The key to Niagara is the natural and historical wonders. That’s what makes the area unique. I’d follow the Niagara parkway from Chippawa through to Niagara-on-the-Lake. That would bring you by a significant amount of parkland as well as the major Niagara Parks attractions in addition to the falls itself.
As far as ticketed attractions it’s worth going on the Maid Of The Mist boat tour, the Journey Behind The Falls tunnels tour, the White Water Walk down the Niagara Gorge or the Whirlpool Aero Car cable car. I’d suggest putting in a half a day for hiking down to the rapids at the Niagara Glen. Bring the proper footwear for that as it’s trail hiking, but absolutely worth it (and free).
As you get out to the Queenston area the Bruce Trail hiking trail commences in the Queenston Heights park. It’s worth exploring the Bruce and the historical sites from 1812 at the park.
From Queenston you go down the Escarpment into Niagara-on-the-Lake where there are more than 40 wineries, the town itself (which has a nice mix of shopping areas and restaurants), the Shaw Festival theatres and further historic sites from 1812, particularly Fort George.
Sticking to the block or two of hotels immediately surrounding the waterfalls is, in my opinion, a wasted opportunity.
Originaly posted on Quora.com by: