There are a few things that really matter when you are planning a Niagara Falls, NY vacation-easy access to the Falls, picking the right time of year, and, particularly if you are a family, how to manage your budget. Niagara Falls does not have to be an expensive vacation, as some people fear. One place that you can really save is in hotel accommodations by choosing a budget hotel that has the right amenities and proximity to the Falls.
If the words “budget hotel” are enough to strike fear in your traveling heart, let me reassure you. Our stay at the Holiday Inn on Buffalo Avenue was nothing short of pleasant, and it was upgraded to practically perfect due to the proximity to the falls and the amenities that were kid-approved. The price was certainly right at $55 per night (during off season), and the rooms were comfortable and clean. Parking is $10 per day and Wi-Fi is included with a location that is a five-minute walk to the falls and many restaurants making this a cost saving, and convenient choice.
~This is the hotel you are looking for~
This is Not the Hotel you are Looking For
The first thing you need to know when booking or driving to a Holiday Inn in Niagara Falls is that there are several options in the Holiday Inn family in a close proximity. If you aren’t careful and you are blindly following your GPS (not that I know anything about this), you may end up at the wrong Holiday Inn, maybe even in another country. Here’s the low down: Holiday Inn Express and Suites is closer to the airport and more expensive, but it is NOT within walking distance of the Falls. Holiday Inn Niagara Falls-By The Falls is next to the Falls, but it is NOT in the US, but rather across the border in Canada. Either one is a fine option, but if you are looking to be within walking distance of the American side of the falls, you will want to book the Holiday Inn Niagara Falls on Buffalo Avenue.
~Newly Renovated Lobby~
Room with a View
There is something that has to give when you book a budget hotel, and in this case, the lower cost is reflected in the hotel rooms. The rooms are certainly spacious and have the necessities for family travelers like a mini-fridge, but they are also showing their age and looking a bit worn. A little bit of shabbiness does not mean that this hotel is not clean. Everything during our visit was clean beyond my expectations. It should be noted that the lobby has been recently updated and reflects a very modern style and attention to detail at this hotel. Other than the age of the actual rooms, the bedding and fixtures in the rooms have also been updated, making it much easier to overlook the overall wear and tear. The best part of the rooms, though, has to go to the view from the upper rooms. During the day, you can see the mist from the falls rising above the horizon. At night, the sunsets over the falls are nothing short of breathtaking.
~Sunset over the falls as seen from our window~
Location, Location, Location
Holiday Inn Niagara Falls is one of the closest hotels to the falls viewing sites, so you can easily park your car there and leave it for the remainder of your visit. Within walking distance, you will find restaurants, including the adjacent Tony Roma’s attached to the hotel, casinos and Niagara Falls viewing spots and attractions. Niagara Falls Visitors Center, an oft overlooked location, is also located directly across the street from the hotel. If it is your first visit to the area, I highly recommend that you stop in to get area maps and suggestions for itineraries from a local guide. The center also has public restrooms, free Wi-Fi and complimentary luggage storage if you are in need of any of those services.
~Warm and sparkling pool~
What About the Kids?
Luckily, my kids aren’t snobs about hotels, they demand a really great pool and some activities to keep them busy in the evening. This hotel has both, which is not always a guarantee for a budget hotel. For pool fun, the hotel has a large, heated indoor pool, so the kids can have fun year round. Adjacent to the pool is the Great American Arcade, where the kids can entertain themselves with games and tickets. That’s exactly where we found ourselves at the end of our first day in Niagara Falls, having walked all over the state park surrounding the water, and enjoyed the mystery and majesty of over 3000 tons of water flowing over the falls every second. We had been over, under, and behind the falls, which you would think would be enough to tire the kids out, but they were still up for a swim and ready to hit the arcade. Fortunately, our budget allowed for a few unexpected expenses, like fistfuls of quarters to buy a few minutes of peace and quiet for mom. And I was happy to pay that price.
Here is your complete guide for how to explore Niagara Falls with Kids
~Holiday Inn Niagara Falls hosted my stay during my visit to Niagara Falls. They did not require that I express a particular viewpoint and all opinions are my own.~