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My baby boy was about six months old when we took an impromptu trip to Niagara Falls. It was an unplanned trip with an infant, so we expected there to be quite a bit of chaos. Much to our surprise, the trip went off without a hitch and we had an excellent time on our very first family vacation.
It all started in New York City. My husband and I had flown into JFK International with our infant son. Although we were both excited to be in the big city, our little one wasn't convinced. The sights, sounds, smells, and crowds were just too much for the little guy and he spent most of our first day with tears in his eyes.
I spent most of our first day trying to navigate a stroller in and out of the Manhattan crowds while picking up the toys and bottles that were being thrown all over the sidewalk. We hadn't even gotten to our hotel for the night when we decided that our planned week in New York City just wasn't going to happen.
Early the next morning, my husband suggested driving to Niagara Falls since the insanity of the city was not going over well with our son. A couple of hours later, we had rented a car and a carseat and were on our way.
The drive itself was pretty easy. Even factoring in stops for diaper changes and feedings, it took us less than 8 hours. Of course, we did end up spending about $15 on toll roads, but it was well worth the money. We got to Niagara Falls in the late afternoon and crossed over to the Canada side. Because of the fact that we were traveling in October, we were able to walk right into the first hotel we saw (Comfort Inn - Fallsview) and get a great rate on a large room.
The first afternoon, we just walked around and took everything in. The falls were beautiful and the weather was perfect. Flowers were still in bloom and everything was sparkling clean. I loved the city from the second we drove in.
We wandered around the rim of the falls and pushed little man around in his stroller. He was absolutely entranced by all of the birds and fell asleep pretty quickly once we got close enough to hear the falls. He was definitely much happier in this environment than he had been in NYC. We also wandered up and down Clifton Hill, looking for things that we might want to do in the next couple of days. From what we saw, there would be no shortage. That evening, we grabbed a quick bite to eat at a local pizza place and headed back to our room to relax and get some much-needed sleep.
Day three of our vacation was probably the best one we had. We started off by going on the Hornblower. This ship goes right up to the falls and lets you get an up-close view. We were really worried about taking the baby on a boat where we knew he might get drenched, but the attraction offered all kinds of options to make us more comfortable.
We were able to choose whether we wanted to leave little man in his stroller, carry him, or carry him in our baby carrier. We decided to leave him in his stroller for safety reasons. They gave him his very own little baby rain poncho and showed us where to put him that would protect him from as much of the spray as possible. His poncho still got pretty wet, but he had a blast with all of the mist spraying his face. When we got off, the stroller was pretty wet. We left it to dry in the designated stroller parking area and put him in our baby carrier to check out the rest of the park.
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Journey Behind the Falls was next. We took our baby in his baby carrier and wandered through the tunnels behind the falls. There were several large observation decks throughout the walk, but we chose to keep the baby in the tunnels because the ground was very wet and very slippery. We took turns carrying the baby and checking out the observation decks. At first, little man was interested in all of the lights and portholes looking out at the back side of the falls, but after a few minutes he fell asleep in his carrier and didn't wake up until we were leaving.
We left him in his carrier while we rode the Whirlpool Aero Car. This was by far my favorite part of the trip! The cable car is a bright red antique that has been operating for over 100 years. It's beautiful. Not only that, but the views are unbeatable. We crossed over the river, saw a whirlpool, and got to check out the intense white water rapids in the Niagara River. Even though I didn't expect little man to be interested in the least, he actually seemed to have a good time checking out the sights. By the time we got through with the Aero car, it was time for lunch and a nap.
Read our Best Baby Carriers for Travel post!
That evening, we took things pretty easy and rode the Niagara SkyWheel. I loved this for our baby because we were able to ride a ferris wheel without worrying about him falling out. All of the cars are fully enclosed, so there is very little risk involved. Because we were traveling in October, we didn't get any fireworks, but we did see the falls lit up beautifully. The ride was about ten minutes long and we were able to see the falls from a ton of beautiful angles. Not only that, but the dinosaurs at the base were really fascinating for little man.
The last day of our trip, we spent a ton of time walking around Clifton Hill and checking out some of the little funhouse-style attractions. Some of them were pretty cheesy, but they were all fun and very family friendly. We did find that the house of mirrors was the biggest hit with our munchkin. He really enjoyed seeing himself all over the place and kept belly-laughing at all of the funny reflections. After a full day in Niagara Falls, we ended our trip with dinner in the Skylon Tower. We visited the observation deck first, and the views were spectacular.
Two full days in Niagara Falls with an infant left us exhausted, but the memories we made were well worth it.
Tips for taking an infant to Niagara Falls
If you're planning on traveling to Niagara Falls with an infant, I have a few tips for you:
- Pack a baby carrier. Strollers are great, but a baby carrier allows you to be much more
mobile and lets you have some extra control over your little one when strollers aren't permitted or aren't easy to navigate.
Take your time. There is a ton to see and do in Niagara Falls - and we just visited the Canadian side. Don't rush and know when your baby wants to rest. A cranky baby
makes for a difficult trip.
Pack extra clothes. There are a lot of places where your baby could get wet and, depending on the season, a lot of opportunities for baby to get cold. Dress your little one
in layers and always have extra long-sleeve onesies and hats.
Wear your walking shoes. Niagara Falls is very walkable and very family friendly, but the miles add up quickly when you're going up and down Clifton Hill or back and forth
along the falls and the Niagara River.
- Take pictures! This is a once in a lifetime trip and you will never get the chance to travel with your baby at that age again. Enjoy the moment and take lots of pictures, you'll want to keep the memory alive forever.
This guest post was written by Kayla Clough.
Kayla Clough is the email specialist here at OurStart. Kayla is a recent graduate of Eastern University in PA where she majored in Marketing and Human Resources. Kayla is a mother to her little bean Oliver and loving wife to her husband Eric. She loves all things fashion, her golden retriever Max, and coffee. When she is not working, you can find her binge watching Sex in the City and baking her latest find on Pinterest.
Have you taken your baby or toddler to Niagara Falls? Have extra tips to share? Comment below!
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