SUMMER TRAVEL 2022 – In March 2020, the pandemic shut the U.S.-Canada border to travelers, something that hadn’t happened since the War of 1812.
For 18 months, until August 2021, Americans missed out on magnificent Horseshoe Falls, the carnival atmosphere on Clifton Hill, and luxurious hotels and nonstop entertainment in downtown Niagara Falls.
This year, Americans are streaming back into a full summer season.
“We are very pleased to welcome U.S. visitors back to Niagara Falls Canada,” said Janice Thomson, president and CEO of Niagara Falls Tourism. “With almost 30% of visitation to Niagara Falls coming from the U.S., U.S. visitation is important to our destination.”
Table Rock Centre is where it all begins for tourists from around the world. Situated close to the brink of Horseshoe Falls, where the air is misty with its powerful spray, it’s the indoor place where visitors plan their sightseeing, shop for souvenirs, grab a bite at a casual café (sushi, poutine and more) or fine-dine at a restaurant overlooking the falls.
Outdoors, one can stand along a railing within a few feet of the rushing water, or get the heart racing with one of four adventures.
WildPlay Zipline to the Falls is “a thrilling panoramic ride 220 feet above the natural marvel, with speeds up to 44 miles an hour,” said Thomson.
Or take your own aerial photos while riding high above the falls with Niagara Helicopters.
On Journey Behind the Falls, visitors descend 125 feet below the brink of the falls and walk through 130-year-old tunnels that lead to an observation deck.
City Cruises, Thomson said, is “an iconic boat ride where you get an epic view — and a little wet — as you sail toward the base of the falls.”
In July, the Niagara Parks Power Station, which opened in 2021, unveils its Tailrace Tunnel, which takes visitors underground and then opens up at the base of Horseshoe Falls. The Power Station offers interactive exhibits about hydroelectric power by day, and immersive sound and light shows each night.
Clifton Hill, a 15-minute walk from the falls, is sometimes described as a “mini Vegas,” with its flashing neon and crowds of fun-seekers.
Thomson calls it the “Street of Fun” and “a must-visit for families.”
There’s a zombie ride, four wax museums, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, haunted houses, bowling, a Hershey’s gift shop, fast food, bars (Ontario’s drinking age is 19), restaurants and the Great Canadian Midway with 70,000 square feet of video and arcade games.
The most popular ride on the Hill is the Niagara SkyWheel, Canada’s largest observation Ferris wheel, with a spectacular view of the falls and city. The SkyWheel has enclosed gondola cars and is wheelchair-accessible.
Other top attractions are Dinosaur Adventure Golf, a double mini golf course with 50 life-sized thunder lizards; and Niagara Speedway, North America’s largest elevated go-kart track.
If quiet outdoor spaces are more your speed, the city of Niagara Falls is known for its public gardens and landscaped parks. There are trails for walking and hiking, too.
The Niagara Parks Niagara Glen offers paths along the Niagara River. South of the falls, Dufferin Islands is a secluded parkland with walking trails and picnic areas.
Niagara Falls, Ontario, is a top bicycling destination, with more than 186 miles of routes, including the Niagara River Recreation Trail.
Going to Canada
- From New York state, there are three bridges that carry cars across the river into Canada: the Peace Bridge, the Queenston Lewiston Bridge and the Rainbow Bridge, which is the most direct way into Niagara Falls.
- You can also walk or bicycle to the Canadian falls (five miles round-trip) via the Rainbow Bridge.
- Americans age 16 and older will need a passport, a passport card or an enhanced driver’s license to enter Canada. Children ages 15 and under need a birth certificate or passport.
- Pre-entry COVID tests are no longer required for fully vaccinated travelers, but all travelers must sign up for a free ArriveCAN app within 72 hours before their arrival. Pre-entry testing is required for unvaccinated adults and unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children ages 5 and older. Tests are not required for younger children.