Friday, Dec 2022

Natural marvels, world-class entertainment and one-of-a-kind towns; with so much to see and do, prioritizing your Niagara vacation can be overwhelming, to say the least. This leaves many visitors with the sense that while they may have seen and done a lot, their vacation really only scratched the sur- face of Niagara’s many attractions.

For first-timers to the Region, it’s easy to feel like you should spend all your time in the tourist heavy Niagara Falls district. But depending on your length of stay, Niagara’s surrounding pockets hold an abundance one-of-a-kind experiences you do not want to pass by.

Whether you’re visiting the Region for an extra long weekend, touring Niagara for five days or planning a week-long vacation, get inspired by these itineraries to carve out your own adventure.

3-Day Visit

From the jaw-dropping natural attractions of Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake to the bright carnival charm of Clifton Hill, this three-day itinerary highlights the must-see at- tractions for groups who want to enjoy a little bit of it all in a short span of time.

DAY 1:

When you hear Niagara what do you think? Niagara Falls of course! No matter how many times you have visited the Region, the mighty power of this natural wonder never ceases to amaze. Niagara Falls hosts an endless variety of activities, tours and attractions based solely on the history and power of Niagara Falls – all of which bring you up close and personal with the power of water and sets the tone for a perfect vacation in the Region.

Get right into the action by taking a self guided walking tour alongside the waterfalls. From the sidewalk of the Niagara Parkway, you’re able to view, feel and hear the thundering power of both the American Bridal Veil Falls and the Canadian Horseshoe Falls – you’ll even feel the mist that sprays the roadway as you get closer to the Horseshoe. Looking to get even closer than this? The Journey Behind the Falls tour takes you 125 feet down into 130-year-old tunnels through the bedrock behind the Falls – you’ll feel the vibration of the water long before you see it. Don a poncho and step out onto the viewing deck for a once-in-a-lifetime view of the thundering water. Curious where the trillions of gallons of water end up going? The White Water Walk offers a different perspective on the power of the water. Make your way down to water level on another self guided tour along the Niagara River; walk the board- walk and come up close to class six rapids and dangerous whirlpools.

TRAVELING WITH KIDS? Additional activities you may want to include in your first day: Venture into the waters of the Falls on a boat tour with Hornblower Niagara Cruises, dangle high above the Niagara whirlpool on a trip across the river on the Whirlpool Aero Cable Car, take an elevator up 775 feet for a Birdseye view of the falls from the Skylon Tower.

TRAVELING WITH ADULTS? Additional activities you may want to include in your first day: Fly 2200 feet down towards the base of the Horseshoe Falls with WildPlay Niagara Falls

MistRider Zipline, take a one hour high speed ride upriver into the Devil‘s Hole rapids with Whirlpool Jet Boat tours.

DAY 2:

Now that you have enjoyed some of the main attractions, its time to explore the other side of Niagara Falls: Fallsview Boulevard, Lundy’s Lane and the popular Street of Fun by the Falls – Clifton Hill. These streets are filled with restaurants, shows and games for all ages. Park your car at one of the many lots and take in the sights by foot – this will allow you to fully enjoy the lights and sounds at a slower pace and pick and choose your activities as you go. Enjoy a funnel cake, ride the SkyWheel and be a kid for the day. If the weather becomes crummy? Don’t worry! Many of these attractions are indoors allowing for all season fun.

TRAVELING WITH KIDS? Activities you may want to include in your second day: Drive through Canada’s first ever elevated go-kart race course at Niagara Speedway, paint your own pottery souvenir at Crock A Doodle, enjoy year-round 84-degree weather and 16 water slides at the Fallsview Indoor Waterpark, learn to skydive in the safety of an indoor wind tunnel at Niagara FreeFall, take in a Vegas caliber dinner and show at the Greg Frewin Magic Theatre.

Consider purchasing a Clifton Hill Fun Pass which bundles many of Clifton Hill’s attractions [including the Movie Land Wax Museum, Dino Adventure Golf, Wild West and Zombie Attack 6D Motion Rides, the SkyWheel and arcades] together at a discounted rate.

TRAVELING WITH ADULTS? Activities you may want to include in your second day: relax with a cold one at one of Niagara Falls’ many craft breweries including Niagara Brewing Company, Taps Brewhouse and Counter- part Brewing, work as a team to escape from a puzzle based room at the CRUX Escape Room, enjoy a multi-course Niagara farm-to-table meal at contemporary restaurant Weinkeller, gamble and take in a show at the Fallsview Casino Resort.

