2 Days in Niagara Falls with Kids: What to Do in Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls is the perfect bucket list item to visit with a family. There is so much to see around the falls that everyone will be happy with your family visit to Niagara Falls. We have driven to Niagara Falls as part of a few road trips. The first time we spent two days in Niagara Falls and another time as a Niagara Falls day trip.

Niagara Falls actually consist of three falls at the end of the Niagara River: The Horseshoe Falls, Bridal View Falls and American Falls. Each of these falls has unique beauty. Therefore, you will want to give each some time. Niagara Falls aren’t the largest waterfalls, but have the highest flow rate of any water fall in the world.


What to do in Niagara Falls
View of the Horseshoe Falls Niagara Falls and the Hornblower boat from Canada. If you are on the US side, you can walk up to the top of the falls. Can you see the trails on the left?

The flow is so great that well before you can visualize the falls, you may see its mist rising into the skies. I love to drive over the Rainbow Bridge at night on my way to the falls when the mist is most evident. Although the falls aren’t very high (less than 190 feet high), they are very wide (over 3000 ft.).

Due to the powerful turbulence of the Niagara River, resulting in huge amount of dissolved salts and rocks, the falls are a stunning green color and the mists produce copious rainbows, adding to the falls’ astounding beauty. Did you know that 20% of the US’ drinking water goes over Niagara Falls? Unlike humans, 80% of fish survive the trip over the falls!

Which Side of Niagara Falls Should You Visit?

There are a plethora of family activities available surrounding Niagara Falls. It is very built up and touristy. We focused all of our energy in experiencing the beauty and power of the falls, so did not spend time on anything other than that. It is well publicized that the Canadian side of the falls is the side to visit, but there are definitely things that you shouldn’t miss located only on the American side.

Niagara Falls American Side

The city on this side is smaller than on the Canadian side. There is a wonderful park nestled right up against the falls. On this side you won’t get the full view of the falls, but will get to see the falls from the top and you can even travel down to the bottom of them!

Niagara Falls State Park

This state park is situated along the top of the waterfalls. From this perspective you can look over the edge of the falls. You can also take a ranger-guided hike or a trolley ride.

Cave of the Winds

Things to do in Niagara Falls with Kids on both the US and Canada side, including where to stay in Niagara Falls and how to get to Niagara Falls. #thingstodoinNiagaraFalls #familytravel
My boys getting soaked by Bridal Veil Falls in the Cave of the Winds

A not-miss experience is the Cave of the Winds. After queuing up, you will be outfitted in rain gear and transported by elevator down under the Bridal Veil Falls. What follows is an hour walk at the bottom of those falls. If you are brave, you can get a pretty decent pounding to really feel like you are part of the falls. My kids loved it!

Things to do in Niagara Falls NY
A view of the staircase from the soaking platform of the Cave of the Winds. This tour gives a unique perspective of the Niagara Falls.

Things to Do in Niagara Falls, Canada

The Canadian side is a pretty big city with all the comforts you can imagine. It is bright and built-up. It actually reminds me of Las Vegas. You will have no problem finding entertainment and food. The only thing you will have a problem finding is cheap parking and coffee before 10 am. (Not sure why Starbucks and Tim Hortons open so late.) I think the main reason people love this side is the unbeatable panoramic views of the falls. They are incredible and worth the hype.

Should you visit the US side or the Canadian side of Niagara Falls
View of Canada from the Bridal Veil Falls.

Where to Stay in Niagara Falls, Canada

The Embassy Suites by Hilton Niagara Falls Fallsview is one of my favorite hotels I have ever stayed in. We loved our hotel and I cannot recommend it more. Sleeping five in any of the Embassy Suites properties is easy and the room was lovely, as we have come to expect from the brand. The views alone, with kids, made the fallsview upgrade price more than worth it. While your child naps or goes to bed at a reasonable time you can read by an unbeatable view of all the falls.

Book your room at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Niagara Falls now.

Fireworks as seen from our hotel room. Sorry for the picture quality, as I took it a while ago. You can see both sets of falls lit up as well as fireworks in the sky.

See Niagara Falls Lit Up by a Spectacular Firework Show!

