Niagara Falls Frugal Travel Guide

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March 10, 2010

Niagara FallsI am finally going to Niagara Falls and the "I Love Lucy" museum. I am 47 and this is where I have always wanted to go. I know it is kitch and touristy, anyway got any ideas or tips on cheap eating? Cheaper anything would be appreciated. I figure we will take drinks and dry cereal, etc.


By sandy from Baltimore, MD


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March 15, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

I was disappointed at the "Bollywood" atmosphere of the American side. Also the poverty of the town of Buffalo in general. We stayed on the Canadian side. If you go off season things are cheaper and the view of the falls is much better from that side. I am sure you want to at least get your money's worth and I think the Canadian side will do you better.


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March 18, 20100 found this helpful
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Definitely go to the Canadian side, and do go before Labor Day--that's when they shut down the amount of water going over the Falls. As you stand by the railing, you can feel the pressure of the water hitting your chest and it makes a much larger impact. After Labor Day, you fail to get the same sensation. I realize this sounds silly, but experiencing the falls is much more than just seeing a nice view.


On top of the hill, across from the rides is a Dominos Pizza--cheap lunch or dinner. Usually casinos have great food prices, but I never went into the one at the falls to know if theirs are cheap. Personally, I'd start a walking program now, it's the best way to get around the tourist area, which is large, and if you're out of shape can be difficult. On top of the hill, there is the Skylon tower, that you can go up and get a wonderful view of the area--it is worth the price. The IMAX theater is educational-- they give an interesting history of the falls.

We always visit a tourist information center on the way there. They will give you a map of the area, help you plan what you might like to see, give you lots of information, and discount tickets. They even called around to find hotels for us. Definitely plan to drive north of the falls. There is a wonderful town named Niagara on the Lake. Close to it is Fort George.


On the way there (west side of the road) is a great fruit stand/orchard/vinyard where you can buy fresh fruit to eat, gourmet jams and jellies, and homemade sandwiches on crusty french bread and cookies to eat. On the way, you'll also pass the botanical gardens (I believe this is where the butterfly conservatory is) and you can see a magnificent floral clock. On the drive north of the falls, you'll pass a small turn-around on the east side of the road, that you'll want to pull into. It is actually where the Aerocar (trolley that goes over the falls) turns around, and is a nice place to see an unspoiled view of the river, not to mention it is free.

Personally, I like to see the tourist museums--they give an interesting feel to the entire experience. If you decide to ride the Maid-of-the-Mist (you really should), do it exactly at noon. The boats are usually packed, but the one at noon is half empty, allowing you to walk around freely. I like to go straight to the front as soon as I get on--you get the best view by far. You will get soaked.


The Journey behind the falls is also nice, but don't be in a hurry. You can get some great pictures down on the platform near the base of the falls. Do be prepared to get wet. Driving south on the Niagara River Parkway, you will see an old barge that got stuck on the rocks and has been sitting there for years. If it ever breaks loose, it will probably go over the falls. You also will see the old water power plants. See as much and do as much as you possibly can, or you'll regret it. This is a wonderful place to go. It absolutely leaves one in awe. Wish I was joining you.

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More Questions

Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

July 21, 2017

Our family of 4, including 2 children 9 & 13, is traveling to Niagara Falls from Nova Scotia in one month (at the end of August 2017). I am looking for tips and tricks to reduce costs. At the moment we are booked at the Clifton Victoria Inn. I was looking for a reasonable hotel and this one had good rates, but of course no view. However we can add on waterpark passes at a reduced rate. We will want to do the Maid of Mist tour and Marineland. Any suggestions at all are appreciated.


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July 21, 20170 found this helpful

I would eat breakfast and lunch in the room. Try getting a room with a microwave and a refrigerator.


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July 22, 20170 found this helpful

Your present accommodations at the Clifton Victoria Inn in Canada are probably some of the best as you have free parking (very necessary if you will be renting a car) and free buffet breakfast is a very good deal - if you and your children can make this a main meal. I'm sure there will be coffee available in your room.


The closer the time of departure gets start looking for coupons as these can save you a lot of money. Your child that is 13 (not 12 going on 13?) will be treated as an adult with all tickets and accommodations - so you really have 3 adults and 1 child.

You do not say how many days you will stay but I feel sure this is a vacation that you will want to remember many years from now so keep that is mind when you consider the cost.
Staying at a hotel/motel a little further away from Niagara Falls can save you a lot of money but then you have to consider the travel costs and inconvenience of having to travel.
Hotels/motels with kitchens can save money on meals and snacks and also give a little more room for a family but may not have as much privacy. These are also not always as nice as the hotels that are closer to the falls.
Here is a link to some spots with kitchens so you can think about a change (or if it is worth it).


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8 Photos

Check out these photos.

January 11, 2011

My husband and I visited Niagara Falls in September, 2010. This photo was taken from the closest point one can stand at the "Journey Behind the Falls" attraction in Niagara, Ontario, Canada.

Horseshoe Falls (Niagara, Ontario, Canada)


Silver Post Medal for All Time! 433 Posts
February 7, 2012

This picture was taken at Niagara Falls.

Niagara Falls


Bronze Request Medal for All Time! 59 Requests
December 9, 2010

I took this photo in late October of the American Falls and the Rainbow Bridge in the distance. It was taken from the walkway bridge over the Parkway that goes between Table Rock, and where the Incline Railway is located.

Niagara Falls (Canada)


November 11, 2010

These beautiful pictures were taken when my daughter Lisa and my grandbaby Emma Grace went to the park with me, right in our own neighborhood. We went to have Emmy frolic in the leaves, look at the beautiful falls, foliage and ducks. It was a wonderful time for all us.


April 16, 2012

We celebrated 37 years of marriage by going to Niagara Falls, NY. It was a beautiful sunny day and we took a picture of the fall. We visit this site every year on "our" day. We were amazed at the two rainbows!

Rainbow Over the Falls! (Niagara Falls, NY)


March 12, 2012

Caught a picture of this gull at Niagara Falls.

Wildlife: Gull (Niagara Falls, Canada)

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