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Visiting Niagara Falls From Both Sides Of The Border

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When I was a child we would visit Niagara Falls during the Summer. An incredible feat of nature, the falls truly are spectacular regardless of how many times you see them. Always a fascination for me, I was excited this year to show them to my boys. As expected, they were just as thrilled as I was to see the water pouring over the ledge hitting the bottom.Niagara Horseshoe Falls

As a Canadian we would often just visit some of the attractions in the area and then end our day looking over the rails from the Canadian side. I would always look across the river and wonder what the view was like from the other side.

Just after I was married my husband and I happened upon the waterway that leads into the U.S. falls while coming home from a cross border shopping trip. Rapids rushing wildly, like the Colorado River, I couldn’t believe how pretty their side of the border was.

During a day trip to Buffalo last week, I stopped just before we crossed the border to give my boys a look at the Falls from the other side and to determine which side was the best for getting the ultimate view of this 10,000 year old geological marvel.

I’ve never been a ‘us’ vs ‘them’ person, but I know that visitors to the area often wonder which side offers the best view.

The Lead Up

On the Canadian side there really isn’t a ‘lead up’ to the Falls. A walkway stretches the whole length of the gorge.  You can stroll at along the river leading up to the Falls, but surprisingly, the water is quite calm before it flows over gorge.

horseshoe falls

On the U.S. side a path meanders through a park to give you views of the Niagara River as it rushes towards the ledge.

view of stone bridge that crosses the Niagara River just before the Horseshoe Falls

Visitors can view the Falls from many different viewing areas staring at the observation tower and moving across to Luna island, Goat Island and over to the Horseshoe Falls viewing area. The walk through the park is quite nice as are the views of the river.

Niagara River leading up to the horseshoe falls

The View

The view from the Canadian side is pretty spectacular. Regardless of where you stand, you can see both the Horseshoe and the American Falls in all of their glory.

Panoramic of Niagara Falls from the Canadian side

There are also quite a few buildings that surround the area that give visitors an overhead view of the whole site.

View of the horseshoe falls from the Skylon Tower
View of the horseshoe falls from the Skylon Tower

The U.S. side, however has a limited view as you standing beside the falls as opposed to looking at them straight on.

American Falls, Luna Island

Aside from a couple hotels in the area and the observation tower(at the top of this picture), there aren’t many tall structures on the U.S. side to get a better look from above.

American Fall from Observation tower

You can get fairly close to the Horseshoe Falls by travelling to the far side of the park, but the view is limited due to the amount of mist coming off of the falls.

Horseshoe Falls from the U.S National ParkView of Horseshoes falls from Niagara Falls State Park


On the Canadian side you can get right into the falls on the Maid Of The Mist or travel behind them during journey behind the falls.

Journey behind the falls

The Niagara State Park offers the observation tower, the opportunity to stand within feet of the Falls at the Cave of the Winds Tour and also ride the Maid Of The Mist.

View of American falls and Cave of the Winds Tour



The United States has us beat with the lead up, but if you really want to see the falls your best bet is the Canadian side. With that being said, I think visitors should see it from both sides because they each have something that is unique.

  • But don’t forget to bring your passport because it will be needed to get into each country.
Lisa Arneill
Lisa Arneill
Canadian mom of 2 busy boys (one with #ASD), photo addict, lover of adventure and wrinkly dogs. Also founder of Growing Your Baby - a parenting website.

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