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Travel Photo Thursday: Niagara Falls – Tacky Or Beautiful?

Travel Photo Thursday: Niagara Falls – Tacky or Beautiful?

Niagara Falls are the biggest in North America. They’re magnificent, beautiful and inspiring to see. But holy tackiness around the falls – too many souvenir shops, fast food places and tour buses spewing exhaust fumes. If you step away from Niagara Falls and walk the next few blocks into town, it only gets worse. Don’t bother. It’s hard to imagine how glorious the falls would have looked when they were first discovered.

Still, I think they’re worth visiting – especially in the off season or early in the day when the masses haven’t arrived. I used to live in Niagara-on-the-Lake so I’ve visited the falls a lot – and usually as a destination on my bike; there is a particularly lovely bike path that follows the Niagara River beginning in Niagara-on-the-Lake. On a hot day the welcome mist is cooling and on a winter day, icicle studded trees are stunning. Rainbows are common too.

I’ve never been on the Maid of the Mist but it’s actually a trip I think is worth doing – anything to get you closer to the power of the falls and the Niagara River.

"A View of Niagara Falls and the touristy section of Niagara Falls"

A View of Niagara Falls and the touristy section of Niagara Falls

"Maid of the Mist getting close to Niagara Falls"

Maid of the Mist getting close to Niagara Falls

"Maid of the Mist in front of the American side of Niagara Falls"

Maid of the Mist in front of the American side of Niagara Falls

Maid of the Mist boat ride to Niagara Falls

There’s a reason you’re given raincoats on the Maid of the Mist tour – Photo credit: Olivier Guillard

"Above Niagara Falls"

Above Niagara Falls

"Crowds on the New York side of Niagara Falls looking over"

Crowds on the New York side of Niagara Falls looking over

What’s your take on Niagara Falls? Would you bother or have you been??

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Leigh McAdam is a Calgary based writer, author, photographer and social media enthusiast with over 57,000 followers. Her blog: HikeBikeTravel is frequently cited as one of the top travel and outdoor adventure blogs in Canada.

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

This Post Has 21 Comments
  1. This is definitely a place to visit for me!:) Every time I hear about Niagara Falls, I am reminded of my trip to New Hampshire and how near it was to this place and yet I didn’t manage to squeeze time to visit this place:) I would love to visit it and enjoy the breathtaking view of God’s awesome creation:D

    1. It sounds like you must make the effort. I recommend staying over in Niagara-on-the-Lake so you can visit wineries, orchards, perhaps catch a Shaw Festival Play and then it’s only about a 25 minute drive to the Falls. Avoid the midday crush.

  2. I’ve only been to the Canadian side. I’d say the falls are very pretty, but the town was a bit tacky.

  3. Great photos of Niagara Falls. I haven’t been yet, but being Canadian, I feel that it’s something I really would like to see, even if it is touristy.

  4. Great pics. I agree with you — Niagara Falls are definitely worth seeing, but the tourist traps should be avoided. I was there last in late March a few years ago. There had just been a snowfall the day before and it was cold, but the sun was shining and it was a beautiful time to see the falls.

    1. @Laurel They’re wonderful and more Canadian than American – only because the views are better on the Canadian side I think. @Cathy – weren’t you the lucky one with your timing. @Ssar Thanks for stopping by.

  5. I love the Falls, but yes agree the town is the height of tackiness. I’ve visited twice, but have never been on the “Maid of the Mist” either; next time for sure.

    Beautiful shots.

  6. I think it’s still worth it, even with all the tourist. I’m with you though, I can’t imagine how beautiful and amazing it would have been to see without the crowds!

  7. Gorgeous photos.

    You highlight the tourist problem really well – tourism brings income, but it also puts strain on the beauty of the environment tourists come to see. It is a delicate balance to keep the beauty unspoilt, and create an enviroment for the local community to create an income.

    1. Kerry-Ann you nailed the problem on the head. I don’t think during the early days of development much thought was put into anything but the tourist. I think in general we’re cognizant now of what needs to be done to preserve areas of natural beauty – though it’s still a tradeoff with money.

  8. i’ve been to niagara falls twice, once when i was small, and once a few years ago. we went this last time when it was rainy and cold out – we were the only ones there! so i don’t think it was too touristy, LOL!

    great photos!

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