Niagara Falls needs no introduction—everyone has heard of this life-changing natural wonder of the world. However, only so many people have had the privilege of visiting it. There are a dozen hiking trails and gorgeous islands that ring the falls, and you owe it to yourself to each and every one of them. Once you've come to see the falls, you can stay a bit longer to enjoy the many local celebrations of the arts.

01Visit Prospect Point

Niagara Falls with Buffalo, NY in the distance OKRAD / Getty Images

Prospect Point is one of the most popular viewing areas around for its fantastic, wide-ranging perspective of the falls. However, it’s extremely busy around midday. If you want to avoid the lines and queues, you’ll want to visit in the morning or around dusk. What could be better than a peaceful evening above the Niagara Falls set against a purple evening sky?

02Hop aboard the Maid of the Mist Boat tour

The gorgeous American Falls Orchidpoet / Getty Images

From April to November, you can enjoy the most famous boat tour of the Niagara Falls. The Maid of the Mist tour gets up close to the two main waterfalls, the American Falls and Horseshoe Falls. You have a good chance of getting soaked, so the tour issues distinctive blue ponchos. Don’t forget to take a selfie wearing yours! You can embark on the tour from the Observation Tower.

03Get the best view from the Observation Tower

The wild heights of the Observation Tower Alexander Shapovalov / Getty Images

Are you planning a proposal or any other special occasion? If so, don’t settle for anything but the best. If you want the most impressive view of the Falls from the American side, go to the Observation Tower. The only reason not to pick this spot is if you or your beloved have a fear of heights. The dizzying tower is nearly three hundred feet tall! But if you can brave the tallest tower, you’ll find a fine reward in a breathtaking, all-encompassing panoramic view of all three falls.

04Get dozens of great views from Luna Island

Sunrise over Niagara Falls ronniechua / Getty Images

The various islands on the American side of the falls are necessary stops during any trip to Niagara Falls. The hilly, lush Luna Island is crisscrossed by walkways where you can enjoy many perspectives on the falls. To make it even better, it’s situated right between the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls. You can reach Luna Island from Goat Island, another important destination at Niagara Falls.

05Drop by Goat Island

A scenic lookout at Niagara Falls cheng8 / Getty Images

Goat Island is a must to visit if you're already near the falls. It rests at the stunning American Falls, and you can easily reach several nearby attractions from the island. Three Sisters, for instance, is the best place to enjoy the white-water rapids as they crash towards the falls. Goat Island also affords entry into the Cave of Winds, a network of boardwalks running within the falls.

06Reach out and touch the falls

The entrance to the Cave of the Winds Fahmid Swaikat / Getty Images

Disclaimer: You should not literally touch the falls, that’s a bit hazardous. However, the ambitious Cave of Winds Tour will take you close enough to try, as you’ll find yourself right up to the base of Bridal Veil Falls. The thunderous falling water is an amazing sight from up close. Consider bringing a change of clothes; you’re definitely getting wet on this trip.

07Check out the Whirlpool Rapids

The Whirlpool Rapids billberryphotography / Getty Images

Upstream from the falls, a sharp change of course in the river produces some of the most powerful rapids in the world. Whirlpool Gorge and the Falls have drawn their share of thrill-seeking adventurers over the years, but few have lived to tell the tale of their adventures. If you take a pleasant hike down a series of paths and trails, you’ll reach the perfect observation point to see the rapids. Hopefully, that’s enough excitement for you!

08Admire the collection of art on display at Castellani Art Museum

Are you an art lover? If so, the diverse collection of works at the Castellani Art Museum is for you. It contains thousands of artworks in many unique mediums and styles. The permanent exhibits include sculptures, paintings, ceramics and much more. The style ranges from classical works of the Romanticist movement to surrealist and modern art. The highly inclusive exhibit also includes a number of Native American artworks, including carefully preserved artifacts that predate contact with Europeans.

09Look Into the Colonial Past at the Niagara Fortress

Old Fort Niagara viewed from the Canadian side SkyF / Getty Images

Old Niagara Fortress has an important role in the history of the United States and Canada. During the wars between France and Britain for control of North America, both sides fought for the fortress and its key position in controlling the Great Lakes. In honor of the importance of the fort, a restoration effort has turned it into a period museum. It looks much like it would have back then, and there’s an assortment of actors playing the part of servants performing routine chores and pre-Industrial Revolution master tradesmen at work.

10Enjoy live music at Artpark

A crowd at a music festival SolStock / Getty Images

A concert hall overlooking the Niagara Falls? Talk about a perfect location. After spending days appreciating the falls and vying with crowds of people for the best spot, being glad to be part of a crowd will be a nice change of pace. The Artpark amphitheater regularly draws famous bands for live concerts, and the park also puts on low-cost, family-oriented events. Whether music, art, or the outdoors is your passion, Artpark is the perfect stop.