On the upside, summer is a few months away. On the downside, summer is a few months away, and those months are hardly punctuated with many breaks. If you don’t get a break until Memorial Day, you might be checking your calendar for the best weekend to take a trip to break up the monotony and relax before your big summer vacation.
Despite its brevity, a two- or three-day weekend trip is fun — especially if you choose the right destination. I love to use these opportunities to explore a nearby city I’ve never visited. Most recently, I enjoyed a weekend break in Niagara Falls, and I can safely say that it was one of the best getaways I’ve ever taken. Here’s why.
Niagara Falls Is Convenient
Niagara Falls is built to cater to tourists, making it one of the more convenient cities to explore during a low-stress weekend trip. Unlike more exotic destinations, Niagara Falls is located in an English-speaking region of Canada, meaning you won’t get turned around by road signs in a foreign alphabet, and if you do get lost you can find a local to give you directions in a familiar tongue.
What’s more, the vast majority of Niagara Falls’ attractions are located within walking distance of one another. You can book a room in one of several well-appointed Niagara Falls hotels and enjoy a leisurely stroll along Queen Victoria Park, which is the best viewing space for the falls themselves. You can also mosey to Clifton Hill, where there are a few rides and more than a few arcade games. The best drinking and dining in the city are located in the tourist district, and you can even spend a day walking across Rainbow Bridge to reach the American side of the falls, which has a vast park complex to explore.
Even if you don’t feel like using your feet, you can make use of Niagara Falls’ visitor transportation service, WEGO. These buses go all over the city and even venture into Niagara Valley, where small towns like Niagara-on-the-Lake and St. Catharines offer cute boutiques and wineries with tasting rooms. Since you are only staying for the weekend, you can buy a 48-hour pass for just $13.50 and get anywhere you need to go.
Niagara Falls Is Affordable
Because Niagara Falls is increasingly billed as a family vacation destination, prices for rooms and food are low to keep families coming. That means you can enjoy a weekend here without draining your savings account. You can find a luxurious room in a well-located hotel for around $100 per night — or slightly more for a room with a view of the falls. Meals are equally affordable, especially if you pack your own breakfast and lunch to reserve the bulk of your budget for dinners at highly rated restaurants like the Keg Steakhouse and the Rainbow Room.
Perhaps best of all, you can find plenty of things to do for free around Niagara Falls. Most of the views of the falls and the surrounding region come completely without cost; you can stroll through the Niagara Glen, explore Dufferin Islands, see the whirlpool rapids and more without spending a dime. For more extreme experiences, like a trip around Canada’s largest observation wheel (the Niagara Skywheel), you will pay an entry fee, but you can cut costs on the top attractions by investing in a tourist pass. Usually, your hotel’s concierge will have great deals on such packages.
Niagara Falls Is Exciting
Niagara Falls has been a popular tourist destination for over two centuries, and it shows. The area is well-developed to cater to tourists, much like Las Vegas or Orlando. Thus, even when I was planning my trip to Niagara Falls, I didn’t have high-hopes for finding an authentic and exhilarating experience.
How wrong I was! It’s impossible to deny that Niagara Falls is fun. It certainly has a culture unlike any destination I’ve encountered, and it wasn’t hard to let loose and enjoy myself in this city. The waterfalls are both gorgeous and terrifying; you can see, hear and feel their power from almost anywhere in the city, which makes Niagara Falls utterly unique. If you are looking for a weekend destination that is easy to enjoy from beginning to end, Niagara Falls is your best bet.