When Expedia.ca offered me the chance to check out Niagara Falls (Canada) last weekend, I was really keen. Neil grew up in Niagara-on-the-Lake, so he is very familiar with the area in all seasons and we travel to the wineries in the area a few times a year (no matter what the season). But the Falls themselves? I’ve been (obviously) many times – every time people come to visit Toronto, it’s “the” day trip that must be taken. But in the winter? A few of my friends raised their eyebrows. “Niagara Falls? In January?” Many people were not quite sure exactly what we would do there, since it tends to be very much a good weather destination. Well here’s the thing: I actually really like travelling to “touristy” places in the off-season. Despite the fact that the weather may not exactly be ideal, there are so many reasons to travel to such destinations in the winter months.
1. It’s less expensive
(Piggy bank image via Shutterstock)
Obviously in the “off” season, a destination like Niagara Falls is going to be cheaper than in the summer. Even at the last-minute, there are many hotel deals to be had so if you’re at a loss for something to do on a crisp, cold weekend, you might be surprised to find a better deal than you imagine at the Falls. Bonus? If the weather is not too bad, traffic out of Toronto down to the Falls isn’t the nightmare it is on a warm weather weekend!
2. It’s beautiful!
I happen to be a huge fan of winter landscapes (as long as I am not out in them for too long!) and Niagara Falls in the winter has to be some of the most gorgeous scenery out there. The image above was taken from the Niagara Skywheel, one of the best places to get a great overview of the natural beauty that is the Falls. It doesn’t matter than the temperatures are freezing, this landscape has to be seen in winter to be truly appreciated.
3. There is still plenty to do (and it’s less crowded!)
Ok so the weather outside might be frightful, and some of the classic “Falls experiences” (like the boat tours) might only be available from May through November but there are still so many things to do to do in Niagara Falls. These include lots of indoor activities – a lot of the places in Clifton Hill (“The Street for Fun at the Falls”), for example, are indoors and the huge bonus about visiting in the cooler weather is that the lineups are minimal to non-existent. For someone (ahem, me!) who hates lining up for anything, this is a very big plus!
4. Wine country is still open!
Though the vistas are definitely not as picturesque as they are in the warmer months, wine country, Niagara, is most definitely OPEN (and thriving!) in the winter. Check out the Wine Country Ontario website for a complete listing of the wineries in the area and don’t forget to check the dates of the various Festivals taking place.
This month, for example, it’s the Ice Wine Festival with lots of special events and activities planned around ice wine. $40 gets you a “Discovery Pass” allowing you 8 ice wine and food pairings at different wineries (or share your pass with a friend). It’s a great way to discover some new wineries and keep warm at the same time! And again, all the wineries are much less crowded in the winter!
5. Too cold? Take to the indoors!
To be honest, when we arrived late on Friday night at the Doubletree Fallsview Resort and Spa, our base for the weekend, the last thing we felt like doing was heading out in search of dinner… Plus, we were mesmerized by the view – all the twinkly lights, the mist and, well, the FALLS! So, we treated ourselves to dinner and a movie… in our room.
One of our better room service meals (though I am hardly a connoisseur!) – an excellent burger and a really fresh chicken club sandwich. Paired with wine and a movie? The perfect way to gear up for a busy weekend exploring the Falls. Room service, is, of course, a big treat and it’s not something I often will succumb to. But late on a Friday night with a gorgeous view of the Falls seemed to be a pretty good time to give in.
The following day, after spending the entire day exploring the area, we headed here:
An Aveda Spa right in the lobby of my hotel? Yes please! There’s nothing better on a really cold day than to head indoors for a little pampering. Offering a full suite of services (if you are familiar with Aveda spas, you’ll be right at home) from massages and body treatments to pedicures to facials, your spa appointment also gives you access to the on-site hotel indoor pool, whirlpool, cedar sauna, fitness facility and seasonal outdoor hot tub. So yeah, although people say the best way to enjoy the winter is to get outside and embrace it, I say sometimes it’s ok to stay indoors 😉
So there you have it – my five top reasons why it’s a good idea to visit Niagara Falls whatever the weather!
Stay tuned for a rundown of some of my “must visit/ eat/ drink” places in the area! It’s an interesting mix of old favourites and new discoveries.
Disclosure: Thanks to my friends at Expedia.ca for covering my hotel and spa treatments as a member of the Big World Explorer programme. I have not received further compensation and everything is written based on my personal experience on this trip.