Experience the Beauty and Adventure of Camping Near Niagara Falls
Last July, my family and I finally made the trek up to Niagara Falls. You guys, this is a must-see sight, and if you have a van and some money to put gas in the tank, you really have no reason not to give Niagara Falls camping a try.
All that said, we always recommend doing your research before traveling to any new place, and Niagara Falls is no exception. There are several things you should know before you go camping at Niagara Falls, and some of these things will almost certainly save you time, money, and frustration. That’s where this article comes into play!
Read on to learn everything you need to know about Niagara Falls camping so you can have an amazing trip you’ll remember for years to come.
When To Go
First, let’s talk about when you should plan your trip to Niagara Falls. As you probably already know, the falls are located in the northern part of the country. This means the area is very cold in the wintertime, and while the falls won’t freeze over entirely, a lot of the water will be frozen, and the mist from the falls will be incredibly cold.
While this is a pretty enough sight in its own way, it definitely isn’t the best way to see Niagara Falls, especially if it is your first time—and even more so if you’re taking a once-in-a-lifetime trip. Therefore, we definitely recommend skipping a winter visit unless you’ve been before and you’re just looking for a different sort of experience.
Spring is an okay time to visit, but the weather can still be a little iffy, and if you were hoping to get up close to the falls, you might not enjoy the feeling of the cold mist. Fall can also be quite chilly, but we do appreciate that there are fewer crowds and the colors of the fall foliage make for an amazing backdrop.
Overall, the best time to go camping at Niagara Falls is in the summer. During the summer months, the weather is reliably warm (and sometimes even hot), making walking and riding through the mist created by the falls an enjoyable experience. The whole area will be beautifully green during the summer, meaning plenty of lovely hikes, and the evenings will be warm enough to make the light show and fireworks show enjoyable.
Where To Stay
Okay, so summer is the ideal time to go camping at Niagara Falls, but where should you stay during this camping adventure? If you’re looking to camp right by the falls and hear the roar of the water all night, you’ll be disappointed. The good news is that there are still several great camping options in the area, offering a range of amenities and outdoor experiences.
Niagara Falls Campground & Lodging
The closest Niagara Falls camping option is Niagara Falls Campground & Lodging. This park sits just six miles from the falls and plays host to over 80 campsites. A pool, playground, and clean bathhouses are available to guests, and there is a tour center that offers information on local attractions.
Niagara Falls Grand Island KOA
We love KOA parks for family camping, and the Niagara Falls Grand Island KOA is certainly no exception. This awesome park may be a little further from the falls, but it includes two heated pools, water slides, a playground, an inflatable jumping pad, and more.
If it weren’t for the incredible falls sitting just a short drive away, there wouldn’t be any reason to leave the campground.
Four Mile Creek State Park
We stayed at Four Mile Creek State Park and absolutely loved it. This is the most budget-friendly option we could find, but the park is well-kept and there are plenty of great amenities included. Kids will love the large playground in the center of the campground, the sites include water and electricity, there is a dump station for guests to use, and the bathrooms are always clean.
The best part? Those staying at the state park can park at any state park for free. This meant we could park right by the falls without paying a dime!
What To Do
Now that you know when to go camping at Niagara Falls and where to park your van once you get there, let’s talk about what to do. After all, you will want to make the most of your trip to this gorgeous and amazing place.
Maid of the Mist
Easily the best attraction in the whole area, Maid of the Mist is the very best way to get up close and personal with the falls. This boat ride takes you into the basin of Horseshoe Falls, giving you some incredible views of this majestic waterfall.
It is important to note that while you are given a poncho to wear, you will definitely get wet while riding on Maid of the Mist. The mist that comes off of Horseshoe Falls is plentiful and there were times during our trip into the basin that I couldn’t see anything because the mist was so thick. That said, it is possible to get less wet by standing on the lower level of the boat, as this section does have some protection from the mist.
When you get off of the boat you have the option to walk up a staircase and get near another waterfall and/or watch the falls from an observation deck. I recommend budgeting time for both.
Cave of the Winds
We also went to Cave of the Winds and enjoyed it very much. This experience started with a small museum with hands-on exhibits about the history of the falls and the area. Next, we were all directed to a small theater where we watched a short show, also about the history of the waterfall. This show was very engaging and even the small children in our group enjoyed it.
After the museum and the show we rode an elevator down to where we could walk out onto a staircase that allowed us to walk right by a waterfall. We did get ponchos here as well and could feel the mist coming from the falls.
The kids loved the Hurricane Deck where they got totally drenched from the water coming off the falls. Of course, this view of the waterfall was totally different and cool, and it definitely helped make our trip special.
Nearby State Parks
There are a number of great state parks near Niagara Falls. Besides the aforementioned Four Mile Creek State Park, we also enjoyed a hike at Devil’s Hole State Park and a day gathering sea glass at the lakeside beach at Wilson Tuscarora State Park. Both were lovely and well worth visiting, and the fact that our camping tag allowed us free entry/parking was an added bonus.
See the Canada Side
Many people will tell you that Niagara Falls isn’t worth visiting if you can’t see it from the Canada side. I disagree. We only saw it from the US side and thought it was 100% worth the trip, especially after riding the Maid of the Mist and seeing Horseshoe Falls from the boat.
That said, our friends were able to cross over to see the falls from Canada, and based on what they told us and the photos we saw, this is something to consider doing. If we go back up there, we will be sure we have passports so we can cross the border and see the falls from another angle.
Note: You can cross the border on foot, and this is often much faster than crossing by car.
Niagara Falls Illumination and Fireworks
Lastly, I must mention the “Illumination” light show that happens nightly during the summer (and on select nights throughout the rest of the year) at Niagara Falls. The light show goes on for hours and lights up Horseshoe Falls with a rainbow of colors. This show is often accompanied by fireworks, making it a spectacular way to end your day in this amazing place!
Get Ready for an Unforgettable Niagara Falls Camping Trip
Niagara Falls camping offers a unique and unforgettable way to experience one of the world’s most awe-inspiring natural wonders. With these tips and tricks, you’re ready to plan an amazing summer road trip that includes camping in the area. And to make your trip planning even easier, consider using RV LIFE Trip Wizard, a powerful tool that can help you map out your route, find campgrounds and RV parks, and plan your itinerary with ease. Book your campsite, pack your bags, and get ready for a waterfall adventure you’ll never forget!