Niagara Falls, Ontario is a favorite destination of vacationers/tourists and is visited every year by an estimated 30 million tourists.
It is easy to fall victim to overpriced attractions or waste your precious time not getting the most out of your Niagara Falls trip or vacation.
Luckily, you can save money on almost all things – your hotel charges, attraction fees, parking, food, etc. Here are a few tips that should help you save money while on a vacation in Niagara Falls, Ontario.
1. Reducing the price of your hotel stay: Your hotel stay will most likely be your largest expense. There are many budget motels, inns, lodges and hostels within walking distance of the Falls. Take some time to check out the prices offered on various websites and choose the best one. You can use priceline.com to get some of the best hotel deals.
2. Visit during the off-season: During peak tourist season, which for Niagara Falls is summer or holiday weekends, prices charged by hotels is high. If you can, plan your trip when the place is not that busy. This way, you save on lower hotel rates and discounted attraction fees and also escape the jostling crowds.
3. Look out for coupons, deals: Most hotels will have a rack of coupon books and flyers with coupons offering discounts at various attractions and shopping malls.
You can also purchase tickets to various attractions at cheaper rates from Costco Canada.
Groupon website offers good deals and discounts on many Niagara Falls attractions.
4. Eat at reasonably priced restaurants: Try to eat away from the tourist area to avoid inflated prices. Some of the reasonably priced restaurants are Betty’s, Flying Saucer, Mick and Angelo’s, Jade Garden, Boston Pizza. Avoid U.S. chain restaurants such as Applebee’s, IHOP (way overpriced).
5. Pack snacks and drinks/lunch: When you are out sightseeing, pack some food and drinks for the day. Snacks and drinks at tourist sites are overpriced. By packing your own lunch, you could save as much as $15 per person. If your hotel room includes a kitchenette, you could buy a few groceries and whip up some tasty meals.
A great place to get picnic supplies is Lococo’s on Victoria Avenue, almost across from Great Wolf Lodge. They have fresh fruit and veggies, deli meats, bread and basic groceries. You can sit down at one of the picnic tables along Niagara Parkway or go to a park like Queenston Heights Park for a picnic lunch.
6. Tickets and passes: The Niagara Falls Adventure Pass allows admission to some Niagara Falls attractions and 2-day access to the We-Go buses. The Clifton Hill Fun Pass is another example – you can visit 6 attractions on Clifton Hill. You will be saving some money with these passes.
7. Buy and store food in your room: If your hotel room has a fridge and microwave, you can store milk and have it with breakfast cereal. You can also buy a large meal for lunch and save some for dinner. Do not forget to pack plastic spoons and cups, paper plates and napkins.
8. Look for free parking: If you travel to Niagara Falls by car, search for accommodations where there is free onsite parking. Some casinos offer free parking if you spend a certain amount of money at their games or buffet.
9. Free attractions: Though Niagara Falls can empty your wallet quite fast with its many attractions, games and shops, there are plenty of free things to do, many of which can be more satisfying than the paid attractions. Given below are some such activities.
The boardwalk: A long pedestrian boardwalk alongside the Niagara River. Get a closer look through one of the many viewfinders. Kids will love the observation deck at the brink of the Horseshoe Falls.
Happy Rolph’s Bird Sanctuary: A 15-acre municipal park on the shores of Lake Ontario in neighbouring St. Catharines. It has beautiful gardens and pathways, including the 9/11 Memorial Trail, a petting farm (May – October), picnic area and playground.
Morningstar Mill & Mountain Mills Museum: Historic Morningstar Mill in St. Catharines is one of Ontario’s oldest flour mills. Fully powered by water, Morningstar lets visitors observe mill operations, tour the house, blacksmith shop and grounds.
Looff Carousel: At 5 cents for a ride, kids can ride an antique, hand-carved merry-go-round that still operates May – September. It is a Coney Island style carousel with 68 carved animals, 4 chariots and a functioning band organ, located in Lakeside Park, Port Dalhousie.
Welland Canals Centre at Lock 3: The canal observation deck gives the best view of ships using the Welland Canal. There is free parking, a picnic area, and playground.
Niagara Glen Nature Area: A nature reserve and seasonal hiking locale, it is a Carolinian forest and is home to rare flora.
Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens: Located just 10 minutes away from the Falls on the Niagara Parkway, the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens has 40 hectares (99 acres) of beautiful gardens. The Butterfly Conservatory, located within the Botanical Gardens, though not free, is a great place for families to visit.
Floral Clock: Located on Niagara Parkway, this floral clock is 40 feet in diameter. Its clock face is made up of carpet bedding plants and flowering shrubs.
You do not have to spend a lot of money to have a memorable vacation in Niagara Falls. Plan your trip in advance and save some money with our tips above.
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