A few months ago, I made the somewhat spontaneous decision that I wanted to go to Niagara Falls. I have always been told that the view from the Canadian side is a lot better so I knew I had to go to Canada. I decided I wanted to take my younger brother and sister, so I made my mom get them passports and I booked everything. I honestly didn't do any planning really for the trip, I looked up what there was to do up there and I had an idea of what I wanted to do, but I also asked the kids what they wanted to do too.
Friday, May 25
We drove up to our AirBnB. To get to the border it took about five hours. Then we sat at the border for two hours. It was horrendous. I thought it would be smooth sailing, since we got there around 11pm, but nope, it was super crowded. We crossed a two lane bridge to the border stop. As soon as we got off the bridge, the lanes went away and it was just a jumbled mess of cars. There were four stations open to check passports, but there were about ten messy lines of people trying to merge and cut in front of others. We sat in that mess for two hours. If any of you know me and how I drive, I am usually not an aggressive driver, I'm terrible at merging and I try not to be a jerk and cut people off. This made me do both. It was like playing chicken with cars to try to get into the four lanes.
As soon as we got through the border stations, it was smooth sailing... kind of. Since it's a different country, we had to turn our phones off and couldn't use data, which meant no Maps. I had my sister write down the directions from the border to the house but it was still super confusing and at this point, I was super cranky, tired, and wanted to sleep. Luckily my sister is a night owl and helped keep me awake and find road names. We eventually got to the AirBnB around 1:30am. We went straight to sleep.
Saturday, May 26
We started out the day by sleeping in. I think we got out to explore around noon. Luckily our AirBnB is just a short walk from the Falls. Our first stop was at the Secret Garden Restaurant. The food was pretty good, but the service was really slow. But we could see the American Falls from our table which was awesome.
After breakfast we headed down to Horseshoe Falls. There was a big building there called Table Rock, with gift shops and restaurants inside of it. We perused the gift shops and then hung out in the grass next to the Falls for awhile. I love the sound of the water falling.
Around 5pm, our tour started. It was called "Behind the Falls". We went underground to a series of tunnels, two of which went behind the Falls, one that came out to a little viewing area at the bottom of the Falls. The viewing area was our favorite. Watching the water fall over the edge right in front of you was amazing. We also got to see a rainbow formed from the mist while we were down there. It was really pretty!
When the tour finished, we got some pizza and hung out in the grass again while we ate. We were waiting for the sun to go down so we could see the lights behind the Falls.
We were all starting to get really cold, the temperature was dropping and the mist from the Falls was getting really cold. We started heading back to the house but I would stop the kids every once in awhile to take pictures. We had some leftover pizza that we were going to take back with us, my brother set it down on a rock behind us while we took a picture and a seagull came up and grabbed a piece. He started to fly off with it but my brother ended up swatting at him and he dropped it (we threw the piece away). But I actually got a picture right at the moment that the bird was swooping in. It was really cool!
Sunday, May 27
Sunday morning started out on Clifton Hill. We had breakfast at Ihop. $70 US for three peoples breakfasts, one of which ordered of the kids menu?? What?? Food up there is very expensive, no matter where you went. We went to Subway for dinner that night and it was $40 US for two footlongs and a six inch. Oh well, at least we ate well. If you go, make sure you have a lot budgeted for food. Anyways, after Ihop we went to a glow in the dark putt putt course. I ended up winning by one point, despite my brothers hole in one. Then we walked down to the wax museum and went through there. It was not nearly as good as the one in NYC, but it was still cool. It had a haunted maze at the end of it that the kids wanted to go through. I am a major chicken when it comes to haunted/scary things so I might have tried to run out at one point... but instead of quitting, I just hung on to my sister for dear life.
We walked down to the water and bought tickets to go on the Hornblower, which is the Canadian version of the Maid of the Mist. We didn't have to wait long at all to get on the boat, maybe 10 minutes. We cruised to Horseshoe Falls and then stopped in the middle of the mist. It was really cool! We probably floated there for 5 minutes, enough to get pretty soaked. My glasses were so wet, I couldn't see out of them after.
After the cruise, we headed back to the AirBnb to rest for a bit. We came out later that evening, grabbed dinner, and walked along the water until we found a good spot to watch the fireworks. They had the Falls lit up. The American Falls looked like the American flag and Horseshoe Falls looked like it was supposed to be red and white like the Canadian flag. We had no idea where they were going to light the fireworks from, we just chose an empty spot to stand, but they ended up lighting them off almost right in front of us. The fireworks took up my whole range of vision, it was awesome! When the fireworks finished, we headed back and went to bed.
Monday, May 28
I woke the kids up bright and early at 8am on Monday. We packed and were out the door by 9am. I didn't know how long we were going to be stuck at the border again and I didn't want to get home super late. Crossing the border back to the U.S. only took about ten minutes, there were two cars in front of us and the border patrol didn't ask us nearly as many questions. I drove straight home while the kids slept, it took about five and a half hours to get home. I think we were all ready to be back.
Overall, it was a good trip. I'm glad that I saw Niagara Falls and I'm glad I took my brother and sister. This will be a trip they will remember forever and I'm happy I could give them the experience of going out of the country, even if it was only right across the border.