During my high school years I lived Buffalo, NY. My parents lived there for almost 30 years and my mom still does. When you’re from Buffalo going to see Niagara Falls is no big deal.

So whenever we visit I make a point to take the kids up to the Falls. It truly is breathtaking. It’s not one of the seven wonders of the world for nothing. These four (4) things are important points to know before planning your visit to Niagara Falls.

The Different Parts of the Falls

The Niagara River runs north from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario with the falls making their appearance at the United States and Canadian border. There are technically three branches of waterfalls, although it appears there are two.

The Horseshoe Falls is the iconic image that most associate with Niagara Falls. It’s named horseshoe because of it’s horseshoe-like shape. It’s the splits the border between the U.S. and Canada.

The American Falls sits completely on the American side of the border. At first glance it appears that the American Falls is just one waterfall. But a small branch off to the right forms a completely separate waterfall called the Bridal Veil Falls.

The Experience You Want

It’s a well known fact that the Canadian side of the river has a full in straight view of the water fall. If you want to see the falls in all it’s power and glory, heading across the border is a must.

But be prepared for the difference in the experience. Immediately outside the falls is Clifton Hill, a carnival like area with games, food, and from some points a hill top view.

When I was in high school, Niagara Falls State Park was a conservationist space. While it has expanded, it still offers a nature centered experience.

What To Do Besides Look

Book ahead to enhance your experience of the falls with a Canadian Adventure Pass or an American Discovery Pass.

From the American side you can cruise the Niagara River on the Maid in the Mist. Experience the falls up close and personal with a Cave of Winds tour. Learn about the local plant and animal life at the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center. Or explore the Olmsted designed park on one of the many hiking trails.

In Canada you can take a Journey Behind the Falls, zipline from the observation deck down to the river bank, descend into the gorge on a White Water River Walk, or see the entire Niagara Falls Region from high atop the Niagara Skywheel in Clifton Hill.

There are so many different ways to experience Niagara Falls. No matter what you choose you will be awe inspired.