Niagara Falls is arguably the best vacation destination in the world — not just because it caters to all sorts of travelers, not just because it offers unparalleled natural beauty, and not just because it is nearby, but because it is entirely, 100 percent budget-friendly. If you don’t believe us, check out these four free activities you can do within our parks.
It is impossible to come to Niagara Falls and miss the natural feature that gives the city its name. Horseshoe Falls (and American and Bridal Veil Falls on the United States side) are some of the most magnificent waterfalls in the world, and they are the main reason this little nook of Ontario became such an important vacation destination. While a number of big structures have been constructed to provide better views of the Falls, we believe that the best glimpses of the Falls are caught from the various parks scattered around the city.
There are dozens of opportunities to learn about the history and ecology of Niagara Falls in and around Niagara parks. Niagara is an exceedingly fertile region, surrounded by nourishing rivers and lakes that lend nutrients and water to the soil. As a result, there are all sorts of fascinating plants and animals that call Niagara Falls home. You can learn about some of Niagara Falls’ natural ecosystem in the Niagara Falls History Museum, but you can discover even more for yourself (and for free!) by wandering around the parks yourself.
The Niagara Botanical Gardens offers a dazzling display of seasonal blooms as well as a chance to learn more about horticulture. Home to the Niagara Parks School of Horticulture, the gardens are often teeming with students and teachers who are happy to explain the science of growing things to interested tourists.
Ontario, Canada boasts some of the most beautiful landscapes in a nation of beautiful landscapes, which makes the Niagara region an excellent place to explore nature on foot. There are hundreds of hiking trails around the area designed to cater to all sorts of hiking levels. Most of the trails in Niagara Falls proper are paved with concrete or asphalt to make it easier on novice hikers. For a longer, more intense hike, you can explore portions of Canada’s famous Bruce Trail or take the Niagara River Parkway Recreation Trail along the Niagara River.
The American side of the Falls also boasts some scenic trails. Beginners might want to explore the Great Gorge: Both the Great Gorge Scenic Overlook and the Upper Great Gorge hikes are gentle and easy one- to two-hour hikes. More advanced hikers looking for a challenge can check out the Whirlpool Rapids Adventure Hike, which takes three hours and requires quite a bit of scrambling and boulder-hopping to complete.
With so many things to do and see (and with so many of them absolutely free) you can easily get exhausted running from here to there. However, this trip to Niagara Falls should be a time to rest and relax — and the parks are the perfect place to do that. Find a shady spot to lie down in, close your eyes, and take a break. You can even spread out a blanket and enjoy a picnic meal. Then, you will be ready to conquer your next free adventure in Niagara Falls.