Oh Canada! Our Favorite Things To Do In Niagara Falls.

By Posted in - Canada & Travel Blog on February 18th, 2013 White grapes from a vineyard in Niagara by the Lake.

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The Skylon Tower in Niagara Falls, Canada.

The famous Skylon Tower at Niagara Falls.

Niagara Falls has evolved into so much more than 1960s honeymoon spot of our parents. From the falls to the lake, Niagara has got it going on. Where else can you sip Ice Cuvee at lunch and fly over North America’s most powerful waterfall before dinner? And the fun doesn’t stop there. We’ve put together our favorite things to do in Niagara Falls, just don’t expect the heart shaped hotel Jacuzzi to make the list.

Jet Boat Through Devil’s Hole

Let me first just say that you will get wet, and you will love every minute of your time in Niagara’s whitewater playground. In my teenager years, I went whitewater rafting a few times and loved it. But our river trips were only through class 1-3 rapids, which are fun, but nothing too radical. I had always wanted to go bigger, but, honestly, I was a bit afraid. Well, in July, I finally got my chance to experience the raw power of the Niagara River gorge, whose class 5 rapids are commonly referred to as the “Mount Everest” of whitewater rapids.

This time, though, the raft and paddle were replaced by a Whirlpool Jet Boat, which is a custom vessel that uses a triple turbo diesel jet system for propulsion and steering. The design allows the boat to maneuver through the turbulent whitewater and do unique tricks, like 360 flat spins, in the calmer portions of the river gorge.

Take a Helicopter Ride Over Niagara Falls

An aerial view of Niagara Falls from a helicopter.

How do you make your first helicopter ride even better? You take it over Niagara Falls, of course. I was a little nervous as the chopper hovered off the ground before darting into the clear blue sky, but as we came up over the river gorge, all my worries disappeared as I peered wide-eyed out the window and down to the cauldron of whitewater  that flowed from the three waterfalls.

Beth and I flew the friendly Northern Ontario skies with Niagara Helicopters, which has got it down to an art. Flights are approximately nine minutes long, so not long after one helicopter takes off another lands. As you take off a pre-recorded tour begins playing in your flight headphones, giving you a lot of information and details about what you are viewing. Aside from going over Niagara Falls in a wooden barrel, flying over the mammoth waterfalls is without a doubt the most thrilling way to see these natural wonders.

Sip Ice Cuvee On A Summer’s Day

Looking back on our summer Niagara getaway, I realize now that it was a trip of firsts. But nothing made tingle–not even the jet boat or helicopter ride–the way that my first glass of Ice Cuvee did. A true award winner, Peller Estate’s Ice Cuvee is a spectacular off-dry sparkling wine made with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir Grapes in the traditional méthode’. A ‘dosage’ of Vidal Icewine is then added when the lees are degorged, which helps to create a burst of flavor. Honestly, though, the estate’s Ice Cuvee would be just as good in the dead of a Yukon winter, especially if you were pairing it with an Indian curry dish or some spicy Asian food (pairing tip courtesy of Peller Estates).

Tour the wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake by bicycle

White grapes from a vineyard in Niagara by the Lake.

I like wine tasting. I also like riding bikes. So when I found out that they two activities have been combined at Niagara-on-the Lake, I was psyched. Unfortunately, we were a little late getting into the area, so we didn’t get to partake in this activity. But since I already did the research, I figured I’d go ahead and include it here.

Niagara-on-the-Lake is home to more than 30 wineries, ranging from small cottages to world class estates,  each bringing its own personality to the grape. Set along the historic south shore of Lake Ontario, a virtually flat bike path runs from Niagara-on-the-Lake to the falls. Our plan was to take to our bikes after our sensational lunch at Peller Estates and head up to Trius Winery at Hillebrand for a summer jazz festival. In the end, we did get to visit both wineries, we just had to do it by car.

