Niagara Falls is one of the most iconic travel destinations in North America. One of those places that you need to see in person to truly appreciate.
What should you bring on this once in a lifetime trip? It’s not quite a city break or a nature escape. It’s understandable that you are not sure what to pack for Niagara Falls.
Let me share some suggestions based on my experience. That way you can be prepared and make the most of your time in Niagara Falls.
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What to Wear in Niagara Falls
For the most part, Niagara Falls is a very casual and laid back destination. You don’t need to worry about packing anything fancy unless you are celebrating a special occasion. It’s always a good idea to dress in layers so you can adjust to changing temperatures.
During the day, you will be going to attractions like a Niagara Falls boat tour or the Cave of the Winds where you will be facing windy conditions and you are bound to get wet. I suggest wearing pants instead of a dress so that you don’t have to worry about it blowing up. Also, I would recommend bringing an extra change of clothes to use when you do get wet.
Make sure the clothes you pack for Niagara Falls are appropriate for the season you are visiting. If you are visiting Niagara Falls during the winter, be prepared for extreme cold and snow. (Get recommendations for winter essentials). In the summer, I would still suggest a light jacket as it can be chilly in the evenings or when you are out on the water.
While you are not going to go swimming in the Niagara River, it could still be a good idea to bring your bathing suit. There are some hotels with a pool overlooking the falls. (Read about the best places to stay in Niagara Falls.)
What Shoes to Bring for Niagara Falls
It’s best to bring a few different types of shoes for your Niagara Falls trip. You will probably be doing lots of walking so comfortable shoes are ideal. Since you will also be getting wet, water shoes (like these) or waterproof shoe covers (like these) will come in handy. I wouldn’t recommend wearing sandals as they can be difficult to walk in if they get wet. No need to bring heels unless you want to!
Photography Equipment for your Niagara Falls Trip
Niagara Falls is breathtaking. Although I feel photos don’t quite do it justice, I know you are going to want to take a lot of pictures during your visit. Don’t forget your camera and take precautions to make sure it is safe from the water.
If you use your phone for your main camera, it’s worth buying a waterproof bag (like this) to keep it dry. That way you can still use it on the attractions where you might get wet.
If you use another type of camera, you are going to need either a waterproof casing or some sort of rain cover (like this). What is available will differ depending on what type of camera you have.
For our video, we used a GoPro since it is waterproof. Since our visit to Niagara Falls, we have upgraded to the GoPro Hero Black 7. The GoPro Hero Black 8 was introduced in October 2019.
A waterproof bag (or rain cover for your bag like this) might be a good idea too if you are going to bring a camera out with you. I wouldn’t rely on keeping your bag under the ponchos as our clothes got wet even when we were wearing them.
If you plan on trying to photograph the Falls at night, bring along a tripod. In the low light conditions, you will need to lower the shutter speed and without a tripod, the image will be blurry. (This is the tripod we use.)
Hiking Gear for Niagara Falls
We didn’t have time to do any hiking when we were in Niagara Falls, but there are some options nearby on the New York side. Depending on how long you plan to stay in the area, you may want to check out some of these hikes.
Birdwatching Gear for Niagara Falls
Before I visited, I had no idea Niagara Falls was a good place for birdwatching. I quickly realized there are a ton of birds in the area. If you plan on doing some birdwatching, be sure to bring your binoculars!
You don’t need to go deep into nature to seem them either. There are plenty just along the Niagara River. Alternatively, other popular spots to watch the birds are Beamer Memorial Conservation Area, Mud Lake Conservation Area, and Wainfleet Wetlands Conservation Area
Other Things to Add to Your Niagara Falls Packing List
There are a few other things that I want to make sure you bring along when you travel to Niagara Falls:
- Sunglasses: You will be outside a lot of the time you are visiting Niagara Falls, and hopefully it will be sunny. Bring your sunglasses.
- Sunscreen: There is not much shade along the river where you can view the Falls and no cover on the boat tours if you choose to be on the upper deck. The sun may not feel powerful but it is easy to get sunburned if you are not protecting yourself. Make sure the sunscreen you bring is waterproof like this one.
- Water bottle: It is always important to stay hydrated. Bringing along a reusable water bottle like this is the most cost-efficient way, plus it is environmentally friendly.
- Hairbrush: Your hair will get messed up from the wind and mist. It’s best to be prepared and bring along a brush like this that can fit in your purse.
- Cash: Bring some cash (ideally small bills) as you will need to pay the $1.00 per person fee to cross the Rainbow Bridge from Canada to the US.
- Passport: Don’t forget you must-see Niagara Falls from the Canadian and American sides. That means crossing an international border and showing your passport.
What Not to Bring to Niagara Falls
Ok now that you know what you need to bring, let me share a few things that you can leave at home when heading to Niagara Falls:
- Poncho – All the attractions where you could get wet will provide you with a poncho for free, so there is no need to bring one. We ended up with a collection after our trip and didn’t keep them all.
- Hat – Don’t bring a hat unless you are confident it will stay on your head in extreme wind conditions or will be ok if it blows away. The winds, especially on a boat ride, are intense.
- Drone.- I know that many drone pilots dream of flying over Niagara Falls but it’s not a good idea. The drone regulations in Canada require certification and drone registration. The rules are strict with significant penalties (read more here). On the other side, you cannot fly from any NY State Parks. Also, keep in mind that there are a lot of helicopters in the area.
Should You Check a Bag When Traveling to Niagara Falls?
In general, it is always easiest if you can fit everything you need inside of carryon luggage. It avoids unnecessary baggage fees and the wait at the baggage claim.
There is one reason to consider checking a bag when visiting Niagara Falls though. If you are planning to do a wine tour in Niagara on the Lake, you may want to bring back some wine with you.
Wine is not allowed in carryon bags, so if you plan on buying wine, you will either need to check a bag or pay for shipping, which can be expensive. If you want to bring wine home, I also suggest using one of these wine packing bags, so that you won’t end up with a mess in your suitcase.
What to Pack for Niagara Falls
Making sure you bring along the right things could make or break your trip to Niagara Falls. The biggest takeaway is that you will get wet and don’t count on the ponchos to keep dry.
What else are you planning to take to Niagara Falls?
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Expert Tips for Packing for Niagara Falls
- Know that you will get wet and be prepared.
- Dress appropriately for the season. It’s always a good idea to bring layers.
- Grab a copy of my Niagara Falls checklist here to help you get organized.
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