There's no disputing the majesty of the thundering falls, which span New York State and Ontario, Canada. Daredevils and international tourists alike are drawn to the deafening roar, soaking spray and sublime vistas. Don a plastic poncho for a close-up view from the “Maid of the Mist” – it’s a must.
On the American side, stroll the footpaths to Goat Island and Terrapin Point for views of Horseshoe Falls. The more developed Canadian side has undeniably better views, but it's far from backcountry wilderness. It’s filled with high-rises, mini-golf courses, t-shirt shops and theme restaurants. The American side also has its share of kitschy souvenir stores, along with gritty streets and the purple-glass Seneca Niagara casino.
But there's more to do in the area besides gazing at the falls. Go wine tasting at the bucolic vineyards near postcard-perfect Niagara-On-the-Lake, Ontario. In Lockport, New York, a museum explores the history of the Erie Canal. Head to nearby Buffalo for an architectural walking tour or to explore the city's unique dining scene.