hikeNiagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, provides the most spectacular free family activity: the falls. From daytime views of the majestic waterfall to the nighttime illuminations, the falls are a sight to see. But when you’ve had enough of the water, there are other fun and free things to do in and around the falls area on a family vacation.


Pack a Picnic
Pack a picnic lunch or dinner, or purchase sandwiches and picnic along the Niagara River Parkway, at Table Rock or one of many picnic areas around the falls.

Watch the Birds
The entire Niagara River corridor, which spans 56 kilometers from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario, was in 1996 the first site in North America to receive international recognition as a “Globally Significant Important Bird Area” by major conservation groups in both Canada and the United States. Stroll the sidewalk and keep an eye to the sky to see one of many bird species.

Play at the Park
Queenston Heights Park, located on Niagara Parkway in Queenston, has two picnic pavilions, each of which can accommodating up to 350 people. Also on site are a children’s splash pad (summer months only), a playground, tennis courts, a baseball diamond, a bandshell where free concerts are given on Sunday afternoons during July and August, and restrooms.

Take a Hike
Hiking Niagara Parks Commission has 15 kilometers of hiking trails, including more than 50 kms of mixed use along the Niagara River Recreation Trail. Put on a good pair of walking shoes and a hat and enjoy the sounds of nature while you get some exercise. Keep in mind that, as members of Leave No Trace Canada, The Niagara Parks Commission encourages visitors to “leave only footprints” behind.

Treat Yourself
Pop into Pop & Lolly’s, located inside Table Rock, and watch a candy-making demonstration – the stick around to sample some treats.

There are many more free things to do at Niagara Parks. Visit their website for more information about Niagara Parks.

Teresa J. Shaw is editor of the Free in 50 States section and also writes about Southeast Michigan for Traveling Mom. Visit her blog and follow her on Twitter at @TeresaShaw