DAY 3:

Step outside the tourist heavy district of Niagara Falls and explore the quieter side of the Region – including the picture-perfect town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. Tucked along the shores of Lake Ontario, the beautiful historic town and surrounding area is the perfect spot for a day trip. A travel destination for wine lovers and foodies, if you are looking to enjoy world-class cuisine and vintages from top wine makers and chefs, you have come to the right place. Niagara-on-the-Lake is also a great area for families with kids looking to burn off the cotton-candy fun of Clifton Hill with some fresh air.

TRAVELING WITH KIDS? Activities you may want to include in your third day: Burn off some energy and face your fear of heights at WildPlay Niagara’s Aerial Adventure Course – there are three courses available for ages five and up [TIP – bundle this adventure with Wild- Play’s MistRider Zipline from Day 1], enjoy an ice cream cone from COWS on Queen Street, dip your toes in Lake Ontario and enjoy a picnic in Queens Royal Park. Take a tour of the historic Fort George.

TRAVELING WITH ADULTS? Activities you may want to include in your third day: Wineries and breweries galore; explore, sip and sample at over 30 wineries and breweries nestled below the Escarpment and along the Park- way, shop the boutiques along Queen Street in the historic Old Town Heritage District, enjoy a traditional High Tea at the Prince of Wales Hotel, treat yourself to a spa day at the Oban Inn, take in a show at the Shaw Festival Theatre.

5-Day Visit

Have you enjoyed Niagara so much you’ve decided to extend your trip for a few extra days? We do not blame you! With a five-day visit in the Region, you have the ability and time to ex- tend your days past the main hub of tourist activity in Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake and explore the lesser traveled – but equally beautiful and active – pockets of the Niagara Region. Take a bike tour through the town of Virgil, bask in the sun with a beach day in Port Dalhousie or enjoy a show at the First Ontario Performing Arts Centre in St. Catharines – there are so many activities to fill your visit!

DAY 4:

It’s time to ditch your car and enjoy the outer boroughs of Niagara by an alternative mode of slower transportation. Niagara is host to a variety of companies who offer equipment rentals and intimate tours via bike or kayak and sky-high exploration by private helicopter. Explore the surrounding vineyards or savour some of the best wood oven pizzas in the quaint town of Virgil. ZOOM Leisure Bikes, a bike rental company, has over 10 bikeshare locations through- out Niagara and also offers bike delivery and pickup services – saving you from backtracking at the end of the day in order to return your rental. Explore Niagara’s calmer waters and shorelines with Niagara Kayak Rentals. Getting you and your family in the water quick and efficiently, they are one of Canada's first fully mobile kayak rental services, meaning they meet you on site at one of their launch destinations with all of the necessary equipment and training. All you have to do is show up!

TRAVELING WITH KIDS? Additional activities you may want to include in your fourth day: Take a bike ride to NEOB Lavender and pick-your-own lavender bouquets in the fairytale-esque purple plumed field, enjoy a wood-oven pizza on the sun-soaked patio at Bricks and Barley in central Virgil, bird watch from your tandem kayak along the shallow shores of Lake Ontario.

TRAVELING WITH ADULTS? Additional activities you may want to include in your fourth day: Experience the thrill of a lifetime and sore above the turbulent waterfalls on a tour with Niagara Helicopters, cycle over to Wayne Gretzky Winery and sample whiskey flights at their tasting bar, bike to Cheese Secrets and sample the largest selection of Canadian cheeses in the Region, listen to live out- door music on Niagara Oast House Brewers’ flatbed farm truck Federal Stage.

DAY 5:

Take a quick trip down the highway from Niagara Falls and visit the city of St. Catharines for the day. Featuring a thriving alternative arts scene, lively theatre community, beautiful shoreline parks, unique boutique shopping and some of the best food in the Region, this day trip is sure to be a highlight of your vacation.

Start your day at Beechwood Doughnuts – trust us, you won’t be disappointed. The provincially famous doughnut shop is Niagara’s first and only 100 per cent vegan doughnut shop [you would never be able to tell if we didn’t tell you] offering doughnuts the size of your face in unique flavours including: birthday cake, ba- nana bread fritter, chai latte, cookie dough and classic favourites. From here, explore the town’s independent shops selling all kinds of hand- made artisanal goods. Visit the indoor/out- door St. Catharines Farmers Market for local produce and seasonal merchandise – housed in the glass Market Square building every Tues- day, Thursday and Saturday. Looking for more? Venture down the road towards Lake Ontario to Port Dalhousie; known for its waterfront ap- peal and beautiful beach, the town is home to the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta and many beautiful boats can be found docked here.

