Must do activities when visiting Niagara Falls for one day

This natural wonder is one of the most famous falls in the world, with a length of 670 meters and a height of 55 meters, it is a major tourist hot spot: The Niagara Falls. This huge landmark attracts about 12 million visitors a year and is hereby one of the most visited natural tourist attractions of North-America. When I visited the Niagara Falls it was a stop during a large road trip through the east coast of the United States and Canada. Such as many other visitors who go to Niagara Falls, I only visited it for one day. Having only seen pictures of the Niagara Falls I was surprised by the number of visitors that were standing next to this natural sight.  Therefore, if you decide to visit the falls of the duration of one day you might want to prepare yourself before you go. The Niagara Falls started forming about 12000 years ago when ice glaciers started to melt at the end of the latest ice age. With about 3160 tons of water going down every second is not something you see every day. Niagara Falls is located on the border of the United States and Canada, which makes visiting both sides on the same day a bit tricky. It is recommended to pick one side to visit if you are planning to only be there for one day. Custom lines around the border could be long and when visiting the Niagara Falls for only one day you do want to make the most of it. But which side to pick? When I visited the falls, I went to the Canadian side and I do not regret that decision. When you are there it is clear that the best view is from the Canadian side of the falls. The Niagara Falls is a big tourist attraction and therefore there is a lot to do when you visit. To figure out which activities to do during your short trip I have listed some things that the falls have to offer. This list is based on visiting the Niagara Falls in Canada.

Boat cruise into the falls

The first and also my favorite activity that you can do at the Niagara Falls is a boat cruise. The boat will bring you into the misty space near the falls and will make you feel the strengths of the falls from up close. If you are lucky you might even see a rainbow or two. A little disclaimer even though they will give you nice plastic raincoats you still have a chance of getting a little wet. You also need to keep in mind that this attraction is quite popular so make sure you do go when it’s not at its busiest hour.

Journey behind the falls

Another popular activity that you can do at the falls is the journey behind the falls. This journey will give you the chance to go behind the Niagara Falls via tunnels that lead you through the rocks and will make it possible for you to stand directly behind the Niagara Falls. This is the closest you can actually get to the falls and makes you experience the intensity of the water that comes falling down every second of the day right before your eyes. You are also able to get to an observation deck next to the falls, this gives you the opportunity to make amazing pictures (although you have to make sure your camera does not get wet).

Niagara Whirlpool

A little further down the river, you have the Niagara whirlpool. This whirlpool is a beautiful sight that has been created by the upstream erosion of the Niagara River. This is also the location where the Niagara River collides with a Pre-Glacier river bed. The Niagara river will make a sharp turn at this location and combined with the whirlpool and the river bed this is a sight that you cannot forget on your trip to the falls. You can visit this activity via buses or you can join a tour that includes this activity which is also an easy way to visit the whirlpool. This location also has facilities, such as an observation deck and a little shop. The whirlpools are on most occasions less crowded than the Niagara Falls.

Fireworks at night

During the summer season and other special nights, there will be a firework show next to the falls. This usually starts at 10pm. If you spent the entire day at the Niagara Falls it’s a nice way to end your visit with watching this short firework show.


If you have limited time at the falls it might be smart to consider joining a tour. There are different types of tours that you can do around the Niagara Falls, which you can book at most hotels around the Falls and several organizations also offer tours online. These tours can be very convenient if you want to get the most out of your short stay at the Falls. Even though the tours can be a bit more expensive than going to the attractions by yourself, it is worth paying a little extra money for. By doing the tour you will skip lines since they will get the tickets for you.  You also will get extra information from experienced guides which could increase your experience. Depending on the tour that you choose to do you will also visit some locations that you would not have visited if you would go to the sights alone. If you do not want to join a guided tour, I would also recommend trying to get your tickets for the activities online to avoid the lines to get tickets.

Tip: Watch the sunrise

If you love to sleep in half as much as me, you probably have some question marks when I tell you to wake up early to watch the sun rise over the Niagara Falls. Though if you want to enjoy the wondrous views of the Falls without having thousands of other tourists taking selfies and pictures next to you, you should definitely consider it. Early in the morning, there will barely be any tourists and the sunrise will also give you amazing views of the Falls. During the early morning hours is definitely the most peaceful time to watch this natural wonder.

Marit Boertje

Hi, I’m Marit! I am from a town called Barendrecht in the Netherlands. All my live I’ve been passionate about exploring new places and learning about different cultures all around the world. I have finished my bachelor in international tourism management and consultancy and have had the pleasure of traveling quite a lot during this. Im always planning new trip to meet new people, wander around in nature, and especially to taste amazing new food.