Wednesday, 28 November 2018

24 Hours at Niagara

Readers, hopefully you’ve been keeping up to date with all my amazing adventures recently.  I’ve just done a 48 hours in Iceland post… and my top 10 Toronto eats has recently gone on the blog too… make sure you have a read!

Tonight’s post, is all about how you can spend 24 hours at the amazing, beautiful and lovely surrounding area of Niagara.   We did it… we hired a car, drove from Toronto on a gorgeous and sunny fall morning, in our Dodge Charger which took about an hour and a half… and thanks to a great connection, had a really good value room, on a high floor at the Hilton Niagara, where we had some good night time views.
niagara falls what claire did travel blog
Amazing fall colours at Niagara

Niagara was an experience and if you’re driving, there’s loads of ways to fill a day and night in the area.

Day 1 – AM to Mid Afternoon

Pick up your hire car and drive to your destination… there are LOTS of tours that leave from Toronto, however, we wanted some freedom to do our own thing.  We arrived, parked up and immediately went to see The Falls.

The weather was gorgeous, so we took a walk along, then the short hop funicular (it’s about 30 seconds) down to the visitors centre, where we booked ourselves onto The Journey Behind The Falls… fairly interesting, took around 30 minutes and allowed you to get up close for some great views.  We then continued our walk alongside (Canadian side) down to Maid of The Mist, and took the boat ride… be warned, if you’re up front, you will get wet. Ponchos are required… not optional!
American side niagara falls canada travel blogger what claire did

We then headed back into the town and thanks to the lovely team at Clifton Hill, who provided us with 2 Fun Passes which covered 6 of the attractions in the local area. We were able to amuse ourselves at The Canadian Midway for an hour or so – we went on the Ghost Blaster Ride, the 4DX Wild West Coaster which was great fun and played some arcade games (turns out I’m great at Bean Bag Toss) and air hockey. 
clifton hill fun pass niagara what claire did travel blogger

Passes cost $30 and covers 6 different attractions – great on a rainy day, or if you’ve got kids (or overgrown kids) to entertain.  
clifton hill fun pass niagara what claire did travel blogger

We were slightly perplexed by the whole Niagara Falls area… you’ve got this stunning natural attraction on one side, then a Blackpool meets Vegas meets Atlantic City type thing going on just up the road.  In some parts it’s a bit dated, plus, we went in the off season, so the area was quiet. It was all a bit bizarre.. but never the less, the Fun Passes were great to amuse us.. and actually, we made the best of being there, having fun like 2 big kids. 

Day 1 – PM

After a quick late lunch stop at Tim Hortons, we headed back to our hotel, with a massive in room jacuzzi and you guessed it, I watched the sun set from the comfort of my bath, with a large wine… we then took ourselves on a walk to the shops at Fallsview Casino and then went searching for somewhere for dinner… which turned out to be a bit of a struggle, if you don’t want to eat in a hotel or in a cheap, greasy chain.  A lot of places were shut when we were there (Tuesday night in October) so perhaps something to plan ahead, otherwise you’ll end up in the Hard Rock CafĂ©, like we did.  Not the worst, but not the best meal I’ve ever eaten. 
clifton hill fun pass niagara what claire did travel blogger

After dinner, we still had some activities left to do on our Clifton Hill Passes… first up (and honestly this was the most fun) we played Wizard's Golf… mini golf, in the dark, where everything is lit up in UV.  As usual, Mr What Claire Did managed to beat me, but we had a lot of fun.  It was well done and different to the other mini golf we’ve played in the past. It also got us out of the cold for around an hour!
clifton hill fun pass niagara what claire did travel blogger

Next up, we went on the Zombie Attack 4D ride, before heading back to the arcade to claim our prizes from our ticket wins and take a trip on the Big Wheel which gave us great views over the Niagara area at night. 

Uber is active in the area, so you’ll get a cab back to your hotel fairly cheaply and easily.

Day 2 – AM
Our hotel didn’t include breakfast, so we were up fairly early and off on our adventures.  Sadly the weather had turned, so we didn’t manage much outdoor exploring en route to Niagara on the Lake… we did however enjoy the views out the car window of some of the huge houses nearby.  Keep change handy, as it’s metered parking in the town of Niagara on the Lake, which is really quaint with lots of shops and cafes.  Sadly, the rain was so heavy, we didn’t spend much time there, but we got the feeling it would be lovely in summer. 

We did manage to find a lovely looking local place called Sunset Grill for breakfast. The staff here were so lovely and we got a table in the window.. where we watched the rain bounce off the pavements!
Image Source - YELP.CA

Day 2 – PM

From our very damp visit to the local town, we were soon back in the car and headed to the Outlets at Niagara… this is well worth a trip, if you are into your brands and shopping. There were so many great stores and at the moment, the exchange rate between the UK and Canada, is decent, we got some great bargains… much better than the US had been for shopping earlier in the year.  I left with some sports gear from Nike, a bag and credit card holder from Kate Spade and a Ralph Lauren jacket… as well as some goodies from Bath and Body Works… a store we don’t have here, but I love!
Image Credit: Outlet Collection at Niagara
Allow yourself around 3 hours to have a good look around the Outlets and if you’re looking for something a bit different, stop by The Bass Pro Shop before you drive back… if you’ve never been in one before, I can only describe it as something very different. 
Before we knew it, it was 4pm and time to drive back to Toronto to return our rental car. The drive back also had a great moment, on approach to the city, where the whole skyline appeared in front of us. It looked absolutely beautiful and furthered my love for this cool city.

Have you been to Niagara or Niagara-on-the-Lake? If so, what did you love? 

Disclaimer: I received 2 fun passes complimentary from Clifton Hill to use during our time at Niagara.  Any opinions expressed are my own.


  1. Never made it to Niagara (but then, neither of us drive, so it would have meant compulsory communal tour times) - but I think I would have loved the tacky tourist bit. Wonderfalls, which was set in a Niagara gift shop, is one of my favourite shows, but sadly only lasted for one season!

    LIs / last year's girl x

  2. Niagara is such a splendid place and so much can be done here. So much to explore in and around , great guide this. Would be helpful to many.
    Jasmin |