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Heading into the Niagara Falls mist

New York

New York’s Maid of the Mist Boat Tour: Journey into Niagara Falls

By: Amy Nance

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  • States:
    New York

Get up close and personal with one of the USA’s most dramatic waterfalls.

Find one of the USA’s most impressive natural wonders in the community of Niagara, New York, a family-friendly place with distinct neighborhoods, great shopping, lots of outdoor recreation and even a wine trail. Hike, take a helicopter tour or shop over 200 outlet stores when you’re not busy exploring the area’s centerpiece attraction, the legendary Niagara Falls. Powered by over 2,000,000 liters of water per second, the three waterfalls here – Horseshoe, Bridal Veil and American – were created from melted glaciers around 11,000 BC and are still going strong today. The best way to see this natural marvel is on a Maid of the Mist boat tour, which will take you right up to the cusp of iconic Horseshoe Falls.

One Rich History

Maid of the Mist sent its first ferries out onto the Niagara River in 1846, and now, several boats later, offers Maid of the Mist VI and VII. Each vessel can accommodate 600 passengers and includes a spacious upper deck from which to view – and be misted – by the falls. It’s the only tour boat fleet whose captains have been successfully navigating the Niagara Gorge waters for over 100 years. U.S. presidents and foreign dignitaries have visited the falls via Maid of the Mist, as has Marilyn Monroe and the British royal family.

A bird's-eye view of the iconic Maid of the Mist boat

A bird's-eye view of the iconic Maid of the Mist boat
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A Visceral Thrill

Sure, you’ll be wearing a provided blue rain poncho to give you some protection from the elements, but the point of embarking on a Maid of the Mist tour is to feel the water on your face. Experience the force of the raging current while the falls thunder down before you, practically close enough to touch. The mist generated from this natural wonder floats up and refreshes your face, while the falls’ brisk wind will have you bracing for more. This is the closest you can possibly get to Niagara Falls, so be sure to enjoy every second.

Passengers wearing the signature blue ponchos on a Maid of the Mist boat tour

Passengers wearing the signature blue ponchos on a Maid of the Mist boat tour
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Unparalleled Views

The water here comes from four of the five Great Lakes, which passes through the falls and then eventually empties into the Atlantic Ocean. Tours start near the Rainbow Bridge in the Niagara River, leaving every 15 minutes, skirting past the American and Bridal Veil Falls and then running right up to the Horseshoe Falls, so there’s plenty to see along the way. Along with the unstoppable gush of water and the white clouds it creates, you’ll see dramatic cliffs and rocks, forest and lots of brave seagulls. On sunny days, you may even spot a rainbow in the mist.

Maid of the Mist approaching the base of the falls

Maid of the Mist approaching the base of the falls
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Getting There

To reach Niagara Falls and Maid of the Mist, fly into Buffalo Niagara International Airport in New York, located 30 minutes from downtown Niagara Falls. The Maid of the Mist vessels dock at Prospect Point, right in Niagara Falls State Park

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