This was a very cheap trip for us! Food is in general cheap especially on the US side. We bought a pass on the US side to go on the maid of the mist boat, tour of the park etc. and it was well worth it. Things are more expensive on the Canadian side, but you will want to go over there, it is nice to see the difference.
I have never actaully stayed in a hotel because but I know you can find cute little motels costing 45 bucks the least. But it can be cheap on both sides of the boarder depending if you want to go US side or Canada side. I recommend the canadien side a little more because the attractions or soooo much better!
The food is cheap depending where you want to eat. You can eat in a fancy resturant or mcdonalds. But the seneca niagara casino (U.S. side) has the BEST buffet for about 17 dollars (might be more) that has everyhting you will EVER think of food wise.
To see the falls is free of course but you need to pay for every attraction. Like I said you should really go to the canadien side. There is the cave of winds and the maid of the mist but i forgot how much they run, sorry. But there is Clifton Hills on the canadien side and it is awesome. They have fun houses, haunted houses, casinos, wax museums, resturants, bars, minature golf, huge arcade. Everything!
The US side has a mall, casino, and some attractions. Sorry I can’t give you much info on the american side.
We were there last year, I would totally recommend staying on the Canadian side, prices ranges from US. $80 on up, about 130 average. Go exploring in the wine region – Niagara on the Lake – it is beautiful up there and there are many neat places to stop for drinks and food. The food up in that area can range very pricey, however there are many cheap options closer to the falls themselves. I also would recommend the Maid of the Mist, I kinda thought it was hokey at first, but was very glad we did it. You get a whole new appreciation for the immense size of the falls and nature’s wonder. On our trip we had a hysterical older gentleman who, screamed and hollered the entire time because he thought it was amazing – it was so funny watching him enjoy himself.
The hotels on the Canadian side are a lot nicer. If you get a hotel with a River/Falls view, it’ll be pretty expensive, but if you have just a “normal” or city view room, the prices aren’t bad.
For the attractions, your best bet would be to get a Park Pass. For the Canadian side, you can go to http://www.niagaraparks.com/nfgg/discountpass.php to pick one up. It’s $39.95 CDN (@ $35 US) and includes admission to the Journey Behind The Falls, Maid of the Mist, White Water Walk, Butterfly Conservatory, and it gives you free rides all day on the People Mover buses. That’s a very good deal, since parking near the Falls is pretty expensive. Park once, take the People Mover to the Falls attractions.
There is a similar pass for $28US on the American side of the falls (http://www.niagarafallsstatepark.com/ ). However, I’d recommend doing the pass on the Canadian side, and if you’re interested in attractions on the US side pay per attraction. Why? The Maid of the Mist is included on both passes. The Aquarium is fairly run down looking, and most of the things you really want to see (ie, getting up close to the top of the Falls) are free, except for parking fees. Cave of the Winds is similar to Journey Behind The Falls, except you get to hike up the side of the Falls, right beside one of the smaller Falls.
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