Each destination has its unique peculiarities, which means when deciding what you will pack for a visit, there are particular things that will make your time there easier, or more fun, or more rewarding.
For a vacation in Niagara Falls, you need to pack all of the usual suspects – er , objects – that you would for a typical trip, but there are some things that will really make a difference. Add the foillowing things to your packing list, throw them into your suitcase and you’ll thank me for it!
(Photo courtesy of Malias)
1.A large clear plastic bag. Why? If you own a good camera, you will want to protect it from the mist that is an almost permanent fixture at The Falls. (Check out my earlier blog posting about photographing the Falls for some useful tips for budding photographers.) I like to have my camera ready, and I often carry it around my neck, but cover it with the plastic bag to keep it dry. Sometimes you can use the plastic to shield the camera while you take a shot. Also bring along some soft dry cloths to wipe any wayward water drops off the lens. It is particularly important to protect your camera if you take a ride on the Maid of the Mist. It is such a dramatic occaision for pictures, but the spray is intense.
(Photo courtesy of sailorbill)
2. A folding umbrella – not for the rain, but for the spray if you are going to spend some time at the edge of The Falls and do not want to get soaked. (Actually, on a 30 degree day, it feels pretty good!)
3. A copy of the Frommers Niagara Region Guide that will tell you the best places to visit, eat and stay, and reveal insider tips you would never otherwise discover. (In the interest of full disclosure, I wrote the guide, but trust me when I tell you that it is a thorough and detailed guide, with lots of useful info.)
4. Your ipod or iphone – the Niagara Falls & Great Gorge Adventure Pass lets you download a lively commentary for all of the places on the tour, with the history and lore you need to really appreciate what you are seeing.
5. Some blank postcards and a good pen – for collecting autographs. Niagara Falls attracts famous people like flies to honey. There is seldom a week goes by without a notable character showing up Falls side.
(Photo courtesy of Floyd Nello)
6. a good pair of binoculars – that way you can visit the Canadian side of The Falls, but use your binos to get a close view of the American Falls, as well as the birds, Navy Island and the details of the rocks and islands at the top of The Falls.
7. Motion sickness pills – if you stay in The Tower Hotel – which stands atop the 500 foot tall Konica Tower – you might need them. One whole wall of each room is all windows, and the tower will sway slightly if the wind is a bit agressive. Very exciting, but maybe a bit queasy for a delicate tummy.
(Photo courtesy of Tower Hotel)
8. Your lucky rabbit foot, four leaf clover, or lucky charm – you will want to visit the glamourous Fallsview Casino, and with luck you may leave richer than you arrived. (You will have a good time even if you loose a bit of coin.)
(Photo courtesy of audiophilia)
9. Your favourite mantra – the Cham Shan Budhist Temple (aka The Ten Thousand Budha Temple of Peace) is a special building that you will not want to miss. A little contemplation and some time to appreciate the truly special architecture here will put you in a Zen state of mind.
(Photo courtesy of Cham Shan Temple)
10. An easily washed, stain resistant t-shirt . Niagara Falls is a surprising hotbed of Italian cusine, due mostly to extensive Italian immigration after WWI and WWII. Places like Antica Pizza, or Mamma Mia’s offer up slurpy family-style plates of pasta, meatballs and pizza – messy but delicious and affordable and not to be missed. Just like Mamma used to make, – if Mamma was named Gina or Serafina.