Niagara's most famous scenic journey needs little introduction. You know that boat bobbing about in photos of Niagara Falls? That's the Maid of the Mist.
The iconic boat gets visitors close enough to feel the spray of the American and Horseshoe Falls as millions of litres of water come rushing over the edge. The Maid of the Mist operates exclusively on the United States side of the falls, while Hornblower Niagara Cruises takes the Canada arm.
The first Maid of the Mist made its debut journey in 1846. Before then, rowboats were used to give people a closer look at the falls. Clearly something bigger and better was in order.
The boats themselves have gone through many reincarnations. For the first decade, a steamboat with twin smokestacks chugged along the Niagara River. Next came a paddle-wheel steamer, followed two incarnations of white oak steamers that lasted 70 years, and finally a fleet modern steel ships – Maid of the Mists I through VII.
Presidents and royals alike have been welcomed aboard the Maid of the Mist, but arguably her most notable patron was blonde bombshell Marilyn Monroe in 1952, who took a journey on the Maid while filming Niagara.
The last day of the season for Maid of the Mist tours is November 8. In season, the Maid of the Mist runs from 09:00–20:00 in warmer months, and until 16:00 in cooler months. Tours run every 15 minutes during peak season, departing and returning from the landing on the New York side of the falls.
Tickets are $CAD17 for adults and $CAD9.90 for children ages 6–12, and all passengers are given a recyclable (and very fashionable) poncho to wear on board.