Trip Advisor Niagara Falls

A special “Thank you” to Angela at Trip Advisor.  She has been canvassing the region helping tour operators such as us.  Trip Advisor is an amazing resource for marketing our Niagara Falls Tours to the worldwide Trip Advisor community.  Hopefully, other attractions, restaurants and hotels in the Niagara Falls region will take advantage of the Trip Advisor program.  After all, nobody will use our wonderful tours if they can’t find them!

Again, thanks to Angela for all her efforts.  She truly cares about her customers and about promoting this region.

By |May 9th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Helicopter Ride Over Niagara Falls

So, what’s it like to fly over Niagara Falls in a helicopter?  Pretty darn cool!  The images (above) and video (below) here were shot in the spring so you can still see some ice in the river and under the Falls.  Also, the springtime is an interesting time to view the area because there are no leaves on the trees to block your sight.

Helicopters have been operating over the Falls for many years and are considered very safe.  Some heroic pilots have been involved in amazing rescue attempts for people who’ve become stranded just before the brink of Niagara.  Most flights last less than 15 minutes and will cost $100-$200 per person.  You can find the helicopter attraction on either side of the border.  I think it adds a special touch to a private tour from Niagara Falls Walking Tours!

When does the Maid of the Mist Open For the Season?

As the Maid of the Mist operates in the lower Niagara River, immediately below the Horseshoe Falls, the boat cannot safely navigate in the water unless the river is ice free. Historically, the opening date has been May 1st, although in some years with milder winters, it has open in Mid April.
You can plan on an opening day of May 1st with 99% confidence as you plan your spring time trips to Niagara Falls.

The best place to find the official opening day information is the Maid of the Mist web site which is linked here.  The Maid of the Mist is reputed to be the longest running tourist attraction in North America.  It has been in operation since 1846, although not continually.  The attraction took some time off during the Civil War.

The Maid of the Mist is truly a bucket list worthy attraction in Niagara Falls.  If you have just one hour to do one thing in Niagara, make certain it is the Maid of the Mist.  Until just a few years ago, the Maid served both sides of the border, but today that has changed.  The Maid of the Mist now departs from the U.S. side only.  Hornblower Cruises operates the franchise on the Canadian side of the river.  Which ride is better?  Ride both boats and you tell me.  The real star is the amazing Horseshoe Falls.

Best pictures of Niagara Falls

Header 1 Rainbow

It is said that Niagara Falls may be one of the most photographed places on earth.  Some unique and interesting images are found here, which a widget that offers panoramic views of the Niagara Falls region.  it’s worth a look, especially if you haven’t been to Niagara Falls and are wondering what all the fuss is about.

What things can you NOT bring into Canada?

Growing up along the border with Canada, I reflect upon days where security was non-existent and crossing the border was like crossing a bridge and paying a toll.  The most grilling question from the border inspector was “Are you bringing in any fresh fruit?”  I guess bananas and some pomegranates were considered dangerous and needed to not be let in.  My how things have changed.  If you are traveling to Niagara Falls from the US and considering taking a Niagara Falls Tour in Ontario, be careful.  There are some things that can’t cross the border.  Courtesy of the Canadian government, here is a partial list of things that will be confiscated should you attempt to being them across the border:

automatic knives such as switchblades;

centrifugal knives such as flick knives or butterfly knives;

gravity knives;

mace or pepper spray designed for use on humans;

nunchaku sticks;

shuriken (throwing stars);

manrikigusari or kusari (fighting chains);

finger rings with blades or other sharp objects projecting from the surface;

Taser and stun guns shorter than 480 mm;

crossbows designed for one-handed use;

crossbows 500 mm or shorter;

Constant Companion (belt-buckle knife);

push daggers;

devices shorter than 30 cm concealing a knife blade (e.g. knife-comb);

spiked wristbands;


Kiyoga or Steel Cobra batons (spring batons);

spring-loaded rigid batons (triggered by a button or lever);

morning stars; and

brass knuckles.

