Niagara Falls in Winter – USA

Niagara Falls in winter
©Exploramum and Explorason – Making wishes at Niagra Falls

Niagara Falls in Winter – USA

– our road trip

Heading to Niagara Falls in winter means we get to experience this away from the peak season and here is what we found on the USA side. Traveling in winter is proving to be a little challenging as chain Motels (which are not my favorite) seem to be the only thing open. I like the unusual and more individual style but we try about three towns, and we drive on until dark. We eventually have to succumb and book into a chain brand hotel that should be of a good standard. 

Local luxury travel experts tell us to learn from our mistake and try booking hotel accommodations earlier next time before our family visit to the region. It is a lesson worth learning though there are things we cannot avoid as we continue with our adventurous single parent travel. Some are never planned for and that is at times the beauty of it all.

Niagara Falls in winter
©Exploramum and Explorason – Getting wet at Niagara Falls

Cheaper Accommodation

If I’m going to have to stay here then I might try to haggle price as it is dead of winter – of course, and get $15 off the best rate. But the good thing is it does include a breakfast.

Attitude Check

Niagara Falls in winter
©Exploramum and Explorason – A stranger clears the ice from our car windows

The walls are thin, there is mold on the rim. But the worst is the traffic noise as the trucks are flying past all night. We stuff pillows on the windows and it is freezing cold. I have had little sleep and come out with not the best of moods. It is time to hit the road in our hire car and head to Niagara Falls in the winter season.

Then, I see a severely disfigured guy cleaning the ice off my car windows for me. My whole attitude changes and I feel blessed. He had cleaned his car and done mine too.  Wow, did this make me feel blessed?

Beautiful Farm Buildings

Niagara Falls in winter
©Exploramum and Explorason – beautiful barns

We drive through the inland hills and see quite a bit of snow but this is going to Niagara Falls in winter and to be expected. Here is a lovely barn. I am going to miss Pennsylvania as we head to New York State.

Why we quit homeschooling

Today we have a massive argument about schooling as my son is not interested in his books at all. Minecraft is the latest addiction and he can play it on my phone and that is far more exciting.

Normally we do spelling words as I drive and of course, learn about where we are going.  I find today is a day I would like a man’s influence on my son, but as we only have me, I stop the car and we have to have a discussion.  I decide that world schooling is way better and so we begin to talk about politics as he is interested in that.

Today there is a terrible shooting in one of the UA schools and my sons really things going to school might risk his life. If we lived here it might. He sadly has a point.

Is Niagara township closed?

We arrive at Niagara Falls. Most shops are shut for the winter season and we wander in as boxes are being packed away with stock.  Its a weird feeling as we don’t get this is Australia.

No Maid of the Mist

No Maid of the Mist boat at Niagara Falls in winter – we had Googled and not found this so this added to our disappointment in a massive way and our spirits were down.

Toilets and Restaurants

Most restaurants are also closed at Niagara Falls in winter. No-where to go to the toilet. I am really flat again.

Lovely Park with squirrels

We wander around the park near the falls and squirrels run about which is lovely to see. This park designed by the same guy who designed Central Park, and it is nice.

Goats Island

Niagara Falls in winter
©Exploramum and Explorason – Goat Island and the squirrels

We head for Goats Island, and I decide to make Niagara Falls the education for the day. My son feeds his chicken lunch to the squirrels. Hmm – soon I will have a hungry son.

Free Observation

Niagara Falls in winter
©Exploramum and Explorason – a free observation as we look to Canada

We enjoy the view as we wander around Goat Island. The good thing is that the observation area is free at Niagara Falls in winter and no one is here.

Rainbows, Dandelions and Making Wishes

Niagara Falls in winter
©Exploramum and Explorason – dandelion wishes
They say you can nearly always see a rainbow at these falls so we decide to go hunting for that.  Maybe make a wish and have some fun? We walk to a few spots to change vantage spots. The spray is amazing, and we get to see a rainbow!
Niagara Falls in winter
©Exploramum and Explorason – We see the rainbow

We then go for a walk, and this is a great de-stress. My son has never made dandelion wishes, so this is fun. He is actually so cute and wants me to make some wishes to.  I think this is really a tool for positive thinking and we have a mind-shift.

Niagara Falls in winter
©Exploramum and Explorason – sometimes making wishes with dandelions is memories we remember for a lifetime

World School Time

Niagara Falls in winter
©Exploramum and Explorason – world schooling

We then learn about currents in the water as this can form education. We throw sticks in and discuss this. We talk about where the water comes from and read the maps.

We also have been doing the compass as part for our studies. Really, this was more fun than even seeing the falls. Our bond in play-learning is great today!  World schooling really is a lot less stressful to the traveling family and it can be just as good. Sure, it doesn’t have rigid timetables and structure, but it is a definite learning that is often better than reading a book about a place or activity.

We talk about the force of the water and spend maybe 3 hours in this park.

Niagara Falls in winter
©Exploramum and Explorason – learning about water forces

We miss the Night Lights

Unfortunately, no one told us about the night lights at Niagara Falls, so we leave and drive through Buffalo. That night, I hear about them and I am quite cranky again.

I felt Niagara Falls was very commercial and a bit run-down in winter but we just didn’t see her in her touristic glory so we might have to return in summer?

But we made our own fun, we learned a lot and we didn’t spend a load of money.

Border

We only want to go on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, as I have met several people who stated that the Border Crossing here can be painful, long and be grilling so in my current frame of mind I decide it is best not to tackle that.

I don’t want drama as a single Mum. One person I met had their child taken to another room to be interviewed. Not worth it, I decide as we take off in our hire car from Niagara Falls in winter towards Buffalo.

Driving along the Lakes

We drive along the lakes into Ohio. I have a ‘bee in my bonnet’ that I refuse to stay in a mainstream Motel again after moldy Days Inn of last night. Unfortunately, we have seen so many accommodation places that are not clean enough for my standards.

I almost walk out as soon as I smell the incense, or the curry – as sadly we’ve associated certain ‘origin of owners and their scents’ and the cleanliness levels.

Lighthouses

Niagara Falls in winter
©Exploramum and Explorason – love driving along the lake

This drive is gorgeous and you will love it if you stick to the back roads.  So we check out a few quaint places to stay as we drive along thinking if we find something amazing we will stop.  As well, we find a few lighthouses which really makes it great.

Niagara Falls in winter
©Exploramum and Explorason – Love this weatherboard lighthouse

I am loving the whole lake and lighthouse themes but alas, my seven-year-old isn’t too flash with the camera and is ready for a nap.  That is another joy of having the car, he can sleep as I drive.

Dunkirk

We end up spending the night at Dunkirk. We have a really bad run of terrible Motels. So we get stuck at another chain brand hotel.  Grrrr – I am so over the lack of individual style where we spend the nights. It is really wrecking our trip. They are overpriced and boring! I am however thankful for the place to sleep.  I am determined that tomorrow night we will find some quaint accommodation!

Questions and Comments

  • Have you been to the Niagara Falls?
  • What are your experiences?
  • Do share yur comments with us below.

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One comment

  1. Yes Niagra is really awesome. I think I would love to revisit in summer when it is in full glory. I never researched going there etc so I guess I never knew all of the good until after we left. Sometimes it is hard to research all to see on the road. But I DO know for next time and hope there is one – thanks Moin and Dan 🙂

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