5 Best Photo Opportunities in Niagara Falls

Photo Opportunities Niagara Falls

Lee Van Grack

Niagara Falls is probably one of the most breathtaking places in North America. It is so marvelously beautiful that every tourist frantically takes photos, one after another, trying to capture the intensity of the vigorous cascades to share with others at home. Although I was equipped only with a Nikon Coolpix digital camera, the beauty of the falls flowed into my photos, allowing me to relive and share those moments of sheer awe through pictures.

But don't be envious; you can have an amazing experience at Niagara Falls, too! Summer is the best time to visit the falls and the best time for pictures, too. The high winds that blow around Niagara Falls can be severe in the cold months from November through March, when the average temperature is 30-36 degrees Fahrenheit (-0.9-2 degrees Celsius). From June through August, the temperature is much more agreeable at 75-81 degrees F (21-25 degrees C), which makes the cool water splashing from the falls feel very refreshing and delightful to visitors. Listed here are the 5 best photo opportunities in Niagara.

1. The Romantic Photo: Rainbow Over the Water

On a clear day, there are always multiple rainbows right by the falls on the New York side in the state park. On the day I was there, I spotted a beautiful wedding shoot taking place. This is the perfect placefor wedding shoots, a proposal or just a sweet kiss in front of the camera. After all, for decades, this was the place to honeymoon for Americans from all over the U.S., and the photo opportunity with the Niagra falls behind the happy couple have always been integral to the romance of this astonishing natural wonder.

2. The Quirky Photo: Lockport Cave and Underground Boat Ride

This fun excursion has been rated one of the top spots to visit around Niagara Falls, N.Y., by TripAdvisor.com. We took a short detour the first day of our trip to the falls and found ourselves 20 minutes away (via Route 31 East) in the quaint little town of Lockport, N.Y. Right on the Erie Canal, Lockport was home to many factories in the mid-1800s. For $10 each, you will have the opportunity to enter the depths of Lockport's 1850 man-made cave and go on a spooky boat ride, filled with crazy cave formations. You can even visit a haunted cave!

The ticket office is located at 2 Pine Street in Lockport near Main Street in the Historic Old City Hall. For more information, call (716) 438-0174.

3. The Family Fun Photo: The Moving Theater

Cross over the U. S. border to the Canadian side to pose in front of Ripley's Believe It or Not! Moving Theater, which is unique to the other Ripley's museums elsewhere in the world. The Niagara Theater features a crazy design – a sideways empire State Building, with King Kong hanging off the side – perfect for photo ops and also includes the history of people who have done crazy things at the falls, including Annie Taylor, the first person to successfully go over the falls in a barrel. The museum also has other oddities that Ripley's is known so well for, such as a two-head kitten and a shrunken head of a real human. Remember that everyone in your car will need their passports to travel into Canada.

Open all year round, the Ripley's Believe It or Not! Niagara Theater is located at 4960 Clifton Hill in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. For additional information, call (905) 356-2238.

4. The Scenic Photo: Illuminated Horseshoe Falls

All year long, both sides of the falls (Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side and American Falls on the U.S. side) are lit from 9PM to 12AM ET every night, with gorgeous colors and white spotlights, making for incredible photos of the massive falling waters. A spectacular fireworks show over the already-spectacular falls can be seen every Friday and Sunday night, and holidays at 10PM ET, from late May to early September. Additional shows are added in July, August and October. I visited the falls in early May 2010, so we missed out on this, but we are going definitely back to Niagara Falls in July for the fireworks and illumination – that's how wonderful the falls are!

5. The Classic Photo: Aboard the Maid of the Mist

The Maid of the Mist is a thrilling boat ride, and one of the things that makes Niagara Falls indisputably great. I urge you to go on this ride, for even if it is the only thing you do at the falls, it will be worth the trip. The pictures you will shoot say it all: you, or your companions, wearing a reliable complimentary souvenir poncho, less than 50 feet away from the cascading falls. The sheer intensity of the falls will leave you in awe. Yes, you will definitely get wet; no, you will not be soaked if you are wearing your poncho properly. At $13.50 for adults and $7.85 for children ages 6 to 12, it is great deal for a mind-blowing experience.

For those worried about the cost, a two-day trip at Niagara Falls can be inexpensive. Niagara Falls State Park is free, and parking is cheap ($5 per day in parking lots a mere 100 feet away from the park entrance, and $10 inside the park's lots). For lodging, you can do what I did and book a room at a inn or hotel alongside Niagara Falls Boulevard (roughly 10 minutes away from Niagara Falls State Park) for a much cheaper price than rooms right by the Niagara Falls State Park. Good family style restaurants, buffets, fast food joints and supermarkets can be found along the boulevard as well.

Niagara Falls is an ideal summer destination for people of all ages. The water is cool and refreshing, the scenery is fantastic and there is an abundance of activities and photo opportunities throughout the area. See you at the Niagra Falls!
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