Article published at: Mar 4, 2021 Article author: Veronique Marin Article tag: Activités familiales
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When you think of Niagara Falls, you probably think of the 7th natural wonder of the world. I always had the impression that this place was just a very touristy town with no attractions apart from its falls. Was I wrong? Although Niagara Falls is definitely a tourist destination (and a very touristy one), I didn't realize how much there was to see and do there, beyond the falls themselves.

Here is a guide to 10 things to do in the Niagara region apart from the famous falls although they are worth the detour!

1. Visit historic Niagara-on-the-Lake

Located on the shores of Lake Ontario, a 30-minute drive from Niagara Falls, Niagara-on-the-Lake is designated for visitors who prefer to stay away from big hotels and casinos. Historic and picturesque, Niagara-on-the-Lake is full of boutiques, galleries, cafes and wine bars. The charming city on the shores of Lake Ontario is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in Canada. The heritage buildings of the historic hamlet are mostly originals from the 19th century.

Indulge in fine dining and wine at Niagara-on-the-Lake's finest restaurants and the fantastic wineries surrounding Niagara.

Niagara-on-the-Lake Ontario

2. Travel the wine route

The Niagara Peninsula is one of Ontario's most renowned wine regions. Here you can taste tempting wines from popular grape varieties such as Chardonnays, Rieslings and Pinot Noir, as well as the popular Icewine. The region is famous for its ice wine made from grapes left on the vine over winter and hand-picked when frozen at -8°C. These frozen grapes are quickly picked and pressed so that the resulting juice is very high in sugar, which is then made into luscious wine.

The Niagara-on-the-Lake area and the Niagara Escarpment are the wine regions with the most wineries in Ontario. Learn more about this region and these wineries by visiting the Wine Country Ontario website.

Niagara on the Lake: https://winecountryontario.ca/region/niagara-on-the-lake-area/

Niagara Escarpment: https://winecountryontario.ca/region/niagara-escarpment-area/

Some wineries you won't want to miss:

Cave Spring Cellars, Vineland Estates Winery, Henry of Pelham Family, Château des Charmes, Trius Winery, Inniskillin, Peller Estates Winery

Small, artisanal wineries offer visitors a glimpse into their approach to winemaking. They may be small, but they produce award-winning wines. A few to start your exploration: Twenty Valley's Foreign Affair (Amarone style wines), Rosewood Estates, Hidden Bench, Tawse and Fielding Estates.

3. Explore historic sites

Old Fort Erie

Old Fort Erie was built in 1764 by the British during the Pontiac Rebellion and became the site of the bloodiest battle of the War of 1812 between the British and Americans. The fort is strategically located at the mouth of the Niagara River and Lake Erie and was the only stone fort built by the British. Special events are planned throughout the summer, including pageants that guests can attend and participate in.


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Laura Secord Homestead

The residence of Laura Secord, the most recognized and famous heroine of the War of 1812, offers visitors a window in time to the War of 1812. The restored property and costumed tour guides allow you to immerse yourself in the life of Laura Secord and her historical journey.

Since the house was restored by the Laura Secord Candy Company, you can expect to satisfy your sweet tooth!


4. Enjoy the beautiful surrounding beaches.

Nickle Beach

Located at the southern end of Lake Erie, this white sand beach with a vibrant and lively atmosphere offers superb trails to explore as well as shaded picnic areas, restrooms and volleyball courts.

Nickel Beach is one of the few beaches that offers visitors the rare and unique option of parking their vehicles directly on the beach.

Crystal Beach (also known as Bay Beach)

Crystal Beach, named for its crystal clear water conditions, is a quaint, refined and laid back beach and small town in one of the southernmost regions of Ontario on the sandy shores of Lake Erie. It is an ideal place for families with children. A ton of special activities are offered throughout the season.


5. Watch an ocean liner pass through the locks of the Welland Canal

The Welland Canal is an engineering marvel built to connect Lake Erie with Lake Ontario and provide ships with a safe detour around Niagara Falls.

From the Lock 3 viewing platform, watch the world's ships regularly transit the canal from April to December. Estimated arrival times are displayed at reception. While there, be sure to visit the St-Catharines Museum and discover the history of the four Welland Canals and the city that grew up around them.

Lock 3 Observation Complex and Museum:

1932 Welland Canals Parkway,
St. Catharines, ON
L2R 7K6

6. Stroll along the Niagara Parkway by bike or car

The Niagara Parkway Recreational Trail, also called the Niagara River Garden Trail, is a 56 km long bicycle path that extends from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Fort Erie. It’s a beautiful paved bike path and mostly separated from traffic. This trail follows the impressive Niagara River where you can admire the famous Niagara Falls, walk through the botanical gardens and relax at the many picnic stops. Along the trail in Niagara-on-the-Lake, you can make a stop at one of the many award-winning wineries, breweries and distilleries, or stop at a local fruit market.

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7. Go pick-your-own local fruit

Country roads are dotted with farms putting up signs advertising their produce for sale and the variety of fruit produced in the Niagara region is vast. Cherry and peach picking is typically done in early summer, strawberries are available in mid-late June, plums and nectarines are picked in August and September, apples are picked in September, grapes and pumpkins are harvested in October.

Some farms that offer u-pick: Parkway Orchards in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Bry-Anne Farms in Fenwick, Ridge Berry Farm in Ridgeville, Cherry Avenue Farms in Vineland, Mathias Farms in Ridgeville, DeVries Fruit Ferme in Fenwick and many others.

8. Visit the Welland Farmers Market

This market has been open since 1907 and remains a great place to stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables from neighboring orchards. With plenty of artisan baked goods, meats and cheeses, the Welland Farmers' Market does not disappoint. Open every Saturday, rain, snow or shine.

70 Young St.
Welland, Ontario
L3B 4C5

9. Watch the rapids on the White Water Walk

The White Water Walk is located just 4 km north of Niagara Falls. This route begins aboard an elevator for a 70-meter descent to a tunnel and a 400-meter elevated promenade along the banks of the river allowing you to observe the class 6 rapids rushing through it at full speed as well as 410 million year old rock formations in the gorge! Everything is self-guided, so you can take your time.


10. Visit the butterfly conservatory and botanical garden

The butterfly conservatory, located on the botanical garden site, is home to more than 2000 exotic butterflies. There you will be able to identify the different species as you make your way along the 180 meter (600 foot) trail.

The beautifully maintained Niagara Botanical Gardens feature Canada's finest collections of ornamental trees and shrubs, as well as a renowned rose garden.

2565 Niagara Parkway
Niagara Falls, Ontario