We took an epic road trip. We drove to Niagara Falls, from Tennesse. With a 6 and a 9-year-old!
1800 (well, actually 1795) miles. 4 people in a car for more than 24 hours.
7 nights on the road.
1 national park, well national forest.
2 state parks.
1 amusement park.
1 different country (Canada).
Lots of laughs.
Thankful for the opportunity to see the Amazing Niagara Falls on both the US side and Canada side.
Thankful for plenty of side detours that gave the road a personality all of its own.
Thankful for the family time.
Thankful for the time on the road.
Thankful for the safety.
Thankful for the week.
Where we stayed:
Embassy Suites Niagara Falls
Splurge of our trip. And totally worth it. We had a room on the 41st floor of the 42 story hotel.
Pros – Location and view. The location was fantastic. Walking distance to the Canadian side of the falls. The view was even better than the site – it is the best view there. The view from the hotel I could have watched for days, it was mesmerizing. Honestly, the view was out of this world.
Cons – The wait for the elevators were crazy. There were way too few for the hotel of this size. Parking was $46/night, ouch! Breakfast was just ok, not great and crazy long lines after 9:00 am.
Best Western PLUS Toronto North York
We booked this one because it seemed like the best option with tickets to Canada’s Wonderland. What happened when we got there was something very different. Found out that we did not get tickets to Canada’s Wonderland and we would not have stayed, except every other hotel in the area was sold out.
Pros – eh, not sure there was one. It was clean – ish. Had a pool, but the hot tub was not working. The actual pool was warmer than the hot tub.
Cons – Terrible customer service. The location was just ok, 10 minutes from Canada’s Wonderland, but there were hotels closer that we realized after booking this one. But it served the purpose. Breakfast took forever; however, the food was good once we got it.
Best Western PLUS Waterfront in Windsor
This has the BEST breakfast of any place we stayed. And was an unexpected gem of the trip.
Pros – room had an unexpected great view of the water front. We booked it on Priceline. The location was in perfect proximity to downtown Windsor.
Cons – had to pay for parking that we did not know about and weren’t told upon check out.
What we did:
Alleghany National Forest – Kinzue State Park Bridge
Traveling from Tennessee, we found this gem, and it was only about 90 minutes out of the way. It was quite the find. There was an old train bridge that fell due to a tornado, and the State Park is set around the remains. The bridge was eerily beautiful. I wish we had longer to explore here. We had a picnic and explored a bit. Great place to stretch our legs and get off the interstate for a while.
US Side of Niagara Falls
This was our first view of the falls and it was breathtaking. Difficult to put into words just how beautiful the falls are.
Maid of the Mist – US Side of the Falls
Oh, the joy of the falls. The Maid of the Mist is a boat ride that had run since 1885 carrying passengers, before that, it was not a passenger’s vessel but used for commercial purposes. The ride takes you as close to horseshoe falls as you can get. As a souvenir, you get postcards when you pay for your trip (a mere $18.65/adult and $10.65 for children) and a blue poncho to wear over your clothes. You can not make reservations, and we went on a hectic day, but the operation runs very efficiently, and our wait was minimal, yet we did not feel rushed. This is a must do at the falls.
CA Side of the Falls
You will hear people say that the Canadian side is better. I’m not sure how you can compare them, they are both beautiful!
Journey Behind the Falls – CA side of the Falls
This was a last minute add for our family, and it was such an unexpected treat. You literally go behind the falls and experience the falls from two different tunnels. It’s a neat experience. It’s $16.75/adults and $10.75/kids, we purchased our tickets and had a bit of a wait for this, which was worth it. It runs from 9:00am to 11:00pm. Seeing the falls from behind the water is an experience you can’t get any other way!
Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology – Hamilton County, Ontario, CA
We saw this from the road and needed a stop and a place to have a picnic. This place was perfect for both accounts. The tour, which runs Tuesday through Sunday, 12 pm -4 pm. Admission is $7/adults, and $5/kids is about an hour and covers the history of the steam engine, which could be boring, but our tour guide was phenomenal and made this part of science/history come alive!
CN Tower – Toronto, Ontario, CA
This was the one thing we had planned to do but decided against it once we got there. We did not anticipate the large crowds and the lines.
Canada’s Wonderland – Ontario, CA
Amusement Park close to Toronto and it was just an excellent time. We got there shortly after it opened around 10:00 am and stayed until it closed. We enjoyed the amusement park and the water park. One find was the all you can eat buffet there, which we had for dinner and with out very different eating styles, our family enjoyed this very much.
Tour of the Detroit Tigers Stadium
$5 game day tour, quite a steal for 90 minutes behind the scenes walk about.