Vanlife: Exploring Niagara Falls

Are you living vanlife and are excited to Explore Niagara Falls? Then this post is for you! Niagara Falls is an amazing, beautiful wonder, located in both Western New York and in Ontario, Canada. (You can see Canada from across the river!) But, what is the best way to explore Niagara Falls when you live in a van? What about when you have a dog?

Niagara Falls is Free to Enter! (But not Free to Park)

Niagara Falls is like one of those free apps with a lot of “in-app purchases”. It is free to get into the state park, but it is not free to park your vehicle ($10 cars, $20 larger buses, RVS, etc.) or to go on attractions like Maid of the Mist or Cave of the Winds.

The city of Niagara Falls has more than just the falls– this area is touristy and therefore, there are many hotels, parking areas, and restaurants. We suggest parking in the state park though– the area is so beautiful, and parking for cars is only $10. (Parking for larger RVs/ Camper vans/ buses is $20, and there is special parking for these large vehicles). If, however, you are able to find free parking somewhere else (I find this unlikely) you can walk into the park for free.

Check Out Goat Island!

Goat Island is part of Niagara Falls State Park and gives you an amazing view of the river as well the falls. There are some beautiful open green spaces, and also bathrooms! (We know how nice flush toilets are for vanlifers!)

Niagara Falls is Pet-Friendly!

If you are traveling with a dog like we are, rest assured, you can bring your furry friend to walk on the trails and see the falls. Just make sure that they are on a leash. This is not only because this is a rule, and we can’t have dogs just running all over willy-nilly, but also because it is very easy for a dog to get through the fences and meet a horrible demise in the swift, strong currents.

Maid of the Mist

Are you an Office Fan? This is the boat the Jim and Pam got married on! Zak and I did not go the Maid of the Mist partially because we enjoy free things, partially because it was too cold to get wet, and partially because we had Auggie, but this is a must-do for those people who have the time, money, and lack-of-puppy. The Maid of the Mist has a Canadian Sister as well, who also brings poncho-clad travelers to the falls!

From Niagara Falls State Park

Standard Rates

  • Adult: $25.25
  • Child (ages 6-12): $14.75
  • Child (Ages 5 and Under): Free – with accompanying adult

Cave of the Winds

Amazingly, this cave is open year round! You ready to get pelted with water? If so, this is for you! Again, we did not do this ourselves because we did not want to wait in the very long line, but this is another way to get up close and personal with the falls if you are not a boat-friendly traveller. These participants are also poncho clad and walk through a cave to stand right under another set of falls!

Adult Admission (High season): $19 Child Admission (HS): $16

Adult Admission (Low season): $12 Youth (LS): $9

Picture from Niagara Falls State Park

Bonus: Aquarium of Niagara

Are you an aquatic animal lover like Zak? Well, maybe the Niagara Falls aquarium is for you! Parking is an additional $5 for cars and $20 for RVs and buses.

  • Adult: $19.95
  • Senior (Ages 60 and over): $17.95
  • Child (Ages 3-12): $14.95

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