From New York we moved onto Jersey City to pick up a hire car for our road trip to Niagara Falls. Not much can be said for the 8 hour drive to the falls other than it being slow and tedious with little in the way of inspriring scenery. Having driven through the vast deserts of West America in the past I may have been expecting too much, but all in all it was a long and uneventful drive. After the journey we made camp at a small town a mile or so from the falls ready to enjoy them the next day.
The falls themselves are truly spectacular. We visited them from the US side and took the famous Maid of the Mist boat to get up close. If you ever plan to do this trip then be warned that you will get very wet, even with the sexy ponchos that they provide haha.
It was amazing sailing around the base of the falls, the sheer force of the water thundering down around you should be expected but it still came as a suprise. It was hard to look around to really take in the sites as you got closer, as you were likely to be sprayed with a face full of water.
After the boat ride we took a walk around the park and had some lunch. The national park is beautiful with lots of picturesque spots to stop and have a picnic. You can easily forget that the falls are so close as you sit on the green with the birds pleasantly hopping around you, a few of which I enjoyed feeding some bread.
The view of the falls from the top was just as spectacular as those from the bottom, if not a little dryer. We were even lucky enough to see a rainbow or two!
The day afer seeing the falls we set off on the drive back to Jersey city to return the car. On the route back we passed through Allegheny National Park and made a stop at the Kinzua Skywalk. Although perhaps not a major tourist attraction, this place was amazing. The visitor centre tells the story of a vast bridge that was built to ferry both cargo and people from one end of a huge valley to the other. To give you an idea of its height, the bridge stands taller than the statue of liberty in the centre.
What makes this an interesting tourist attraction is that a few years ago a huge tornado tore through the area and brought half of the bridge down. The mangled pillars that held it up still remain below and you can walk right up close to these and fully take in the massive level of destruction.
What was left of the bridge has been turned into a skywalk which allows you to walk out over the valley and look down through a glass bottomed floor, not for those afraid of heights!
Overall we enjoyed a good couple of days away from the city, taking in some of the more natural sites.