Tourist Time at Niagara Falls

{Dates of Visit: Sep 5- Sep 11, 2013}

No matter how much we think we loath "tourist traps" we often find that, with an open mind, they are sometimes worth visiting (like House on the Rock and everything in New Orleans). I've never really wanted to go to Niagara Falls. (Truth be told I've never even put Hawaii on my list of places to visit because I imagine it to be completely overrun with tourists and/or felons running from Dog, the Bounty Hunter. And don't get me started on Disneyland or Disneyworld.) I dislike touristy places overall. But, well...Niagara was pretty much on our route and there wasn't much we could do except stop and see what all the hubbub was about.

Probably THE coolest house in Niagara.

We opted to stay at Four Mile Creek State Park for two reasons. First, it was the cheapest place around and second, it was likely to be the least touristy. We were correct on both accounts and the park was actually quite beautiful.

Where Four Mile Creek meets Lake Erie.
So serene with it's own little beach area that was never occupied.
Beach side that was perfect for a kayak launch.
Toronto way off in the distance.
 One of the nice things about staying at Four Mile Creek was that your pass is good for entry into any of the other state parks, including Niagara Falls (the American side), Devils Hole and Wilson Tuscarora State Park beach. And that meant parking was "free". The State Park also sold slightly discounted tickets to the Maid of the Mist and Cave of the Winds found in Niagara.

Tourist time...hook, line and matching ponchos.
Wilson Tuscarora State Park
Wilson Tuscarora State Par That meant parking was "free".
Matching tourists!!
Maid of the Mist at the base of the falls.
The falls view from our boat.
The churning of the water at the base of the falls. It was so loud we couldn't hear each other.
So powerful!
 We had heard that the Canadian side of the falls was the "best" so we drove Chuck (our Jeep) over the Rainbow Bridge to see what it was all about. I'll admit that those Canadians do a great job with landscaping and architecture but they also charge $20 for parking. Needless to say we drove straight back to the U.S. side where our border patrol interrogator scared me into confessing that we'd only spent 10 minutes in Canada. That led to even more questions in which I had to admit we were too cheap to pay for parking. Luckily she laughed and told us about a 'secret' place where we could park for free. But we weren't willing to go back through customs so soon, afraid that someone, some where might be watching a surveillance camera and see us driving back and forth over the bridge in such a short span of time.

Instead we decided to ride our bikes over the bridge. We knew there was a walkway and assumed we could ride (or walk) our bikes safely across the bridge, utilizing the pedestrian customs entry point. But nooooo...bikes must travel with the cars and trucks on the bridge that offers no shoulder. On top of that, they must sit in the lines of vehicles and wait (just like a car) for their turn with the customs agent. Thankfully it wasn't too crowded when we were there.

Welcome to America!

The falls from the top of the Ferris Wheel in Canada.
Oh, Canada...
The moment I became an "International" yogi...

After a great day exploring the falls we rode our bikes to a great Indian restaurant on the U.S. side. It took a little research but we were very happy that we bypassed the cheesy, greasy fast food places that surround the falls on both sides.

Excellent food and service.
It was a great visit and one that we were glad was on the way since we probably would have skipped it otherwise. The city of Niagara Falls was a bit depressing and falling into disrepair. But the falls are pretty majestic. I'll leave you with a few more pictures...

The perfect day!
Nikola Tesla.
Trail to Cave of the Winds.

The Ferris Wheel at night.

Labels: , ,