No matter how many times you visit, Niagara Falls is undeniably breathtaking. I could write a thousand descriptive words but, they would not convey what these few photographs do, just as these photographs cannot convey the thrill of actually being there. For us, it was well worth the 30 minute drive from where we're staying to Niagara, New York and well worth my second visit.
Many people confuse it as being one of the Seven Wonders of the World, but it is not on that list. In truth occasionally a self appointed committee comes up with a new list with this title. There is no official list, because there is no recognized worldwide body making the decision of what should be on "the list". However, the list's original "author" proclaimed seven wonders and they are the generally accepted seven. Niagara Falls is considered one of the accepted "seven natural wonders of the world" by most (another non-official list). Whatever? In my opinion "the list", no matter the number or type, should be your own. Whatever wonders you consider Niagara Falls is a good candidate. I offer a glimpse with the hope of enticing you to make the trip even if you must travel a much further distance to get there.
While there, if you're so inclined, check out the equally (if not more so) breathtaking view from Canada. Getting from the US to Canada border is roughly a 20-minute walk across the Rainbow Bridge. It's a no brainer, as long as you have the proper docs. The bridge is an excellent spot for photographs. Lastly, if you can afford it, I hear the helicopter ride is spectacular. The photo op.s from above must be amazing and more than enough excitement for the thrill seeker.
Know Before You Go -
- Requirements by the U.S. for entry and exit are different by foot vs. by car
- People die every year by accidentally getting too close and by recklessness
Entry and Exit Requirements -
By Foot: You can cross from the U.S. into Canada via the Rainbow Bridge, though all persons (including children) must have a passport or proof of identity. For children, a birth certificate will suffice; if the children are not yours, a birth certificate and a hand-written note from the parents are required. A toll will be charged. If you are a citizen of the United States, you do not need a passport to enter Canada. However, you should carry proof of your citizenship, such as a birth certificate, certificate of citizenship or naturalization, as well as photo identification. Parents who share custody of their children should carry copies of the legal custody documents. It is also recommended that they have a consent letter from the other custodial parent to take the child on a trip out of the country. The parents’ full name, address and telephone number should be included in the consent letter.
By Car: New laws regarding travel between Canada and the United States recently went into effect in the U.S. and resulted in a change in the documentation required to enter or re-enter the U.S. by car from Canada. Gone are the days when you can enter the U.S. with a driver’s license and birth certificate. When entering or re-entering the U.S. from Canada by car everyone in the car must show a passport (unless you have other appropriate documentation). Canadian law also requires a passport or appropriate documentation when entering Canada from the U.S. by car.
Visiting the falls can be thrilling, but don't be the wrong kind of thrill seeker while you're there. Getting a little further out or up for that great shot or to retrieve a favorite pair of sunglasses is never worth your life and although the water may be tempting on a hot summers day, the dangers are very real. Keep your children and your pets close. Do not climb on or step over the guard rails. More common than actually challenging the falls are the careless stunts, like ignoring warnings and climbing wet surfaces or climbing walls and sitting on pilings. According to park rangers, scaling walls is dangerous and clearly prohibited, yet tourists do it every day.
Parents are urged to be especially careful with children near water and rapids. Children should not be allowed to run or play on slippery surfaces. They should be discouraged to hang over fences or sitting on them. On the boat tours, scenic walks and tunnels, parent should hold their child's hand and not allow them to wander or play, again according to park officials. Yet, despite the many warnings and the very obvious danger, some people still act carelessly and even dangerously. It is too late to act after the fact and only a lucky few have survived a slip into the water that rages toward the falls.
Next posting Letchworth State Park - the Grand Canyon of New York