For our getaway as a family of four, we decided to go somewhere beautiful, romantic, and family friendly. So, we went on a Niagara Falls family vacation.
First Family Vacation to Niagara Falls
If you haven’t been to Niagara Falls, it is truly a sight to see. With rolling water, a misty spray, and three different falls on the Canadian and American side, Niagara Falls is truly beautiful. People from all over the world flock to the falls for fun, romantic, and family-friendly vacations.
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Our vacation to Niagara Falls was for some family fun, but it was sweet to see a little romance while we were there. When we were standing in front of the falls, a man beside us went down on one knee and asked his girlfriend, “Will you marry me?” We watched her gasp, catch her breath, and excitedly exclaim, “Yes!” My five-year-old daughter clapped when they hugged and announced, “They’re going to get married!”
With a bit of romance and family fun, Niagara Falls was the perfect place to celebrate our 8 year anniversary. Instead of getting each other a classic gift of pottery or bronze, we decided to do something a little different. We took a little family vacation. There’s no better gift than time with people you love, right! So, we planned a mini, two-day family vacation.
On the first day of our Niagara Falls family vacation, we wanted to just walk around and explore. Unfortunately, the weather had other plans. It rained and rained and rained. So, we enjoyed some quality family time indoors and saved the falls for the next day. We had dinner, with a view of the falls and just laughed about the weather.
When the next day came, we went straight to the falls. My daughter couldn’t get over the beauty of them. We walked along the sidewalk in front of the falls and we kept stopping to look at them. Just look at how beautiful they are, even on a cloudy day.
Niagara Falls City Cruise on the Hornblower
As amazing as the Niagara Falls is from the walkway, nothing compares to experiencing it up close. In the picture below you can see two boats in front of the falls. The red one is the Hornblower and the further away one is the Maid of the Mist. Both offer amazing views of the falls. The Hornblower is available on the Canadian side and the Maid of the Mist is on the American side.
Since we were on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, we decided to go on the Hornblower cruise. The experience was amazing. Once we got our tickets, we walked down the ramp to where you board the cruise. From there, you have amazing views of the American Falls. We waited in line for maybe 15 minutes before it was our time to cruise. We put on our red ponchos, which we definitely needed, and we waited to ride. Our kiddos made the best of it even though the sun was in their eyes. (Guess we’ll need sunglasses for them on our next trip.)
Before we knew it, the boat was boarding. It’s a two story boat. Many of the passengers quickly climbed the stairs to the upper level. Since we had a stroller, we stayed on the lower level and found a spot to stand in the front of the boat.
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The views were unreal. The boat cruise starts at the American falls, you can see it below.
The boat ride continues to the Horseshoe Falls, also known as the Canadian Falls. It is the largest of the three falls. Once you are in the middle of the falls the boat stays there for a bit so you can experience having the waterfalls all around you. Below is a picture of the falls as we approached it.
When you are in the middle of the falls, it’s amazing because the falls feels like it is all around you. On the day we were there, the mist was so strong we got super wet. At some points, it was so misty you could hardly take it all in.
We laughed as our hair and clothes got wetter and wetter. Luckily we had those red ponchos, so it wasn’t too much.
If getting wet isn’t your thing, the people on the upper level did not get nearly as wet as those on the lower level. So, you can still get up close with Niagara Falls and stay a little drier.
Luckily, it was a warm September afternoon, so the water was refreshing and beautiful. You can see our smiling wet faces when we got off the boat!
What a perfect way to celebrate our anniversary! Whether you are planning a trip with your family, friends, or a romantic getaway, Niagara Falls is a wonderful place to visit. We are so happy that we made it our first family vacation.
Second Family Vacation to Niagara Falls
Four years later we decided to visit Niagara Falls again. While we weren’t celebrating our anniversary this time, it seemed like the perfect little family getaway. Our youngest daughter hardly remembered visiting the falls the first time. All that she remembered was the picture of us as a family in front of the falls that hangs in the hall upstairs near her bedroom.
So, this seemed like the perfect time to create new Niagara Falls memories. And since both kids were finished camp for the summer, this would be the perfect little summer celebration getaway before school starts up again.
As much as we loved the city cruise, we wanted to experience Niagara in new ways this time. After some fun family holiday planning talks, we decided to visit Journey Behind the Falls and the Butterfly Conservatory.
Journey Behind the Falls
If I thought I got close the falls on the Hornblower city cruise, Journey Behind the Falls gets you so much closer. It’s located at the base of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls and you are so close to the water, it feels like you can almost touch it.
When you enter Journey Behind the Falls, you go down an elevator and then there are two tunnel hallways. One towards the falls to a lookout with a lower viewing area. And the other leads behind the falls, where there are cutouts the water.
We started at the lookout. The lookout has two different levels for viewing the falls – an upper level and a lower one. The kids were instantly struck by the falls. We all stopped at the top area to look at it before heading down the stairs, to get even closer.
It gets a little wet being so close to the falls, luckily they give you yellow rain ponchos to help keep your clothes dry.
We were all so excited to see the falls. It’s hard not to be amazed by the sheer size of it – the expanse, and the sheer volume of water that’s pouring down all around you.
In the first picture below, you can see the edge of Horseshoe falls that you get so close to. And you can also see the American Falls, that’s a little further away.
We tried to get a picture of our family with the horseshoe falls behind us. There was so much mist in the air, it’s hard to see the entire horseshoe curve of the falls, but it was still beautiful. And it was even more amazing in person.
Next, we headed down another tunnel to check out one of the lookouts behind the falls. The tunnel is cut right into the rock, so you can actually see the falls and get even closer to the water.
There was a line of people patiently waiting to get near the water. When you are standing there, you can feel the beat of the water rushing down the falls. It’s amazing!
When it was finally our turn, we walked up and got closer to the falls than we ever thought possible. Even with the crowds and the rushing water, it feels so calm to be right beside the falls.
Walking into the Butterfly Conservatory is in one word MAGICAL. In the large glass enclosed building, there are over 2,000 vibrant colored butterflies flying freely through the lush flowers and plants and trickling waterfalls. It’s like walking into a fantasy world where butterflies are bigger and brighter than you ever imagined. And they are all around you.
While were butterflies were flying, others were resting on a leaf or a flower. And if you were still, sometimes a butterfly would even land on you.
I was in awe. And I couldn’t believe how many different colors and types of butterflies there were. Each one was more beautiful than the last. But my favorite was the blue one, the Blue Morpho. I took so many pictures of the Butterflies, but they were even more beautiful in person.
There were even designated feeding areas for the butterflies where there were orange slices, flowers, and tree branches. It was so interesting to just watch them. This was a time when they were not flying around, so you could just marvel at their beauty.
Just look at the two butterflies below. Look how beautiful they are while they are eat.
After walking through the conservatory for a bit, my older daughter wanted a butterfly to land on her hand. One of the people who work there told us that if you rest your hand or finger in front of the butterflies’ legs while they rest on a leaf, the butterfly may walk onto your hand. But you need to be careful and only touch the butterfly’s legs and not its wings.
It took some time, but after a little while, there were a few butterflies who really started to like us. They would rest on my hand, fly and land on my shoulder, and just flutter around us. Sometimes even two butterflies would come by. And then finally, one landed on my daughter’s hand. She was so excited.
We had such a wonderful time on our two different Niagara Falls vacations. We can’t wait to go back and try even more fun-filled activities.
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