Devices that are prohibited from entering Canada:

silencers or devices designed to muffle or stop the sound of a firearm;

certain cartridge magazines above a given capacity. Generally, cartridge magazines are limited to 5 rounds for centre

fire, semi-automatic rifles or shotguns and 10 rounds for semiautomatic handguns;

bullpup stocks;

replica firearms;

I think our Northern neighbors have it right.  They are concerned about letting people and things into their country that cause problems.  In the US our southern border is porous and daily transgressed by illegals.



Can I go over Niagara Falls in a Barrel?

I had an interesting question posed to me by one of my 60 German tourists during yesterday’s trip to Niagara Falls. “Can I go over the Falls in a barrel?” In a world where tourists can go into outer space, can zip line through the Amazon and can hang glide off a mountain top, I guess the question wasn’t crazy. You could go over Niagara Falls in a barrel, but it is ill advised. First–the trip would be illegal. You will be fined $10,000 Canadian dollars if you try. Second–it’s dangerous and stupid. Falling over a 170 foot tall precipice into an angry river below is a fool’s errand. Of the 15 people who’ve used some kind of contraption to challenge the Falls, 5 have died. Disney’s Tower of Terror is a 13 story free fall drop, so you might try that. It is safer.

Niagara Falls Trip Advisor Ratings

Thanks to all the wonderful people who’ve taken my tour and been kind enough to write a review on Yahoo’s Trip Advisor. Today I received my “2014 Certificate of Excellence”, which will sit upon the mantle with my “2013 Certificate of Excellence”. I also learned today that Niagara Falls Walking Tours is the #2 rated tour in Niagara Falls. I am behind the Maid of the Mist Boat Ride which has millions of riders each year, so I don’t think that I’m ever going to exceed their rating.
Still it is gratifying to receive the award and the ranking as the reviews are genuine.
This all coincides with the release of my new guide book on Niagara Falls, so I am optimistic that this upcoming season will be a good one for us.
#Niagarafalls #NiagaraFallstours

Hornblower Cruises the Niagara

Ship Comes in for Niagara Falls

Today it finally happened, the debut of the new Hornblower Niagara Cruises service on the Canadian side of the Niagara River.  By all accounts the new catamaran boats are sleek and offer many amenities that the older Maid of the Mist Boats do not have.

I cannot provide an honest appraisal of the new service until I have a chance to ride, which will be soon.  But already I can say that competition is a good thing.  I believe the price for Canadian service has gone down.  Also Hornblower is launching evening cruises which have always been a big no-no for the Maid of the Mist operation.  We were led to believe that the increased water diversion and darkness would lead to safety problems.  We’ll see about that in the upcoming weeks.

So stay tuned. We’ll have a comparison as soon as we get a chance to ride the new boats on the Canadian side of the river.  But if you haven’t been to Niagara Falls recently, Hornblower Cruises is definitely something new to do in Niagara.



By |May 16th, 2014|Uncategorized|0 Comments

A Fantastic Niagara Falls Adventure

If you are reading this, it is most likely that you’ve stumbled upon this blog while researching your trip to Niagara Falls. In other words, you’re about to embark on a journey, an adventure of sorts.

moon-travel-guides-logoSo am I.

Some otherwise knowledgeable people at Perseus Books Group have asked me to write a travel guide for the Niagara Falls Region. When complete, my scribbling would join the legitimate authors who’ve penned the reputable series of travel books known as Moon Guides.

I love telling the story of Niagara, but writing a book is at once energizing and frightening. Like the first time you ride the big-boy roller coaster and you’re paused at the peak of the first enormous  hill.  For a moment you wonder if this adventure was a good idea.   I do have some experience in writing–my degree is in broadcast journalism from Syracuse University.  I’ve even played a journalist on TV for a while, I’ve never written long form before.

The people at Moon are extremely supportive, and I’ve turned to their web site for inspiration.  It bothers me that I do not look like any of their authors pictured on the site–I am neither a swarthy Latin or thin old balding guy with a dog.  I’m just a guy with a camera, pad, pen and motorcycle documenting the lesser known beauties of this region.

Stay tuned as I tackle this challenge.