In addition to bicycle rentals, several outfits also do wine bike tours, which I think would make for a perfect afternoon. For more information about renting a bicycle or doing a wine tour, check out Zoom Lesiure Bikes. They’ve got a location at the lake and the falls, and even offer free delivery of the bike within 8km of either one of their shops.

What are some of your favorite things to do in Niagara Falls?

*While we were hosted by the Canadian Tourism Board, our thoughts and opinions are entirely our own.

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*Please remember all photos on this website, unless otherwise noted, are copyrighted and property of Beers and Beans Travel Website & Bethany Salvon. Please do not use them without my permission. If you do want to use one of them please contact me first. Thanks!

 

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(16) awesome folk have had something to say...

  • Raymond @ Man On The Lam -

    February 18, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    Did you do the Behind the Falls tour? That was my favourite part…

    • Bethany -

      February 27, 2013 at 9:30 pm

      No, we didn’t have time on this trip. I did it once when I was a kid though and it was really fun. 🙂

  • Jennifer -

    February 18, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    I haven’t been to Niagra Falls since I was a kid! This post makes me want to include a visit on my quick trip to my hometown in May.

    • Bethany -

      February 27, 2013 at 9:30 pm

      Oh you should go! It’s such a quirky, fun place. 🙂

  • Alouise -

    February 19, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    I’ve never been to Niagara Falls, but I should be going to TBEX in Toronto, so I’ll definitely be taking a trip there. I’m not very adventurous but that jet boat ride sounds like a lot of fun.

    • Bethany -

      February 27, 2013 at 9:33 pm

      Thanks for commenting Alouise! The boat ride was a lot of fun – you don’t need to worry about it being too adventurous but it is really fun and exciting!

  • TammyOnTheMove -

    February 19, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    The helicopter tour looks awesome. I have done one over the Iguacu Falls in Brazil and I loved it. You get such a different perspective of the scale!

  • Cassie -

    February 20, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    Just what Alouise said, perfect timing for TBEX and the jetboat sounds fun!

    • Bethany -

      February 27, 2013 at 9:34 pm

      Yes, so true! If going to TBEX it’s a perfect side trip! Hopefully we’ll see you at TBEX 🙂

  • Brandon Elijah Scott -

    February 24, 2013 at 7:12 am

    Good stuff 🙂 Love it there!

    • Bethany -

      February 27, 2013 at 9:36 pm

      Thanks Brandon – yeah it is a pretty neat spot for sure.

  • Dariece – Goats On The Road -

    February 27, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    This is embarrassing, but even though I’m a Canuck, I have yet to go to Niagara Falls! In my defence, I’m from the westcoast, so it is quite far away…

    One day I’ll make it over there, it would be a great place to experience my first helicopter ride!

    Cheers 🙂

  • Dariece – Goats On The Road -

    February 27, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    This is embarrassing, but even though I’m a Canuck, I’ve never been to Niagara Falls! In my defence though, I’m from the west coast, so it is quite far away..

    It’d be a great place for my first helicopter ride!

    Cheers 🙂

  • creative nomad -

    March 14, 2013 at 9:17 am

    ohhhh this looks amazing! I love the idea of the rapids! the falls are on my to do list

  • Matt -

    June 12, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    Thank you for highlighting some of the classier things to do in Niagara Falls. I’ve lived in the Niagara Peninsula my whole life and there are definitely some hidden gems here. If your back in the area in the future I suggest you check out some of the wineries on the Beamsville bench. In my opinion they produce nicer wine then NOTL. In Niagara Falls the parks along the parkway are worth stopping for. The Butterfly Conservatory is awesome and just across the road is the Niagara Gorge which is a great place to hike. I hope you enjoyed your time here and come back to explore some more.

    • Bethany -

      June 14, 2013 at 1:07 pm

      Hi Matt! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. We really loved our time in Niagara and we did hit up the Peller Estates Winery when we were there. Would love to see more of them though and the Butterfly Conservatory sounds awesome – hopefully we can make it back sooner rather than later. 🙂