The Maid of the Mist boat tour, a Niagara Falls attraction for more than 150 years, takes riders past the American Falls into the basin of the Horseshoe Falls. Guests on the Maid of the Mist tour get close to the falls ensuring the mist will drench them. They hear and feel the sheer power of the falling water — something not to miss! In all, from ticketing to completion, this attraction takes a little less than one hour.
We received complimentary tickets on this classic Niagara Falls boat ride for purposes of this review, but all opinions are ours.
This post covers all the information you need to plan your own Maid of the Mist boat tour at Niagara Falls including:
- Maid of the Mist tickets (and how to purchase Maid of the Mist tickets online to save time and money),
- Maid of the Mist hours
- What to wear to Niagara Falls for a Maid of the Mist tour
- and more tips we discovered on our trip
Our Maid of the Mist Experience
The Maid of the Mist boat tours to the base of Niagara Falls are a “must do” for almost everyone who visits Niagara Falls USA. My daughter, Ellie, was more excited about this than any other activity on our Niagara Falls vacation.
The night before our ride, as I tucked Ellie into her bed at The Giacomo Hotel, she grinned. “Tomorrow we ride in Niagara Falls, Mommy.”
Ohhhh, I hoped it would live up to her expectations.
After breakfast the next morning, we walked from the hotel to the Maid of the Mist — and easy .5 mile stroll through Niagara Falls State Park to the ticket window. We got our tickets and walked up the ramp to the ride’s access elevator. Ellie’s eyes grew large as she got her first up-close site of the falls. Her grin grew large.
We got our blue ponchos (“free” souvenirs) and stepped onboard to begin our Niagara Falls boat tour. It hasn’t changed much since my childhood.
We claimed one of the last available railing spots along the side of the boat and held on as we rode along. As we approached the American Falls, the mist was everywhere. People jostled us to get pictures. Groups pushed and shoved to get “selfies” with the mist behind them.
Ellie, thankfully, was fairly oblivious to the pushing going on, perhaps because I shielded her from it. Her face was wet — and she laughed at my wet glasses. We passed out of the mist and enjoyed looking at the birds, the falls in the distance and the wall of rock all around. We approached the Canadian Horseshoe Falls and most riders ran to the far side of the boat to take more selfies. I pulled out my phone to get a couple shots of Ellie and me, but honestly, it was so wet we pretty much gave up. My phone was also my GPS, so I couldn’t let it get drenched!
Instead, we spent our time looking for rainbows in the mist and waving to the people looking down from the park.
The return trip was much less wet, and we enjoyed watching the birds and the warm sun on our faces. Afterward, we climbed the stairs to get a close-up look at the American Falls and some great photos of rainbows (without the mist in our faces. YAY!). We also enjoyed the views from the Niagara Falls Observation Deck. Even though the Observation Deck was crowded, everyone was really friendly, and groups took turns photographing each other with the falls in the background. This is the best place on the US side to get photos of Niagara Falls!
Tips for Maid of the Mist tours at Niagara Falls
As you plan your Maid of the Mist boat tours, keep this information handy.
Where can I get Maid of the Mist tickets (and how to purchase Maid of the Mist tickets online to save time and money)
Maid of the Mist tickets can be purchased the day of your trip, but they sell out, so it’s generally better to buy in advance — especially during the busy summer vacation season.
- Regular admission tickets for the 2020 season are $22.25 for adults (ages 13+), $13.00 (for kids ages 6-12) and free for children under 5 with a paying adult.
- Tickets can be purchased as part of a package including:
- The Niagara Falls TourPass which includes admission to some of the most popular attractions on the US and Canadian sides of Niagara Falls.
- The Niagara Falls half-day American Tour which includes the Maid of the Mist boat tours, Cave of the Winds, a visit to the American Observation Tower and a tour of Niagara Falls State Park. This guided tour is informative and allows you to see the most popular Niagara Falls US attractions in one day.
- The Niagara Falls USA Discovery Pass provides admission to several of the major attractions on the US side of Niagara Falls for you to schedule. This is an economical alternative for those planning to visit only the American side of Niagara Falls.
There are many other tour options available for visiting Niagara Falls on both the American and Canadian sides. Some are really cool, like a nighttime tour that includes great viewing of the fireworks (on my bucket list). For tickets and tour options, click here.
What are Maid of the Mist hours
Maid of the Mist boat tours should begin by May 15, 2020 and will run through early November.
The exact start and end date depend on weather. In spring and fall, hours are limited due to daylight. Summertime, Maid of the Mist hours generally run from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. For the complete schedule, click here.
What to wear to Niagara Falls for a Maid of the Mist tour?
It probably should go without saying, but you get wet on Maid of the Mist boat tours. You also walk down a long gangway to the boat. The best clothes to wear for a Niagara Falls boat tour (or in general for a trip to Niagara Falls) include:
- Shoes with a good grip so you don’t slip on rocks or wet places. Ellie wore tennis shoes, and I wore my favorite Keen Sandals.
- Lightweight, quick dry clothes. Jeans get wet and stay wet all day, so I don’t recommend them! Some options to consider:
- Columbia Quick Dry Shorts for Men,
- Columbia Anytime Outdoor Shorts for Women with SPF,
- Active kids outdoor pants/shorts (zip off pant leg)
- Quick dry shirts — whether long sleeve for sun protection or cool weather or short sleeve, loose fit or athletic cut. LOTS OF OPTIONS! But, quick dry means more comfort!
Remember to pack sunscreen, sunglasses and/or a hat with a brim to protect your eyes. The sun’s glare on Niagara Falls can be pretty intense.
Maid of the Mist Tips for visiting
- How long should I plan for a Maid of the Mist tour? Allow about 1 hour for this attraction from parking lot to finish. The ride itself is 20 minutes, and during peak times, you might wait for a while to get a boat. The extra time allows for photos after the ride.
- Where do I park for Maid of the Mist? If staying in downtown Niagara Falls, consider walking to this attraction. It’s an easy walk on paved walkways. Otherwise, parking costs $10/vehicle (2020). The address for Maid of the Mist tours is 1 Prospect Street, Niagara Falls, NY. Click this link for driving directions and parking information.
- What else should I bring on the Maid of the Mist tours? All rain coats are provided for Maid of the Mist tours. You might want a waterproof bag for any items you bring with you and also a waterproof case for your cellphone/camera, especially if you want photos.
If you liked this article, you will also like:
- Five reasons to visit Niagara Falls, New York
- Cave of the Winds at Niagara Falls
- Niagara Falls Family Itinerary