Top Things to Do in the Niagara Region in Summer

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While Niagara Falls and the surrounding area is great to visit at any time of year, this region particularly shines during the summer months, when the weather is perfect for being out and about. Read on for a sample of fun things to do on your next trip to Niagara during June through August.

Take a Boat Tour to See the Falls

Whether you book a stay in one of the hotels near Niagara Falls, Canada or in the United Sates (this natural wonder is right on the border of the two nations), you really should check out the Falls from a boat tour.

On the Canadian side, Hornblower Niagara Cruises is the operator, while on the U.S. side, it’s the Maid of the Mist. Both companies have vessels which take passengers right up to the Falls  – so close, in fact, that you’ll likely get splashed and will really hear and feel the roar of the water. Tours last for around 20 minutes.

After you hop off the boat, try to stick around until the sun sets. That way, you’ll get a chance to watch the Falls Illumination and Fireworks show. This nightly event lights up the Niagara Falls waters in many different colors, and is a sight to behold.

Attend the Canal Days Marine Heritage Festival

Running in August this year, the Canal Days Marine Heritage Festival, in Port Colborne, is the premier summer event for the Niagara region. It has been running for more than four decades already, and each year hundreds of thousands of people visit the festival over its four day run.

During the festival, you can see tall ships gather in Port Colborne, plus enjoy live entertainment, (including a wonderful concert series), and car and kite shows. If you have kids with you, your little ones will be well catered to in the children’s area, with games and activities held throughout the festival.

You will also have lots of food and shopping vendors to choose from; an indoor craft show to visit; and the Port Colborne Marine Museum to explore, where you can see heritage artisans working their trade).

Go Wine Tasting at a Local Vineyard

While you’re in the Niagara region, make sure you enjoy some winetasting. There are over 25 vineyards which are open to the public in the area and, handily, they’re actually located within only a 15 to 20-minute car ride away from the Falls.

Many of the wineries are in the pretty Canadian suburb of Niagara-on-the-Lake, and they have tasting facilities, on-site restaurants, picnic areas, and more. During the summer months, there’s nothing quite like sitting down for a picnic as the sun shines and you sip on local produce and wine varieties.

Inniskillin Winery is one of the most famous vineyards in Niagara. It is known for its Icewines, specialized dessert wines which are perfect chilled, as an after-dinner (or any time) delight. The winery also offers guided tours, where visitors can learn about the company’s wine-making processes.

Ride on the Niagara SkyWheel

If you’re looking for a romantic activity to do with a loved one, or a way to get an alternative view of the Falls, take a ride on the Niagara SkyWheel. This popular Ferris wheel is located on the Canadian side of the Falls, in the suburb of Clifton Hill, which is fun to explore on its own merits.

The largest observation wheel in Canada, the SkyWheel stands 175 feet high, and provides views not just of the city of Niagara Falls, but also the surrounding region. The wheel’s individual gondolas are air-conditioned, which is perfect for hot summer days and nights; and each ride last for a minimum of four rotations –  around 15 minutes or so.

Explore Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens

Summer is also the perfect time to wander through picturesque gardens. In the Niagara region, head to the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens. Located approximately 10 minutes from the center of town, these gardens cover a massive 40 hectares. There were developed in 1936.

If you want to ramp up the romance while you’re there, take a horse and carriage tour. This is not only romantic and peaceful, but also allows visitors to explore the large site without wearing out their legs. You might also want to pack a picnic to enjoy while you’re in the gardens, and then spend time wandering the fragrant rose garden, where you’ll find more than 2,400 different roses.

Don’t miss a visit to the Butterfly Conservatory located within the gardens too. Here, there are 45 different species of butterflies, and at least 2,000 insects in total.