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Niagara Falls Family Vacation


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Niagara Falls is no longer just for honeymooners and convention attendees! It’s now one of the preferred travel destinations for families from around the globe. Here are some helpful tips on how to plan the perfect family vacation to Niagara Falls, Canada!

overlooking Niagara Falls from the Canadian side with a boat close to the falls

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Niagara Falls Vacation

Recently on our trip back East we decided to make a stop at Niagara Falls, Canada. If you are planning a vacation there, or just want to stop by for the day, you have to stay on the Canadian side of the Falls.  Not only will you have a better view of the Falls, but there is so much more to do on the Canadian side when you’re not by the water.

While the Falls themselves are absolutely spectacular, you can only look at them for so long.  Once you’re done capturing the perfect selfie, who wants to get back in the car and keep driving?  On the Canadian side there are fun shops, a lot of restaurants and an entire entertainment district to enjoy during your visit.  If you’re planning a family vacation to Niagara Falls, here are some great tips to make the most of your weekend getaway!

a family in red ponchos riding the Hornblower cruise boat to Niagara Falls

Planning Your Trip

Rental Car – We rented a car for our vacation and there were no restrictions for crossing the border.  Most car rental companies allow you to drive into Canada but it’s always a good idea to ask before you book your reservation.

Do I Need A Passport – If you are planning on crossing the border, be sure you have passports or a passport card for everyone in your family, including children.  You don’t want to get to the border and be turned away.  Be sure to check the State Department’s website if you have any questions about what you’ll need to enter Canada.

Money – We found that a lot of places, including most souvenir shops, around the Falls accepted US dollars.  However, the restaurants and hotel we stayed at did not.  You’ll want to be sure you take a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees while you’re across the border.  If you decide to take a day trip up to Toronto, it’s highly unlikely you’ll find a store that takes US dollars.

Which Credit Card Should I Take – The card I use every time I travel internationally is the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.  They don’t charge a fee when you use the card abroad, they provide primary rental car insurance coverage if you pay for your rental with the card and you get 2x the points for all travel and purchases at restaurants.

And the best part is, right now you can earn a 60,000 point bonus, which are worth $750 towards travel when redeemed with Chase Ultimate Rewards, if you spend $4,000 or more in the first three months the account is open.  That’s what I call a win-win-win.

people zipling next to niagara falls

Niagara Falls Hotels

There are many hotels to choose from, but deciding on a Niagara Falls hotel doesn’t have to be complicated! You’ll find everything from luxury suites to budget-friendly options, so you simply have to decide what your needs are. Do you prefer to spend less on a hotel and more on activities? Or do you want to pamper your family while there? Is an unobstructed view of the falls top on your list?

We stayed at one of the Marriott properties located by the Clifton Hill entertainment district.  I used my Marriott Bonvoy Boundless credit card to pay for the room because you get 6x points on all Marriott purchases and this card also has no foreign transaction fees.  This card gives you a 75,000 point bonus after spending just $3,000 in the first three months.  There are a lot of Marriott properties by Niagara Falls, so there are plenty of redemption options to use your points on when you visit.

There are several hotel options to choose from, and this area offers easy access to the Clifton Hill attractions, restaurants, the indoor water park, and is also just steps away from the Falls. If you’re looking for a great location and easy ways to get around, then I recommend finding a hotel in this area.

Niagara Falls Attractions

Boat Cruise – Seeing the falls is the reason you came to Niagara, so you might as well get as close to the Falls as you can on a boat ride!  This is an absolute must-do when you visit the Falls.  While I thought a boat cruise up to the Falls would be cool, I didn’t expect to be blown away!  Words can’t describe what it’s like to be right up against the Falls and is something you have to experience to understand.

I would recommend booking your cruise with Hornblower Niagara.  They are the only company operating cruises from the Canadian side of the Falls.  Be sure to buy your tickets ahead of time because they can sell out during peak travel season.

two cute kids on a Hornblower Cruises boat to Niagara Falls

Amusement Park – I also highly recommend buying tickets for the attractions at the Clifton Hill entertainment district.  You can purchase tickets for individual attractions or a pass to experience them all.  We spent several hours there one night and we all had a blast!

There’s something for everyone to do and the view from the top of the Skywheel is breathtaking.  Even our 4 year old, who is afraid of heights ended up loving it…just not at first.:) If you purchase your Fun Pass online they will include a bonus ride on the Skywheel which is totally worth it!

five children standing along the street at the Clifton Hill entertainment district at Niagara Falls, Canada

Day Trip To Toronto – If you are going to be in Niagara Falls for more than a day, I would suggest taking a day trip up to Toronto.  The scenic drive along Lake Ontario will take about two hours from the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.  If possible, try to leave after the rush hour to avoid spending unnecessary time sitting in traffic.

There are plenty of delicious places to eat and things to see and do while you’re in the city.  My family loves hockey, so we made the trip to visit the Hockey Hall of Fame.  While it’s possible to get up and back in one day, if time allows, grab a hotel and enjoy the nightlife in Toronto.

a family of seven standing around the Stanley Cup at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto Canada

Other Attractions – There are many other things to do at Niagara Falls that we just didn’t have the time to do.  You can enjoy ziplining, the Fallsview Indoor Waterpark or the Butterfly Conservatory. Regardless of how much time you will be staying, there is plenty for your family to experience.

More Fun Family Vacation Ideas

After you have had the best Niagara Falls vacation, here are a few other ideas for a future vacation.

Niagara Falls Restaurants

Dining in Niagara Falls can be whatever you want it to be. You’ll find the familiar chain and fast food options as well as local eateries and fine dining options. There really is something to suit all types of taste buds and budgets.  Be sure to use your Chase Sapphire Preferred to avoid foreign transaction fees and to get double the points on your restaurant purchases.

If parents are able to sneak in a date night, try Windows by Jamie Kennedy. The authentic  taste of the local agriculture is simply delicious! The Rainbow Room is another place we love. It features luxurious Italian food prepared by Massimo Capra, one of Canada’s most celebrated chefs.

A long weekend is the perfect time for a family vacation to Niagara Falls, Canada. Choose your dates, book your Niagara Falls hotel, and then decide what you and your family want to do. You’re guaranteed a weekend together that you will always remember.

Family Vacation to Niagara Falls

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