6 Reasons why Niagara Falls USA side is the best
An age old debate - what side of Niagara Falls is better US or Canada? Many will say the same "wisdom" they have always heard circulating: the Canada side is better. I beg to differ. I've visited both the NY and Canada side of Niagara falls and now I am counting down 6 reasons why the US side of the falls is in fact superior.
#1 Up Close and Personal
The experience on the New York side is much more up close and personal. You can feel the spray of the water on your face, you can hear the pounding of the water and you feel as though you are standing right on top of the falls.
#2 Less Crowds
I love the New York side because it is much less crowded. This is because many tout the Canada side as superior leading to over crowding. Last time I was on the Canada side there were hoards of tourist, it was absolutely packed and really hard to do anything or even get parking.
#3 Less Tourist Traps
Granted there will always be tourist traps anywhere with lots of tourist, but in my opinion the Canada side of Niagara Falls is absolutely riddled with tourist traps.
#4 Easier & Clearer Access
The US side of Niagara Falls is a state park. The park is really open, has designated parking and is all around an easy process. It does cost $10 to get into the park, but that is for the entire car load and the best part is, if you wanted to, the parking pass actually is able to be used again to visit another other New York State park on the same day. Some great options pertaining to the falls would be Whirlpool state park and Fort Niagara State Park. There are actually tons of other state parks in the area to choose from, but with so many things to do at Niagara Falls State Park how could you spend the day anywhere else. Which leads me to my next point.
#5 The Attractions
This is specifically on activities directly with the falls. On the New York side there are several attractions that are comparable to the Canada side, but one advantage the New York side has is the Cave of the Winds. This experience ends with you standing 20 feet from pounding torrent that is Bridal Veil Falls - where a whopping 75,000 gallons of water fall from 180 feet in the air every second. Which means in the time it took me to tell you this reason over 3 million gallons of water has crashed over the side of Bridal Veil Falls. In my opinion that’s pretty impressive. The state park also offers an observation deck and the Niagara Falls USA Discovery Pass giving you a wide variety of attractions to choose from.
#6 Oldest Park
Niagara Falls State Park is actually the oldest state park in the United States. “Established in 1885 as the Niagara Reservation, it was the first of several such reservations that eventually became the cornerstones to the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.” With a park existing for over a century I think it’s safe to say this place has a ton of history and many stories to tell.
Now that we talked about why I love the New York side better, let’s talk tips & advice.
Best way to get to Niagara Falls
There are a couple entrances to Niagara Falls State Park in Buffalo, NY and 4 total parkings lots. I personally suggest Parking Lot 2 which is located on Goat Island as this is the closet parking lot to the actual falls and leads you right to the Terrapin Point lookout to get the full up close experience of being on the edge of Horseshoe Falls. Ever parking lot has it’s advantages.
Lot 1: closest to The Maid of the Mist which is the boat that takes you right up near Horseshoe Falls as well as the Visitor Center
GPS address: Niagara Falls Visitor Center Parking Lot 1, Niagara Falls, NY 14303
Lot 2: My fave lot, closest to the entrance to the Cave of the Winds and Terrapin Point
GPS address: Charging Station Rd, Goat Island, Niagara Falls, NY 14303
Lot 3: basically a back up lot to Terrapin point on goat island
GPS address: Parking Lot 3, Niagara Falls, NY 14303
Lot 4: "is at the Niagara Gorge, just off the northbound Niagara Scenic Parkway. This is an ideal place to park if you wish to start at the Aquarium of Niagara or the Schoellkopf Site. This is also the in-park stop for the Discover Niagara Shuttle which will bring you from within the park to the attractions outside the park."
Best Times to Go to the Falls
Although from my experience the New York side is much less crowded that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t get packed. The best times to go is Monday through Thursday not including holiday weekends. If you do happen to go at a time where the parking gets filled up inside the state park, no worries there are plenty of places to park outside the park just a few minutes walk away.
Spots you should stop at
Lastly let’s talk itinerary. There are actually three sections to Niagara Falls- Bridal Veil Falls, American Falls and Horseshoe Falls which is the section you probably picture when you think of Niagara Falls. Although Horseshoe Falls is iconic, don’t forget Bridal veil & American falls exist. It is easy to miss as it’s tucked away and most people just walk in see Horseshoe Falls and leave thinking that’s everything but there is so much more. The Bridal Veil falls viewing area is probably the best place to snap some photos and is a bit of a calmer experience. The best place to spot Bridal Veil Falls also happens to be smack dab in between Bridal Veil & American Falls and that is Luna Island. I honestly could have sat at Luna Island all day as the rush of water was really soothing. Here is some footage of the water rushing at Bridal Veil Falls.
At the end of the day you have to gage what you will love based on the experience you want to have. If you want to be able to see the falls in it’s entirety, but from a distance then the Canada side is for you. If you want to get up close and personal with the falls then the New York side is your best choice.
City Map for auxiliary parking: https://www.niagarafallsstatepark.com/~/media/parks/niagara-falls/files/nusa_parkingmap2017.pdf?la=en