Check this schedule to make sure that you are visiting when the fire works will light up both the falls and the sky overhead. We watched them straight from the comfort of our hotel room.

The Funicular

The city is actually situated on buffs above the falls. You will need to walk downhill to get to the promenade to view the falls. You can also take a funicular which the kids really enjoyed.

48 Hours in Niagara falls with kids.
Ride on the funicular.

Take a Boat Ride into the Spray of the Falls

Be sure to do the thrillingly wet boat ride right into the foot of the falls. You either take The Maid of the Mists from New York or The Hornblower from Canada. You could also take an adventurous ride on the Whirlpool Jet Boat Experience.

Be sure to book your boat ride with the links above as lines are very long if you don’t.

48 hours in niagara falls with kids
After the queue, you get all dressed up for your drenching!

Sometimes it is hard to make my whole family happy on a trip, but all five of us adored every second of Niagara Falls! We were really able to experience and appreciate the beauty and power of this, not-to-be-missed waterfall! Be sure to check to make sure things are open if you don’t visit in the summer. Many attractions close for the winter. Although a waterfall in winter is pretty spectacular (like this one we visited in Quebec).

How to Get to Niagara Falls

Take a Road Trip to Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls is a convenient stop if you are driving around upstate New York or driving from the US to Toronto. We even stopped by on a road trip from New England to Michigan and Ohio.

How to Get to Niagara Falls?

The large airports near Niagara Falls are Buffalo, New York and Toronto, Canada. If you aren’t renting a car, Buffalo is much closer and more convenient. If you plan to rent a car, a great way to explore is to fly into Buffalo. Experience the famous Buffalo Wings, then drive the half hour to Niagara Falls and enjoy them. After your visit drive the hour to Toronto and fly home from there.

How to Get to Niagara Falls
A view of both sets of falls. You can see the stairs for Cave of the Winds in the middle of the picture.

Check out more from our New York road trip with stops in Albany and Herkimer and Ithaca, NY  and 10 Things to do outside of Niagara Falls with Kids. This waterfall is something that you should definitely visit!

Have you visited Niagara Falls? Let me know about it in the comments.

If you liked it, please share it. Thank you!

21 thoughts on “2 Days in Niagara Falls with Kids: What to Do in Niagara Falls”

  1. Wow, what an awesome adventure. You make a trip to the falls seem so much fun. I’ve read other accounts of it that just don’t go to the right spots and moan about tourists and casinos. Now I’d love to go back, as I haven’t been in years and last time the weather was awful.

  2. I’m glad you loved Niagara Falls and had a chance to experience it from the Canadian side as well. I grew up 45 minutes away and have been dozens of times. It has definitely become more built up over the years. We personally don’t visit the falls itself as much anymore – we enjoy hiking in the gorge or visiting wineries instead. The falls itself is a real treasure and everyone should experience it at least once.

  3. Beautiful! The Niagara Falls are definitely on my bucket list. Plan is to do a Chicago and Niagara tour at some point. I have however heard that it has become very touristy and commercial. Good to know that one can still appreciate the beauty of the waterfalls! The cave of winds sound fabulous. I like the idea of taking a shower in the Niagara Falls! Thanks for sharing

  4. We keep saying that we’re going to go to Niagara Falls but just haven’t made it there yet. My daughter would LOVE standing near the falls and getting wet like your kids did! 😀

  5. I was just in Niagara Falls and really enjoyed it too. I was surprised by how much there is to do there. We also went to some of the wineries close by. I really enjoyed Cave of the Winds too.

  6. Thank you for this lovely review! We live on Grand Island and my boyfriend actually created and maintains the website for Branches!

  7. It’s really an interesting blog to read. You have shared some really great stuff in this article which is useful for many viewers thanks for sharing such a beautiful article on this platform!!

  8. Bonjour Jamie! Your post brought great memories for me! I visited the falls in 1999 on my very first trip to the US. It was an incredible visit – I was completely wet and took great photos with my film camera (loooonng time before digital cameras!!). I was surprised by the built-up areas around the site as I expected to find a much more “natural” environment. But long story short, it was epic! As I was based in Rochester, NY we also explored the finger lakes and the Ithaca gorges…. Stunning places! 🙂


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