Finish your day with a show at the First Ontario Performing Arts Centre or the Meridian Centre/Arena – both located blocks from each other in downtown St. Catharines. Both venues host a wide variety of shows, concerts, interactive performances, sporting events and more multiple days of the week, all year round for all ages.

TRAVELING WITH KIDS? Additional activities you may want to include in your fifth day: Take a ride on the antique Port Dalhousie Carousel in Lakeside Park [it costs only five cents to ride!], bounce off some energy at Sky Zone Trampoline Park, enjoy a hike at Decew Falls, visit the petting zoo at Happy Rolph’s Animal Farm, play in the splash pad at Lester B. Pearson Park, get competitive with a game of bowling at Parkway Social (they also have an arcade and laser tag!).

TRAVELING WITH ADULTS? Additional activities you may want to include in your fifth day: Enjoy a craft cocktail and some nostalgia at Ludology Boardgame Café downtown St. Catharines, play a game of volleyball at Sunset Beach, peruse local art and take in some open mic performances at

Mahtay Café & Lounge, enjoy a film and a glass of wine at The Film House – the only licensed cinema in St. Catharines.

7-Day Visit

A week long visit is the ideal amount of time to experience the Niagara Region. The Region spans almost 2,000 square kilometers and is made up of a number of beautiful little towns ideal for day trips away from your hotel – the perfect getaway within a getaway! With a seven-day trip planned, you can venture out to either end of the Region; exploring the quaint towns of Ridgeway and Crystal Beach on one end and the agriculture rich Vineland, Beamsville and Jordan on the other.

DAY 6:

Pack up the car for a day long adventure and head west down the highway towards the areas of Vineland, Beamsville and Jordan. These quiet communities within the town of Lincoln and sur- rounding area hold quaint downtown networks, artisanal restau- rants and over 50 award-winning wineries – which differ from their Niagara-on-the-Lake sisters due to the lakes and placement on the escarpment. The area also has a number of beautiful hiking trails which vary in difficulty and connect to the Bruce Trail [which crosses through the Region].

TRAVELING WITH KIDS? Additional activities you may want to include in your sixth day: Visit Pirate Ship Cove – the first in Niagara to offer an on-the-water inflatable water park along side kayak and paddle board rentals, take a walk at the Balls Falls Con- servation Area and enjoy their beautiful parkland, hiking trails and education programs [run at various times throughout the year], pick your own fruit at Cherry Avenue Farms.

TRAVELING WITH ADULTS? Additional activities you may want to include in your sixth day: Visit the Jordan Art Gallery which promotes original work by Niagara residents, learn the art of distilling at Dillon’s Distillers, take a cooking class at The Good Earth Food and Wine Co., search for hidden gems at Prudhommes Antique and Flea Market, enjoy five-star Mediterranean cuisine at the Lake House Restaurant.

DAY 7:

Take a drive east towards the American border and you will find yourself in the towns of Ridgeway and Crystal Beach. Though qui- et in the winter months, these towns come alive in the spring and summer, filling with tourist looking to enjoy the old-school beach town vibes with their ice cream shops, batten board restaurants, gorgeous sandy beaches and overall laid-back vibes.

The main street of Ridgeway is the perfect spot for grabbing a bite to eat before heading to the beach. Have a snack and a pint at Brimstone Brewery; this local craft brewery features a rotating menu and beautiful outdoor patio – perfect for a sunny day. The brewery is also attached to The Sanctuary - Centre for the Arts – a community-based event and concert space used for private func- tions, classes and all-ages music shows. After lunch, head towards Lake Erie and you will find yourself in Crystal Beach. Spend the day in the clean waters, walking the shoreline and sampling food truck bites.

TRAVELING WITH KIDS? Additional activities you may want to include in your seventh day: Visit Safari Niagara and get up close and personal with more than 1000 native and exotic animals

TRAVELING WITH ADULTS? Additional activities you may want to include in your seventh day: Sample house made choco- lates at Nigh’s Sweet Shop, enjoy live entertainment at the Crystal Chandelier.

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