Photographer's Guide to Niagara Falls

Travel

Canada vs. United States

I had the recent pleasure of revisiting Niagara Falls as an adult (with my first visit being back when I was just 12), and while we could SAY it is a “competition” on which side of the border gives the best views - Canada vs. United States…there is no competition. Canada wins hands down. But I will let you be the judge based on the images below.

As a brief overview of the area, the Niagara Falls are primarily composed of two huge waterfalls - Horseshoe Falls (the more iconic waterfall forming a complete horseshoe) and the American Falls (of course on the American side, just as tall but simply one super wide waterfall).

The Canada Perspective

Our day trip to Niagara started NOT with the waterfalls but on the Canada side. We were lured into signs for Bird Kingdom - The World's Largest Free-Flying Indoor Aviary. It lived up to its name and was a fantastic experience! But that is not what I am here to discuss today with you.

After the aviary, we headed to one of the best spots to view Niagara Falls - Skylon Tower Observation Deck. One of the best views is simply to get a HIGHER perspective, so either you can find a tall building OR go on a helicopter ride (drones are not permitted without an extensive process clearly geared more towards large film productions). Skylon Tower is one of the highest buildings right there on the edge, 775 feet up. Even better is that it has a very nice restaurant at the top that rotates 360 degrees over an hour period so you can enjoy some fine dining - it definitely is a 4-5 star restaurant and a bit pricey. While you eat, enjoy a great view of everything around!

After eating you can go up a couple more floors to an open view of the falls and walk around at your leisure. It’s a free experience if you eat at the restaurant first, but it’s pretty affordable otherwise. 

From here, we walked along the edge at ground level, where you can look across to see the American Falls, as well as all sorts of great views of the main Horseshoe Falls - including RIGHT up to the edge getting drenched in mist and blown away by the falls intensity.

So, THAT is what Canada has to offer, what about America?

The American Perspective

Honestly what hurts the American side is that the layout simply doesn’t give the best viewing angles. There is an observation tower that we did not make it to but think it could give some decent views. For getting right up to both falls, Goat Island (home to Niagara Falls State Park) is the best spot to go. I simply enjoyed going to the edge of BOTH main falls (American and Horseshoe) and getting some shots at the edge of the falls. I was fortunate to see a double rainbow over the American Falls as well!

I’ll admit with only one day, that is about all we got done. There is a LOT more to do, including checking out all of the shops everywhere (especially rows of them clustered together on the Canada side). There’s also a ferry that goes right up to the falls and very much drenches its passengers, as well as places like Cave of the Winds (stairs leading you down under the American Falls, which also drenches you - you get the pattern). Last, a memory I have from when I visited 20 years ago was going on the rapids with a large boat, which I recall being a very fast and intense adventure.

My number one recommendation

Overall, if you ONLY have a short time, I would go to Skylon Tower and take in the best observation view the falls have to offer. 

If you’ve been to Niagara Falls before, share in the comments below what YOUR favorite experience was.

Views from Skylon Tower

Views from Skylon Tower

Detail of Horseshoe Falls from 775 Feet

Detail of Horseshoe Falls from 775 Feet

American Falls from Skylon Tower

American Falls from Skylon Tower

American Falls and Rainbow Bridge connecting US and Canada

American Falls and Rainbow Bridge connecting US and Canada

Panoramic view from above both falls

Panoramic view from above both falls

Canada looking at American Falls in detail

Canada looking at American Falls in detail

Canadian view of Horseshoe Falls from walkway

Canadian view of Horseshoe Falls from walkway

Right on the edge of Canadian side with rainbow

Right on the edge of Canadian side with rainbow

Rainbow over Rainbow Bridge!

Rainbow over Rainbow Bridge!

Panorama of American Falls from Canada

Panorama of American Falls from Canada

Panorama of Horseshoe Falls from Canada

Panorama of Horseshoe Falls from Canada

Showcasing height of American Falls compared to tourists

Showcasing height of American Falls compared to tourists

Panorama on the edge of Horseshoe Falls from Canada

Panorama on the edge of Horseshoe Falls from Canada

Rainbow over Rainbow Bridge and American Falls

Rainbow over Rainbow Bridge and American Falls

Blur of Horseshoe Falls from America at the edge

Blur of Horseshoe Falls from America at the edge

American view of American Falls with Rainbow

American view of American Falls with Rainbow

Double Rainbow over American Falls

Double Rainbow over American Falls

Bird Kingdom's adorable Toucan

Bird Kingdom's adorable Toucan

Fun still-life at Bird Kingdom

Fun still-life at Bird Kingdom

Tiny bird!

Tiny bird!

Beautiful detail of feathers

Beautiful detail of feathers

Pair of old Toucans relaxing

Pair of old Toucans relaxing

Bird by old bell in Bird Kingdom

Bird by old bell in Bird Kingdom

About the Author

Nicholas Klein

Founder and visual artist, specializing in all aspects of a businesses presence from imagery and video to graphics and web. A graduate of IPFW with a Bachelor in Fine Arts, Concentration Photography as well as an Associates Degree in Business. His personal photography works are focused on landscape, travel, and aerial photography.

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