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How to spend 72 hours in Niagara this summer  

Summer means it’s time for a road trip in Ontario! Pack your bags and don’t forget the sunscreen. Niagara Falls and the region of Niagara-On-The-Lake are popular destinations for good reason; there are tons of fun things to do in Niagara for the entire family.  

Discover exotic animals from across the globe, feel the power of massive waterfalls from a cruise deck, admire hidden oddities that you need to see to believe, climb to new heights for an unforgettable dining experience and sip your way through Ontario’s wine country this summer. Plus, if you’re a CAA Member, you’ll be able to enjoy discounts along the way.  

Set your sights on a fun-filled long weekend but leave the planning up to us! Here is how to spend 72 hours in Niagara.  

Day 1

Breakfast at The Flour Mill Scratch Kitchen Restaurant

Nestled in the historic Old Stone Inn hotel, grab an elegant breakfast or ‘blunch’, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily at The Flour Mill Scratch Kitchen Restaurant. Share a plate of English croissants and scones before indulging in a main dish like French toast brûlée, an egg skillet or eggs benedict off the breakfast menu. Blunch options include Croque Madame, Chilaquelis and a Steak Sandwich, among others. On weekends you can also reserve an afternoon tea experience.  

Travelling with kids and looking for something tasty and filling yet casual? Grab breakfast at Cippy’s Place, a rustic diner spot that serves breakfast favourites at affordable prices. It opens at 7 a.m. Thursday through Sunday, so get there early to avoid waiting for a table. There are also nearby IHOP restaurants, a Denny’s and Tim Hortons if you have picky eaters with you.  

Bird Kingdom

Wander through a multi-level rainforest, admiring birds from around the globe in the world’s largest indoor free-flying aviary, Bird Kingdom. Follow a rushing waterfall from the aviary’s top level down to the jungle floor where you can spot about 200 birds along the way.  

Within the jungle is a rare Javanese House from the 1800s which is a hand carved masterpiece and the only of its kind in North America. Explore the night jungle where you’ll encounter creatures of the night, including bats and owls. Head to Lorikeet Feeding where you can feed and interact with colourful lorikeet birds from Australia. Meet other exotic creatures at Base Camp, such as bearded dragons and snakes.  

Bird Kingdom is open year-round and is only a few minutes walk to Niagara Falls and many other attractions. CAA Members save 20% on the admission price. 

Niagara City Cruises

Get up close and personal with the magnificent Niagara Falls to feel water spray on your face on a boat tour. Niagara City Cruises sets off on 20-minute voyages where you can admire new angles of the Niagara Gorge, American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and Canadian Horseshoe Falls. Enjoy going into the mist as the sun shines above you or after sunset as the falls are illuminated.  

Each passenger receives a souvenir poncho to help keep you dry as you approach the rushing waterfalls. Onboard commentary plays during the cruise to provide information about the falls and region. Tickets are to be booked online for a specified time slot.  

Lunch at The Secret Garden Restaurant

If a classic diner-style lunch at an affordable price is what you’re searching for, look no further than The Secret Garden Restaurant. It is a short walk from the boat cruise port and other popular attractions around Clifton Hill.   

Eat your choice of appetizer, like pickle fries or onion rings, with menu options including salads, fresh sandwiches, burgers, pasta, hotdogs and more. The children’s menu features chicken fingers, grilled cheese and chicken tacos. There is a spacious outdoor patio with views of the nearby falls and an attached souvenir shop if you want to browse gifts.   

Ripley’s Believe It or Not

Ripley's Believe or not
Marc Dufresne | iStock

You must see it to believe it. Offering interactive, rotating exhibits filled with unusual artifacts and rare curiosities, Ripley’s Believe It or Not embraces the spirit of discovery. What began as a newspaper comic in 1918 is now an evolving attraction where you can uncover unique stories as you check out a collection of unique pieces. All you need to bring is your sense of wonder.  

Feel transported as you walk through the Vortex Tunnel, surrounded by illusions and a colourful light show. From prehistoric to modern times, stare in awe at wonders of the animal world, such as eggs laid by the largest birds and the giant jaws of a megalodon shark. Enter open-mindedly and expect the unexpected during your visit.  

Ripley’s Niagara location is open late, until 10 p.m. or 12 a.m., depending on the season, so you have all evening to visit if other activities fill up your day. Use your CAA Membership to save 10% on single admission tickets to Ripley’s Believe It Or Not. 

Louis Tussaud's Waxworks

JHVEPhoto | iStock

Stroll among a collection of celebrities and characters, snapping selfies with life-like wax figures. Strike your best superhero pose next to DC and Marvel characters, hit the stage next to artists including Beyoncé and John Legend, and immerse yourself in the James Bond or Wizard of Oz sets. If you want a personalized souvenir, create a wax hand keepsake in your favourite colour.   

