Niagara Falls with a toddler (and baby!)

We were a little bummed about not going on the annual beach trip to Bald Head Island, especially because my sweet Godson Henry was being baptized. But, keeping in mind we just moved our kids twice this summer and I am about to go back to school, we decided it was best to either stay home or make a smaller trip.

Matt suggested Niagara Falls, and at the last minute (about 24 hours before!), we pulled the trigger and made reservations. We weren't able to find his passport in our mess of a garage, so we knew we would only be able to visit the American side. We still had a great trip, though.

Before a million photos, a few tips if you are planning to travel to the American side of Niagara Falls:

1. Find your passports (adults) and birth certificates for the kids. Though the American side was beautiful, clean, and not crowded at all, there would have been a lot more to do on the other side.

2. If you stay on the US side, stay at the Comfort Inn at The Pointe. It was inexpensive, accommodations were clean and comfortable, and we literally looked right at the entrance to the park (Niagara Falls is a national park, if you didn't know:) It may not be the fanciest hotel, but you can look it up and see how many people agree that it is fantastic. Also, the breakfast is not to be missed.

3.  Don't bring your double stroller!  We don't have one, and that ended up being the best way. The paths can be steep, and I can't imagine pushing TWO kids up the hill in a double. We just brought Rhys' travel system and Larkyn's umbrella stroller.

4. Don't buy the Discovery Pass if you have little ones. For adults or older/more adventurous kids, it is a great value. But for us, we never knew who would be cranky, who would suddenly be scared, or all those lovely unknowns that come with 0-3 year olds. I kind of cringed that we didn't actually "do" anything other than go see the falls each day, but did I want to put our family through a boat ride when one of them is terrified of water? We asked her at least 20 times, hoping she would say yes to the Maid of the Mist. No luck.

Cave of the Winds would have been cool and we saw people on that tour. They were absolutely drenched and it is not stroller accessible whatsoever. Last- if we had had a rainy or really hot day, we would have done the Aquarium. The locals all recommended it, but I didn't want to go inside when it was so nice out. So technically, we spent ZERO dollars on enteraintment because the park is free. PS- if your kids stay up a little later, there are fireworks a few nights per week and the falls illuminate every night.

5. Be ready to drive if you want to see things OTHER than the Falls. There is lots to do across the bridge in Canada or if staying in the US, further East in the little towns along the lake (Olcott and Lewiston). It all requires packing up and heading out. You can see all of Niagara Falls USA in a day, so plan to take a day trip or two.

6. Bring layers. We went in August, which was absolutely perfect weather. Breezy and sunny (which means a little chilly in the morning).

7. Ask around (which I do on every trip). Every time I bought something, I casually got some information out of each merchant. People love to tell you about where they live. That is how we found where to buy Niagara wine without going to a winery (The Trading Post, 427 1st Street).

OK, business out of the way. Here is a glimpse of our little trip up North!

 Both boys happy to be out of the car

 Prospect street, where we stayed. Since it is all part of the park, it is SO clean and pretty!

 Minutes away from our hotel, the Three Sisters Falls to the left
 On the observation deck. Rhys was asleep.

 Looking the other way off the Observation deck at Rainbow Bridge (where you cross to CA)

Across the street from our hotel were our favorites: NY style pizza by the slice at Mario's (we LOVED it and are picky pizza eaters) and ice cream

The next morning, we walked across the pedestrian bridge over the rapids. It was a beautiful walk and we were the only ones out at 9 AM.

 We were headed to Luna Island for the prettiest views...

 Luna Island. This is looking at the 3 Sisters, Observation Deck, and Rainbow Bridge. That lookout is not stroller accessible yet (but the entire park is under construction to make it all accessible-yay!)

Another reason Luna Island was awesome: rainbows galore! 

He didn't get to go down there because of the stroller issue, but Matt and I took turns taking Larkyn down there. He doesn't look concerned.

 I wish there was a better way to photograph Horseshoe Falls from the US. It was cool to be right on top of it, but you can't see from this picture how massive it is all the way around

I think this was a really fun trip for her. This was the first time I saw her really comprehend a vacation. She was excited every time she saw our hotel, got over her fear of elevators, and enjoyed the sights of  new place balanced with a schedule that was not overloaded. That is just her speed.


Nana said...

So happy you got to take your sweet family trip to Niagara Falls. The pictures are wonderful!

Schneider 4.0 said...

Yay for vacay!

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