Niagara Falls Family Trip Recap

Happy Tuesday! I hope you had a nice weekend!  I wanted to share our trip to Niagara Falls that we took a few weekends ago. Our kids had a day off from school so it was a perfect excuse to go on a little road trip. Fortunately, Niagara Falls is only 3 1/2 hours away, so it was a very manageable drive! It is the perfect destination for a weekend trip and you could most certainly make it shorter or longer depending on what you want to do. But I think about a day and half (two nights) is a perfect amount of time for a family trip to Niagara Falls. I’ll share some of our favorites and what to do with kids in Niagara Falls!

Niagara Falls Trip Day One: American Side

We had planned to leave for the trip just after lunch on Friday. But our scheduled family pictures got cancelled, so we ended up leaving just before lunch. We packed some lunch food so we didn’t make ANY stops along the way. That is most certainly a family record for us:) We decided we wanted to stop on the American side of Niagara Falls first. We like checking off states on our family maps (we have this one and this one), and New York was a state we had yet to visit as a family.

So, we followed the directions to the U.S. side of Niagara Falls. I am SO GLAD we stopped on this side. My husband and I had never been to this side of the falls either. So it was a new experience for all of us. It was nice starting on this side and then building up to the spectacular view on the Canadian side!

The weather was rainy and chilly (as compared to the hot temperatures earlier in the week), so it took us a little bit to get adjusted to actual FALL weather!

Taking a family trip to Niagara Falls

You could easily spend a lot of time on this side of the Falls. There are some hiking trails and tours you can take.  Because of the wind and rain, we kept our visit fairly short. We  opted for paying the $2 fee (free for children 5 and under) to see the Falls from the observation deck. It was an awesome view and the kids enjoyed getting their first glimpses of the falls. It really is a spectacular site to see!!

The kids were anxious to get to Canada (their first trip out of the country), so after the observation deck, we got back in the car to drive across the border.

We headed to our hotel and got settled in. We stayed at the Embassy Suites. It was a perfect location and  we had a great view of the Falls. I will say that we did have to walk about a mile to the Falls and the main street, Clifton Hill, with all of the attractions. But, we didn’t mind being a little bit away from the main strip.

That night we went to dinner at Shoeless Joe’s. It was inside a Casino/mall and was a casual sports bar. We were trying our best to avoid all the chain restaurants, as there were many of the usual ones. But, it was hard to find more local food options. Some of us wanted a little after dinner treat, so we got some gelato from a little place right by the restaurant.

After dinner we enjoyed our view from our hotel room and called it a night! We paid a little extra to have a “falls view” at our hotel. While it was just a corner view of the falls, my husband and I agreed it was worth the money…beautiful views at night!

 

Day Two in Niagara Falls: Tours, Walking and Museums

We were up bright and early! Even on vacation, our kids do not sleep in! We started our day taking an incline down to the Journey Behind the Falls tour. The incline was just outside of our hotel and then the tour was right at the bottom of the incline.

We purchased the all day incline pass which was the equivalent of a ride up and down.

The Journey Behind the Falls experience was awesome! You take an elevator down 125 feet and end up in tunnels behind the falls. There were a lot of information about the history of the falls along the tunnel walls which was fun to read about.

The best attractions in Niagara Falls with Kids #kidfriendly #thingstodo

Thank goodness they give you ponchos behind it is VERY wet in the tunnels. Our feet still got wet and we had to keep telling the kids to avoid big puddles. We didn’t want wet shoes for the rest of the day!

Taking Kids to Niagara Falls #attractions #thingstodo #familyfriendly

There is an observation deck as part of the attraction and it gets you so close to the falls. It is beautiful view and we even spotted a few rainbows.

Visiting the Canadian side of Niagara Falls with Kids #tours #attractions #whattodo

We spent about an hour on this self guided tour. After this stop, we headed over to the Hornblowers Niagara Cruise. This is the boat ride that takes you right up to the falls.

 

I will mention that we bought our tickets for both the Journey Behind the Falls and Hornblowers boat cruise in advance. I wasn’t sure how crowded the tours would be this particular weekend. But, after the crowds we faced on our last family trip , I didn’t want to take any chances with this trip.

As it turned out, it seemed to be a very quiet weekend in Niagara Falls. We did not have any lines or any waiting at anything we wanted to do.

The Hornblowers boat tour was probably our favorite attraction of the trip. I had been to Niagara Falls as a kid and this boat tour is the one thing I remember. It is pretty memorable!!

Thank goodness they gave us ponchos (again!). The kids wanted to be right up front-where we were told we could get soaked. We persuaded (forced) them to go up on the second level of the boat which wasn’t supposed to be quite as wet of a ride!

This boat ride was just around 20 minutes, which was the perfect amount of time! They take you right up to the falls and let you enjoy the view for a few minutes. Then you turn around and are back at shore. Any longer of a tour and our kids would have gotten antsy.

What to do with kids in Niagara Falls Canada #attractions #tours #familyfriendly

Everyone was hungry after a busy morning, so it was time for lunch! We googled a kid friendly option in the area and came up with The Works Burger Bistro. This spot was at the top of Clifton Hill (where all of the museums and main activities are located). On our way to the restaurant, we got to see all of the fun attractions that Clifton Hill offers. There is a bit of everything on this street including, haunted houses, arcades, museums and rides.