Louis Tussaud’s Waxworks is just around the corner, a two-minute walk from Ripley’s Believe It or Not and is also open late. CAA Members can enjoy 10% savings off single admission tickets for Louis Tussaud’s Waxworks.   

Dinner at Skylon Tower

Experience a panoramic view of Niagara Falls as you eat dinner in the Skylon Tower’s revolving dining room. The menu features many options for seafood lovers, such as smoked salmon, lobster tails and seared sea scallops. You can also enjoy a steak, chicken breast or vegetable medley as you admire the scenery from 775 feet above ground. Access to the observation deck is included when dining.   

You can also dine at Table Rock House Restaurant if you’re craving another gorgeous view of the falls. It’s as close as you can get to eating near the mighty Horseshoe Falls, offering upscale Canadian cuisine. Or you can visit Zappi’s Italian Eatery for a more casual atmosphere and affordable pizzas, subs and pasta.   

Day 2

Breakfast near Niagara-On-The-Lake

Before your vineyard tour day at a restaurant or café around Niagara-On-The-Lake (NOTL), grab a quick bite. Breakfast is served all day at Silks Country Kitchen, which opens at 8 a.m. Start your day with a hearty meal with classic options like omelettes, egg and protein plates, eggs benedict, pancakes and French toast.   

For the days you prefer a quick coffee shop visit where you can take a pastry to-go, stop by Balzac’s Coffee Roasters in NOTL. This quaint café in a charming little town is close to the waterfront, so enjoy a morning stroll with your coffee.   

If you have more time to spare and a designated driver leading your vineyard hopping adventure, indulge in brunch at Revalee Brunch Café. You can discover elevated classic dishes and unique vegan breakfast options in a bright, modern space. 

Niagara Airbus Winery Tour

Erase the need to choose a designated driver by booking a guided bus tour of some local vineyards. Take your senses on an adventure through Niagara on the Lake, tasting and touring the day away with Niagara Airbus Tours. A knowledgeable guide will lead your group to three wineries throughout the day – Niagara College Teaching Winery and Brewery, Pillitteri Estates and Lakeview Winery – and you’ll receive tastings at each spot. Swap your wine sample out for beer at the Niagara College Teaching location if that’s your preference.  

The tour bus will pick you up at most hotel locations in the Niagara region around 10:30 a.m., which is coordinated upon booking. You will return to your hotel at roughly 4 p.m. Fuel up with light bites offered at the different wineries or enjoy a full meal during the midday free time. The tour stops in NOTL for a lunch break, so map out your time for eating and secure a table at a local restaurant such as The Epicurean, Bistro Six-One or The Irish Harp Pub.   

New for 2024, CAA Members save 10% on Niagara Airbus Tours. 

Alternate winery day: self-guided

For those visiting with a designated driver who want complete flexibility during a day of winery hopping, you can create your own self-guided tour at any of the locations below.  

Check winery details online before visiting, as opening hours may differ and select wineries are closed on Mondays and/or Tuesdays. Ask the winery staff for a spittoon to accompany your tasting to avoid feeling intoxicated.  

Rosewood Estates Winery

Soak in the sun on a beautiful day, sipping your choice of wine on an outdoor patio overlooking the vineyard. This winery focuses on crafting low-intervention wines, and local honey from its on-site beehive. No reservations are required to pop in for a flight of four wines or a glass at Rosewood Estates Winery. The seasonal kitchen offers small bites to snack on while you sip. 

Plan ahead to reserve a wine tour that touches on the winery’s history and vineyard practices, featuring a tour of the winemaking facility. Rosewood also has a bee experience where you can visit the apiary, get fully dressed in a bee suit and see inside the working hives.  

Don’t forget to bring your CAA Membership card, as members receive an offer to buy one wine tasting, get one 50% off at Rosewood Winery 

Creekside Estates Winery

Creekside Estates Winery is your ideal stop if you want to bring your pup, enjoy a casual outdoor dining atmosphere, or love some good barbeque. Reserve a guided wine tasting to learn the vineyard’s history and try three premium samples. Add a charcuterie board to snack on or stay for a meal on the deck, the seasonal patio. You can also explore the hidden cellar by booking a tour with additional tastings.   

Save at the vineyard with CAA. Members who buy a seated wine tasting at the regular price can get the second tasting for free at Creekside Estates Winery.  

