Feature: Niagara Falls - Natural Wonder & Perfect Family Vacation

Upon driving toward the Canadian side of Niagara Falls - even before being able to see the downward tumult of vast quantities of water - we were immediately captured by the natural significance of the location. Mist rose up from the hidden chasm below like large floating clouds coming to greet us as we approached. Crowds stood by and looked in awe at something that was still obscured from our view. However, as our car circled around the roadway, the Falls revealed themselves in full splendor.

It was easy to understand why millions of people visit the Falls annually. The American and Canadian Falls each provide a unique perspective to the same natural wonder. The American Falls, known as the Bridal Veil Falls, pour down onto the rocks below and rushing water cascades into the lower river. On the Canadian side, the Horseshoe Falls, with their shear size and magnificence provide the grand vision of Niagara Falls that most people imagine.

The grand presence of the Falls has beckoned adventurers of all types and skill levels. Throughout the years, daredevils have tempted fate by riding over Niagara Falls in a barrel or other vessel. For those looking for a (slightly) less extreme adventure, the Falls still have much to offer. With the natural splendor and the many outdoor activities at Niagara Falls, this is an ideal vacation spot for those on a quest for excitement.

Perhaps the most famous attraction is the Maid of the Mist boat ride that takes you to the base of the Horseshoe Falls. Adventurers will also want to check out the Cave of the Winds walkway at the bottom of the Bridal Veil Falls. While you're there, be sure to climb up to the Hurricane Deck -- but only if you dare! From Canada, you can take a tunnel behind the Horseshoe Falls and see the rushing water up close. Besides these 'must-do' adventures at the Falls, the surrounding region also offers a whirlpool jet boat, helicopter rides and trails out to the Niagara River.

There's also shopping, restaurants and amusements that offer something for the whole family. Kids will enjoy a horror show, wax museum or the IMAX theater with daredevil museum.

If you have the opportunity, travel to both the American and Canadian side of Niagara Falls. Each side offers a unique experience that, in whole, provides a memorable trip. So you can get a head start on your adventure, our guide to local accommodations and activities will provide you with a comprehensive list of what Niagara Falls has to offer.

Just be wary of the 'barrel' rides!

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