We visited one of the seven wonders on our last vacation and it was oh, so beautiful. Niagara Falls is worth the trip! It was stunning. The pictures in this post don’t do it justice.
We had been planning this trip for a long time, but the closer it got the more nervous I got taking my two young children. I was literally having nightmares that they fell over the side of the falls. I almost backed out! I am glad to report that I didn’t because we had a great time!
So I am writing this post in hopes that it will help parents who are planning a Niagara Falls trip to rest easy.
First of all, we only did the American side. I have heard amazing things about the Canadian side (various reports say both positive and negative things about the Canada side being kid-friendly), but I wouldn’t know because we decided to not do the passport thing (you need those now to cross to see Niagara falls on the Canadian side). So everything I write about in this post is about the American side.
This is a snapshot of the Canada Side….
Also, we did not stay there overnight. We only did a day trip and we stayed for the fireworks, so I don’t know of a great place to stay nearby because we drove in for the day.
We drove in and parked at Parking Lot 1 because we decided to do Maid of the Mist first and that was the closest parking lot to that excursion. Again, I had serious nerves taking the kids on Maid of the Mist, but it was actually great! That was our favorite part of the trip.
Maid of the Mist
It was $19.95 per adult and $11.95 for kids ages 6 and up to ride the 20 minute boat ride called Maid of the Mist. I was kind of worried about spending a lot but let me tell ya, the Maid of the Mist was worth every penny!
It’s completely stroller (and wheelchair) accessible. There are elevators to take you all around. We kept our three year old in the stroller all the way until we were on the boat and once we were on the boat we got him out and closed the stroller up and they had a place for us to stow it.
My husband held our three year old the whole time and I stayed very close, holding my five year old’s hand the whole time too. It’s very safe, but I would still hold tight to the little ones and not let them wander around the boat because when we drove into the horseshoe falls it was very rocky (and wet!).
Also, keep in mind that on Maid of the Mist you will get wet. They give you fun ponchos to wear, but it is windy and misty and you will get wet. My daughter loved it, but my three year old wasn’t so sure. He is a little more nervous about things so he held tight to my husband.
The view you get on Maid of the Mist is amazing! Just absolutely amazing. These pictures don’t even do it justice….
Once we got off the Maid of the Mist we went up a ramp to the elevator and it took us up to the top of the falls again. This was the only part I was nervous about. We were really high! Really high up! My daughter is fearless and went right up to the railing to see out. It was very safe but I was so nervous that I made her get off the bridge quickly.
Again, railings were secure…it was just me being nervous with the heights.
We walked through a cute park where you can take a trolley from one view spot to another. We didn’t take the trolley but if you don’t want to walk a lot I would suggest it.
Then we decided to stay to see the falls at night because they do a light show on both sets of falls and they do fireworks over the American falls. What we gathered was the horseshoe falls are the “Canadian falls” and the other waterfalls are the “American Falls.” So we thought the fireworks were going to be over the horseshoe falls and we were sitting in the wrong spot. We even saved our seats for a long time.
I would suggest seeing the horseshoe falls from the top of the American side (on Goat Island) during the day and then see the American falls at night because you will get a better view of the fireworks.
We walked from the view of the American Falls near Maid of the Mist to Goat Island and it was a lot of walking but it was great to see those falls from the top.
I wouldn’t let the kids go down by the guard rails because they made me nervous. There’s nothing between the guard rails and the falls so as a nervous parent, we stayed at an upper level a little further away to see the horseshoe falls. We even parked our stroller and sat in the grass and the kids could stretch and run around a little.
It was definitely cool to see both views of the falls: the view from up top and down below on the Maid of the Mist. We got to see it at various angles which made our experience more unique.
Overall, you can definitely do Niagara Falls with young kids. I suggest bringing a stroller or even a baby carrier if you have infants or young children. Also, having a plan before you go will help eliminate extra walking. They have lots of spots where you can ask volunteers and employees for directions or suggestions. There are also maps all around to grab and help you navigate.
I would love to hear about your trip to Niagara Falls so comment below!