Beat the Heat With This Cool Getaway

Instead of baking at the beach, escape to Niagara Falls.

What better way to beat the July heat wave than to hang out near the world's largest evaporative cooler?

If you're looking for a fun-filled summer family getaway that's only six hours from New Canaan, then head northwest for a long weekend at Niagara Falls.

It seems Niagara Falls was all the rage for romantic and family getaways a couple decades ago, yet for some inexplicable reason it's become passe. When I recently took my kids to see this wondrous natural attraction, I was surprised that so few of my friends have been there since they were kids, if at all.

This reminds me of living in Arizona and my astonishment at the number of Phoenix natives who'd never experienced the Grand Canyon. It seems there are more visitors to Niagara Falls from Europe and Japan than there are from New York and Connecticut.These marvelous wonders are right in our back yard, and we take them for granted.

Niagara Falls has something for everyone. The falls are simply breathtaking, so it's a visual feast for the photographer and outdoor lover. Be sure to ride the Maid of the Mist ferry, which takes you beneath American and Horseshoe Falls, but be prepared to get drenched. Other must-see attractions include the river walk along Niagara Gorge, a serious Class 6 rapids that will tantalize the whitewater afficionado in your group. We bought multi-attraction adventure passes and especially enjoyed the Journey Behind the Falls, which takes yellow poncho clad visitors behind and to the side of Horseshoe Falls. In the morning sun it's a shimmery slice of heaven. 

For the adventurer and history buff there are displays about the daredevils who rode barrels over the falls and walked tightropes over the gorge. The geologist will be enamored with how the falls were formed and their erosion over the years. In addition there are jet boat and helicopter rides, a world class aviary, and for those who prefer a civilized experience: luxury hotels, restaurants, shops, arcades, and even an indoor water park.  

If you go, I recommend staying on the Canadian side of the border; the views are better and it's a fun cultural experience for the kids...eh? The crossing generally takes only 15-20 minutes; be sure to bring your passport. While in Canada, plan a short drive to the charming community of Niagara-on-the Lake, stopping at the Butterfly Pavilion and the Lake Ontario overlooks along the way.

For more information on this ultra cool summer vacation, click here







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