On the 33rd Day of the PapiBlogger Family Road Trip we took a boat ride into the mouth of the mighty Niagara Falls and also learned first hand why the Canadian side of the Niagara Falls is better than the American side.
TIPS FOR MAID OF THE MIST BOAT TOUR
The best way to view the Niagara Falls on either side, Canadian or American, is with a boat ride into the very ankles of the waterfalls. The only way to get this highly sought after view is on the famous Maid of the Mist boat tour.
The boat tour leaves the Canadian and American side of the docks every 15 minutes until 7:45 p.m. during the summer but to get to the Canadian version of Maid of the Mist can be an ordeal. The parking area is about a mile away in every direction and forget taxis. We didn’t see any. The only way to get there is either on foot or through one of the shuttles.
Once you have your boat tickets, the line moves very quickly but be warned. If you’re taking young children, as we did, you will need to do everything possible to get towards the front of the boat because adults will block their views. If you have a baby you will likely need to get the best position possible AND carry them.
It does no good to delay entering the boat until the next ride because once you’re in the main line near the dock, the boat tour’s crew forces you to enter the boat. That means you have to be aggressive to get the best but wettest views towards the front.
If you’re taking camera equipment, be warned that this boat tour is not for water wimpy cameras. There is a lot of mist showering your boat constantly so the only camera I would recommend for such a ride is one that like our FUJIFILM FinePix XP10 camera can shoot both digital photos and video in wet circumstances.
The Maid of the Mist is called by that name for good reason. The boat goes right up to the intense mist area where the waterfalls converge and not into the actual waterfalls because that would be too dangerous. When you view your photographs or video you will see that most of your images will look enveloped in a white cloud of mist. It’s worth every penny and your kids, like mine, will be thrilled.
WHAT CANADA HAS THAT THE U.S. DOESN’T
Having been to the Buffalo side of the Niagara Falls almost 20-years ago I had heard that the Canada side was better but didn’t fully understand. Now I do. Quite simply, it’s like a tale of two cities.
On the Canadian side you have an ever present, full view of the various waterfalls. You face these waterfalls without much effort. On the Buffalo side, the falls are at an angle where you don’t see them perfectly well the whole time except by either walking a lot or riding the Maid of the Mist boat tour.
On the Canada side you have better waterfall-related programming and exhibits.
On the Canada side you have a nearby town stocked with family entertainment and dining ranging from bowling alleys to a Guinness Museum. The Canadian town is reminiscent of a giant outdoor mall/amusement park area you would find in a place like Orlando’s International Drive. On the U.S. side of the falls there are some things but nothing comparable to the Canadian one. Most of the quality hotel chains are also on the Canadian side.
Like I said, it’s a tale of two cities.
MCDONALD’S BOXING HALL OF FAME DISPLAY
On our way to our next major destination, Salem, Massachusetts, we refueled for dinner and some Frappes at a McDonald’s in Canastota, New York that is next door to the International Boxing Hall of Fame and has a cool display of boxing memorabilia right outside it’s doors.
SPRINT NEXTEL ROAD TRIP TIP OF THE DAY
Don’t exhaust your kids. No matter how much you think your child will enjoy something you’re planning to do on your trip be sensitive to your child’s threshold for tiredness. If children, especially younger ones, are excessively cranky slow your pace down. They won’t enjoy the trip if they’re feeling tired or mad.
DISCLOSURE NOTE: McDonald’s is a sponsor of PapiBlogger’s web site and the road trip.