It starts as a dull rumble in the distance, a sense of something creating enormous yet invisible power. On drawing closer there is a sensation of vast, incomprehensible forces at work as sheens of mist drift into the sky. Then all at once the full majesty of one of the natural wonders of the world surges into view: Niagara Falls, with hundreds of thousands of gallons of water pouring over every second into the depths of the Niagara River below. It is one of the most stunning sights to be seen anywhere and is the perfect place for adventurers and thrill seekers to visit.

A bridge between two great countries

The Niagara Falls act as a natural barrier between Canada and the United States and the cataract is made up of three separate waterfalls. The smallest are the Bridal Veil Falls, with the huge American Falls on the US side of the river, and the gigantic Canadian “Horseshoe” Falls bordering Canada. There are two cities of Niagara Falls, the American one being part of New York State and the Canadian one a part of Ontario. They are joined by the spectacular Rainbow Bridge that spans the river below the falls.

A playground of adventure

Excitement and wonder are watchwords for a visit to Niagara Falls, with both outdoor and indoor activities guaranteed to thrill and – sometimes – terrify! Whatever the weather there is always something to do for the adventurous traveler.

On the river

The most famous boat trip is on The Maid of the Mist, which sails from the American and Canadian sides. It’s the only boat that gets up really close to the world’s second largest waterfall and it is an incredible experience to witness the relentless pounding of the water from just a stone’s throw away, and to be immersed in the mist created by the never-ending deluge.

One of the great whitewater rides is to take a trip on a Whirlpool Jet Boat, down the river through its foaming rapids and into the whirlpool. The boat’s immensely powerful engines have the capacity to thrust itself out of the whirlpool before once again attacking the whitewater rapids on its return.

Behind the falls

Tunnels behind the falls allow intrepid visitors to bring out the inner cave dweller and explore right underneath them. It’s a unique experience, and in winter when the ice forms, it’s an intense and eerie adventure.

Off the river

Dangling from cables hundreds of feet above the river the Whirlpool Aero Car gives a different view of the deadly whirlpool. Helicopter rides take visitors even higher, with panoramic views of the falls from thousands of feet above.

Those attracted by skydiving will get a real taste of it in the indoor skydiving center, or for those whose tastes are more traditional amusement park, Marineland offers roller coasters and heart-in-the-mouth attractions such as the Sky Skreamer and the Topple Tower.

Taking a break

Hotels in Niagara Falls are plentiful and range from the utmost in luxury to small relaxed motels and guesthouses. After a delicious dinner, it’s time to head for the nightlife, including the city’s two stunning casinos.

Photo by adrians on Flickr