Exploring Niagara Falls, USA by Land, Air and Sea

I have lived in and loved Niagara Falls my entire life. Although I am not known as an “adventurer,” I try to see and do new things around Niagara County, especially during the summer season.

Last week, just prior to the busy Memorial Day weekend, my boyfriend and I took a Niagara County "staycation," which allowed us to explore the area by land, air and sea. Without a doubt, it was one of our favorite vacations to date. Here's why. 

Our two-night stay at the Seneca Niagara Casino & Resort was in walking distance to most Downtown Niagara Falls attractions. Our quiet room was modern and spacious, with great views of the city.

After checking in, we walked down Third Street and spent happy hour at Wine on Third, where we met a host of networking professionals from all fields. We were able to grab a cozy table in the back, where we shared a few appetizers and conversation with those around us, before heading back to our hotel. We kept our first evening fairly simple, as we had more planned for the next day.

The next afternoon, we took an amazing helicopter tour of the Downtown Niagara Falls area, courtesy of Rainbow Air. I will say enthusiastically, this was one of the best experiences of my life. Although I have become quite familiar with the aerial views of our scenic wonder, nothing could prepare me for experiencing Niagara from above with my own eyes.

It was all breathtakingly there like I had never seen before - the upper Niagara River rapids, the American and Bridal Veil Falls (with the Cave of the Winds decks and Maid of the Mist boats), Goat Island with people around Terrapin Point overlooking the Horseshoe Falls, as well as many other landmarks I've only known from ground-level. This was my first trip flying over Niagara Falls, but after sharing my photos with family and friends, I'm sure it will not be my last.

After our landing, we grabbed a quick lunch at DiCamillo's Bakery - a Niagara Falls tradition. The lunch special offers a variety of freshly-baked pizza (try the old fashioned - you'll love it), cookies and soft drinks. This picnic of sorts was a great compliment to the rest of our afternoon, spent on the Niagara Wine Trail.

In just over two hours, we were able to leisurely visit four stops including Niagara Honeymoon Trail and the quaint Eveningside Vineyards, in Cambria; as well as Niagara Landing Wine Cellars (with probably the widest variety of wines I have seen in any one location) and the picturesque Freedom Run Winery, both in Lockport.

After heading back to downtown Niagara Falls, we stopped inside the One Niagara building to visit the Made In America store, located on the second floor. Ever the shopping enthusiast, I picked up a "Buffalo wing" inspired key-chain before my boyfriend tugged my arm to signal dinnertime.

We walked a short block down Old Falls Street, USA - where families were enjoying themselves on colorful Adirondack chairs and playing outdoor table tennis. Across the street, we stepped into Savor, inside the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute, where we shared pulled pork arancini and some fried calamari, served up by a friendly staff.

The final day of our staycation was highlighted by a Niagara Sunset Cruise on the lower Niagara River. Our two-hour cruise on the three-deck Niagara Belle, brought us from its dock in Lewiston, NY to Lake Ontario, to watch a sunset as beautiful as any I have ever seen in other "more tropical" locales.

I'm looking forward to taking more staycations during the year, as I know there is so much more to do in Niagara County. Perhaps next time, we'll visit the emerging canal area of North Tonawanda and the more historical aspects of Lockport.

If you don't believe me, plan your own Niagara County staycation. I promise you, it won't be your last!

About the Author
Susan Swiatkowski

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