls and a way to interact with the area’s history. 

Visitors at Niagara Falls in the viewing area

Boat Tour

Like the famous boat tours from the American side, those north of the border can head out on the water to get an up-close-and-personal experience with Niagara Falls.

The best-known may be the famous “Voyage to the Falls” experience. It’s a 20-minute journey into the spray of the mighty waterfall. 

Dining View of the Falls 

Those who’d like to enjoy lunch or relax at the end of the day with a view of the falls will find many options along the Canadian side. These Fallsview restaurants range from upscale steakhouses and Italian bistros to casual buffets.

All take advantage of their excellent location a short distance from Niagara Falls. This makes them a convenient and delicious way to spend your time on the Canadian side. 

Do You Need a Passport to Go to Niagara Falls?

The answer depends on where you’re going and where you are now. Those already in the United States won’t need a passport to visit attractions on the American side.

However, they will need to bring one if they plan on crossing into Canada.

The same goes for Canadians on their side of the border. Therefore, while a passport isn’t necessary, it’s a valuable item to maximize your ability to explore the falls and the surrounding communities. 

Keep in Mind: Looking for ways to save money while on the road? These are our favorite Money Saving Travel Tips We Use All the Time!

How Many Days Do You Need in Niagara Falls?

It’s crucial to remember that everyone travels at a different pace. For those wanting a quick look at Niagara Falls and a souvenir or two, a half-day may suffice.

However, many make a long weekend out of their visit. They’ll have plenty of things to do in this beautiful, unique area. It’s possible to extend your stay to a week or more with trips to nearby cities like Buffalo, N.Y., and Toronto, Ont.  

View of Niagara Falls

Plan Your Adventure to Niagara Falls Today

There’s no place like Niagara Falls for the combination of history, natural beauty, and fun for the whole family.

Only a few hours from many of America and Canada’s most populated areas, Niagara Falls is an international wonder that has brought together two nations for centuries. 

When are you making your trip?

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