Traveling Ted is a blog that takes readers along on my adventures hiking, canoeing, skiing, and international backpacking. Many blogs focus on one aspect of backpacking, but I tackle both the outdoor adventure side and international exploration as well.

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So, they don’t let you stuff yourself into a barrel and careen over Horseshoe Falls, but a Niagara Falls vacation is still a thrilling getaway. Though the city often markets itself as a haven for honeymooners or families, there is plenty for dudes to do around this natural wonder. Whether you love feeling your heart pound with adrenaline or your breath taken by beautiful scenery, Niagara can deliver. Here’s your itinerary for the most exciting vacation in Niagara Falls:

Niagara Falls vacation

Niagara Falls vacation

Niagara Falls Vacation

Venture Into the Mists

Niagara boat tours are perhaps the most famous attraction around the falls. Let me tell you, they earn it. During its peak in the summer months, Niagara Falls pushes about 600,000 gallons of water down almost 200 feet every second. Cruises like the Maid of the Mist and Hornblower Niagara will take you right up to the base of the falls. You can feel the water thunder down in your bones. It is the very definition of a wet and wild experience. You shouldn’t miss it.

Because the boat tours are so popular, you should book your tickets well in advance. If you are heading to Niagara last-minute, you might still be able to acquire tickets for early-morning tours — but you should probably find accommodations at nearby Niagara Falls, Canada hotels. Staying here will assure you reach the dock on time.

See the Secrets of the Falls

One of the most powerful stories of Niagara Falls comes from Iroquois folklore. A woman named Lelawala is disconsolate about the recent death of her husband. She tries to end her life by canoeing over the edge of Horseshoe Falls. Instead, she is caught mid-fall by the god of thunder, Heno, who lived behind the falls. Heno takes Lelawala prisoner behind the falls. Perhaps in the very tunnels you will pass through on this journey.

Another attraction that gets you up-close and personal with the falls is a Journey Behind the Falls. It is an adventure offered by Niagara Parks. Rather than seeing the falls from above, like you can from Skylon Tower or the Niagara SkyWheel, or from below on a boat tour, you can purchase tickets to descend 125 feet behind the falls and watch one-fifth of the world’s freshwater crash down a few feet from your face.

Fly Over Whirlpool Rapids

The Niagara River offers more exhilaration than the falls. In fact, just downriver from the falls, the Niagara River produces some of the most dangerous rapids in the world. Whirlpool Rapids are Class VI white water rapids. This means they are extremely unpredictable and dangerous. Plus, there is a natural whirlpool in the middle of the Niagara Gorge that pulls water down at a rate of 30 feet per second.

Sailing on the Niagara River was prohibited long ago. Too many canoers and kayakers lost their lives. You can see the rapids and whirlpool by hiking along the White-Water Walk. If that’s not enough, you can see the churning water from above with a ride on the Whirlpool Aero Car, another attraction from Niagara Parks.

Bruce Peninsula National Park hiking

Trek the Bruce on a Niagara Falls vacation

Trek on the Bruce

If you want to see more of the Niagara region than just the falls, you can follow the Bruce Trail out of the city and into the wild forests of Ontario. The Bruce Trail is one of the oldest and longest trails in all of Canada. It follows the Niagara Escarpment from Niagara Falls to the tip of the Bruce Peninsula between Lake Huron and the Georgian Bay. In total, the Bruce is more than 550 miles long. It would take even experienced trekkers more than a month to complete. However, you can easily finish one of the Bruce’s nine clubs. These are smaller sections of the trail with definite beginning and endpoints.

Related: Camping at Bruce Peninsula National Park

The Bruce will show you the Niagara region besides the falls. Niagara is rich in natural beauty and important history; for example, Niagara was a popular terminus for the Underground Railroad, and much of North America’s building materials were pulled from the ground in this area. You can peek into caves, spot smaller waterfalls, spy abandoned settlements, and more along the Bruce.

See the Risk-takers of Yore

Once you’ve enjoyed all the exhilaration of modern Niagara Falls, you can learn about the risks other visitors have taken in Niagara’s past. The Niagara Falls IMAX offers a film experience called “Niagara: Miracles, Myths, and Magic” that delves into the history of the falls, from its geologic beginnings to its cultural significance with all sorts of people. When the film concludes, you can visit the Daredevil Exhibit, which offers real artifacts shown in the movie as well as more in-depth stores of people who performed outstanding feats around and on the falls.

Adventure on!

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