Lunch at 13th Street Winery

For the perfect spot for lunch head to 13th Street Winery’s seasonal bistro. Taste menu items like dumplings, salads, tacos or arancini on a bright, spacious patio as you overlook the sculpture gardens and vineyard. Indulge in a cookie or butter tart from the bakery on your way out. You can pre-book a wine tasting and select four wines of your choice or reserve a tour of the sculpture gardens and winemaking facility, including a tasting. Stick around for live music on select dates.  

If you have a CAA Membership and purchase a guided wine tasting, enjoy a second tasting for 50% off. Reservations are required at 13th Street Winery. 

Lakeview Wine Co.

At Lakeview Wine Co., you can book a tour to learn about the winemaking process as you stroll through the vineyard and cellar room and then go for a tasting. Or, if you aren’t interested in a tour, you can relax on the back lawn with a snack and drink.   

Use your CAA Membership to purchase a signature tasting flight and get the second wine tasting for free at Lakeview Wine Co.   

Dinner in Niagara-On-The-Lake

Finish your day by going out for dinner in the waterfront town of Niagara-On-The-Lake. For locally inspired cuisine, dine at NOTL Restaurant, attached to 124 on Queen Hotel and Spa. You will discover menu items, including tuna tartare, bruschetta, gnocchi pasta and beef tenderloin.  

Stick with your winery theme of the day and make a dinner reservation at Peller Estates Winery Restaurant. In the elegant dining room overlooking the vineyard, enjoy farm-to-table meals such as oysters, a cheese plate, lobster linguini, bay scallops, or vegan risotto.   

For a unique evening experience and some lighter, sweeter fare, book a table in the drawing room at the Prince of Wales Hotel. On Fridays and Saturdays between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m., you can treat yourself to a candlelit highland tea experience. In addition to scones and finger sandwiches, you’ll eat dishes like savoury steak pie. 

Day 3

Start the day with brunch

Sleep a little this morning and treat yourself to brunch before today’s activities. If you’re staying close to Niagara Falls, check out the breakfast menu at Lucky’s Restaurant and Bar. Feast on huevos rancheros, eggs shakshuka, eggs benedict, French toast or pancakes.  

Or, for something closer to Safari Niagara, eat your brunch at Mae’s Place. In a retro, relaxed atmosphere, you’ll find an affordable breakfast menu featuring items like an egg breakfast with toast, cheese omelette, pancakes and French toast.   

Safari Niagara

Explore animals of the world by visiting a 150-acre zoo and nature park where you’ll find over 1000 exotic and domestic animals at Safari Niagara. Some of the many species you can look forward to spotting are the African leopard, amur tiger, hippopotamus, rhino, red kangaroo, desert iguana and ostrich. Travel through the park from the jungle aviary, Serengeti Savanna and Big Cat Trek.   

The summer season means additional activities and events at the zoo park, including educational keeper talks, animal feedings, a splash pad, a gator express tram, paddle boats, a carousel, and more. Most keeper talks run at specific times throughout the day, so if you’re especially interested in gibbons, wolves, otters or giraffes, plan your touring around these interactive shows. There are restaurants where you can find a bite to eat or pack your picnic lunch. 

Book your ticket to Safari Niagara using your CAA Membership and save up to 25%.  

Welland Jackfish game

Take the family out to a ball game, soaking in the fan-fueled atmosphere at a Welland Jackfish game. Snack on stadium favourites like nachos, popcorn, or peanuts as you cheer on the home team, rocking your best navy and green attire in support. The team is part of the Intercounty Baseball League, a 100-year-old summer league that draws in many new fans to create a friendly ballpark experience.  

Most home games take place on Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays throughout the summer, so plan your visit ahead of time. Based on when you’re visiting the Niagara region, you can coordinate which itinerary day includes the baseball game.  

CAA Members save $2 per ticket, which you can pick up at the CAA Branch down the street from the stadiums.  

Dinner near the stadium

Under a ten-minute drive from the stadium, you can reach Next Kitchen and Bar. With a subtle art deco interior and spacious seasonal patio, you’ll find a menu full of comfort food items in a modern yet casual space. Start dinner with pork gyoza, Korean fried cauliflower or macho nacho before digging into a hand-stretched pizza, bowl options, classic sandwich or other entrées. The restaurant also serves a Sunday brunch if you’re in the area then.  

If you’re staying in Niagara Falls or Niagara-On-The-Lake, you can find many other restaurant options near your accommodation.   

Save on your trip to Niagara

Take advantage of discounts on select transportation, hotels and restaurants, with a CAA Membership, so you can save before you even start your holiday adventures.  

Check out how to save on a car rental or VIA Rail train tickets to save on your way to the city. As a CAA Member you’ll also enjoy discounts on over 30 hotel brands, along with over 126,000 Rewards partners online, in addition to the ones mentioned above.   

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