We scouted out which attractions we were most interested on the way to lunch and told the kids we would pick a few after we ate.

We took advantage of a few, free photo opportunities along the street including world’s tallest man.

Lunch was very good and the restaurant had a lot of unique features. All of our drinks were served in liquid measuring glasses. One cup glasses for kids and two cup glasses for the grown ups.

The menu featured build your own burgers or chicken/veggie burger/turkey burger. There were so many toppings and combinations to choose from. It was a very tasty lunch!

Where to eat lunch in Niagara Falls Canada #restaurants #kids #family  After lunch it was time to hit the strip. My husband and I had done a little research the night before and decided on Ripley’s Believe It or Not as the museum to visit. There is also the Guinness Book of Records Museum but Ripley’s seemed to have better reviews.

All of the attractions along the strip are NOT CHEAP especially for a family of five. So we really had to be choosy on what we wanted to do.

Ripley’s Believe it or Not was very entertaining! This museum had a lot of exhibits and we spent a couple of hours going through it all.

The kids really spent their time on each exhibit. We took another look at the world’s tallest man!

We got a chance to launch some mini barrels over the falls.

After we had covered all of the museum, we were hungry for a snack! We decided, instead of another museum or attraction, we would head to Hershey’s Chocolate World. Thinking this might be more than just a store, we discovered it was really just a big chocolate candy store.

It was okay with us–we were hungry! The Hershey’s chocolate world has candy and baked goods but we were in the mood for ice cream. Fortunately, there is an adjoining soda shop that is inside a Coca-Cola store.

After our treat,  it was time for a break back at our hotel…we were running out of energy! We had over a mile to walk back to our hotel!! It was a very slooow walk.

For dinner, we found a pizza place right near our hotel called Zappis. We stumbled on a gem–very tasty authentic Italian eatery! There was a bit of a wait for a table as we got there right at the dinner rush on a Saturday.

We ordered a big salad, pizza and breadsticks for our crew.

Where to eat with kids in Niagara Falls #restaurants #kidfriendly #wheretoeat

After dinner, it was time for bed. We logged over 15, 000 steps over the entire day—phew! 

Day Three in Niagara Falls: Time to Head Home

After a full day and a half of touring Niagara Falls, we were ready to head home. We could have probably stopped at a few more places on Sunday, but we were tired. We left after breakfast and we were home by lunchtime. All in all, it was a very fun and memorable trip!

What to do with kids in Niagara Falls #familytrip #attractions #tours #whattodo

How to spend 48 hours in Niagara Falls with Kids #attractions #kidfriendly #family #fall

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11 Comments

  1. October 23, 2018 / 7:23 am

    This is a great itinerary! I would love to some day be able to travel to America and Canada even though it is very expensive for us. Nagra Falls is definately on my bucket list but so is America and Canada as a whole. It looks like you all had a wonderful time and it is great that the whole family had a great time.

    D, xo || from https://livedreamcreate-d.com

  2. October 23, 2018 / 8:07 am

    Looks like you guys had a great time! 🙂

    I’ve been to New York once with my dad, and to Florida a couple of times with both my parents, but I have never been to Niagara Falls. Definitely looks like I should go some time. And maybe see some of Canada in the process.

  3. October 23, 2018 / 8:27 am

    We were in Niagara Falls this summer. We stayed on the American side and had a full and fun day. The trolley is super affordable (I think $2 for an all day pass) and it saved little legs a lot of walking. The National Park in NY is great and my eight year old loved the discovery center and all the information about Tesla’s work there.

  4. October 23, 2018 / 10:58 am

    Sounds fun! My children are too little at the moment, but definitely pinning to remember after they are older.

  5. October 24, 2018 / 12:32 am

    this is a great resource for families traveling to Niagara Falls! ya;ll look like you had a blast too!

  6. October 24, 2018 / 11:26 am

    seems like you had a great time. I really should get my kids passports and take them to Niagara Falls. We are from Cleveland also so such a doable drive. I grew up going to Canada every summer.

    • Jaclyn
      Author
      October 24, 2018 / 11:48 am

      Adrienned–You don’t need passports for the kids–just birth certificates!

  7. October 24, 2018 / 11:38 am

    Looks like you made the most of your weekend! This was one of our fave family trips 🙂

  8. Jalisa Harris
    October 24, 2018 / 2:29 pm

    I’ve been wanting to visit here for a while now. Seems like such a great time.

  9. October 24, 2018 / 3:05 pm

    So much fun! I was at Niagara Falls in high school and I think we just looked at it and then kept going (the actual trip was Toronto). The whole area there with the museums and such sounds like fun too!

  10. Mother of 3
    October 27, 2018 / 1:46 pm

    We stayed for a full week (on the NY side) and my husband is the one that made us all stand in the very front of the Maid of the Mist and even with ponchos you get pretty pretty wet!! We also elected to do the walk behind the falls on the same day as the boat ride and my sons were soaked; on the American side you can actually stand under one little corner of the falls that’s supposed to be like being IN a hurricane and my youngest son just loved that corner so much!

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