It is finally 2023 and I was excited to plan my first trip of the year. After traveling back to back at the end of 2022, and hosting my daughter’s quinceanera, I needed a break and just wanted to stay home for a bit. I was heading to the Detroit area for a family function and it was the weekend before the school’s spring break, so I decided to make a vacation of it. My family also allowed me to stay with them, which was a travel hack I have in my last blog post “Free or Inexpensive things to do with your kids”.
I have been wanting to go to Niagra Falls for quite some time. My family frequented there pretty often since it was so close to their home in Michigan.
As I started planning my trip to Niagra Falls, I learned a lot about the area. First, I realized the Falls actually borders Ontario, Canada and the United States. I also learned that Niagra Falls consists of THREE waterfalls: Horseshoe Falls, which is the larger of the three is in Canada, The smaller American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls are in New York.
From reading the reviews, I decided that the Canadian side is where I wanted to stay. There were many more things to do in the area and it seemed that you could get a better view of the falls and a perfect birdseye view of the larger of the three. I booked a room with Embassy Suites because one non negotiable was getting a room with a view. It was between two and I decided on this one because the accommodations were better. Embassy suites offers a happy hour social each night you stay, have a cheaper parking garage, and free breakfast. I ended up upgrading my room once I checked in for a room not offered online with a view of all three falls. The room I originally booked only had a partial view of the two smaller ones. The view was worth it! 10/10 would recommend for sure!
The room we got could fit over 6-7 guests. It had two queen beds, a living room space with a pull out couch, a coffee bar, soaker tub, and vanity seat for getting ready for the day. This room could be perfect for a family to share and potentially split the costs. Winter is also off season for the falls, so it may also be discounted this time of year.
The first night we ordered food from the restaurant downstairs, but because of the price, I would recommend to order room service instead from the Keg Steakhouse. It was a similar price but better quality.
I had booked our stay for one day and two nights, so we had one full day of events to plan. I also did not pre plan any of our events for the day. I made a list of things that I potentially wanted to do and presented it to my daughter at breakfast so that was the last minute plan for the day! Also, the view at breakfast was breathtaking. Once again, this hotel exceeded all expectations for this first time trip to Niagra Falls.
Because Winter is the off season for the falls, there were no accommodations in the hotel. The cold weather deters tourists, but honestly, I think it’s the best time to go. The views are just as beautiful in the winter and there are some pretty good deals. The first stop was to the Table Rock Welcome Center. The hotel was very close and parking was expensive wherever you went. If you stay at this hotel, it is within walking distance and I highly recommend that you walk if you are well and able. The Table Rock Welcome Center offers a lot of different packages. There are also some casino packages with shows, helicopter rides, and boat tours to name a few. We opted for “Journey behind the falls” which was a tour below Horseshoe Falls, which is the bigger of the three falls. The tour was self led through a series of tunnels and have a few cool photo opportunities with the water falling right and also a view of the base of the falls
Our next stop was the Skylon Tower for lunch. Because of the off season, we got to park for free. (Another perk of off season vacations) The Skylon Tower is an observatory but also has a revolving restaurant. It did previously have an all you can eat buffet, but it hasn’t started back since COVID. If you eat in the restaurant you also get to go to the observation deck area for free. This normally charges $16+ and the food at the restaurant is excellent. It has a great 360 degree view and its just cool to eat in a revolving restaurant! The meal price ended up being cheaper than the buffet price so it ended up being a win-win situation. Because it was the off season, reservations were not required, but I was told that it is required when the season picks back up.The view from the Observatory was beautiful but it was very cold, so I am happy that we weren’t charged for the view since we did dine at the restaurant
Our last stop for the day was at the Aquarium of Niagra. My family and I are huge fans of aquariums and my daughter loves penguins. We did not realize that the aquarium is on the USA side, so we did have to cross the border into Niagra Falls, NY. The vibe on the New York side was night and day compared to where we were in Canada. It was not as vibrant or lively, or even filled with tourists. Admission to the aquarium is very inexpensive, $19.99 for adults. This is in comparison to our favorite aquarium in Atlanta (the largest aquarium in the country) which is close to $50 for an adult. This aquarium was very small but had animal demonstrations every 45 minutes or so. We were able to attend each one and got to learn about each animal. It was worth the cost and we had so much fun and my daughter got to see the penguins!
After a very full day, we rested for a bit before we cleaned up for dinner. We went to The Keg Steakhouse and Bar a few floors up from our hotel room. We ended up getting a table by the window and the food was excellent. It was a great experience and the perfect dinner for our last night in Canada.
The next morning, the line for the omelet bar at our complimentary breakfast was short so I brought a few omelets up to the room for some breakfast in bed while watching cartoons. The morning before had a long line, so I was deterred from waiting. As we were packing and tidying up the room a bit, I wished we had an extra day to stay. There was so much more to do in the city that we didn’t have a chance to do. On our drive to the aquarium, we passed some shopping, arcades, and even a Ripleys Believe it or Not. We are absolutely planning a trip back with family during a warmer season. If you plan your trip around March, it is also maple tapping season and you can set up tours. We ended up stopping by a maple syrup farm and the kind woman explained how they collect the syrup sustainably and only collect the sap for a short period of time. It sounded fascinating but there were no tours on a weekday. I did leave with a lot of syrup and snacks to make up for it!