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How to Plan a Trip to Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls is a famous destination in Canada, located on the border between Canada and the US. Millions of people from all over the world flock to the city every year, eager to witness the power of the famous waterfalls and explore the touristy city.

Mist rises above Horseshoe Falls' basin in Niagara Falls, Canada

We can help you with how to plan a Niagara Falls vacation. Our comprehensive guide is a great start for planning a trip to Niagara Falls Canada and making the most of your time. 

Our guide will cover everything you need to know to plan a trip to Niagara Falls, including when to visit, where to stay, and which activities you should do while in Niagara Falls. Sightseeing, taking a boat ride on Hornblower Niagara City Cruises or the immersive experience of Journey Behind the Falls are all things you might want to do while you're there. It’s a very popular desitination, so It's important to plan ahead to make the most of your vacation.

With a little bit of planning, you'll be able to experience the awe-inspiring beauty of Niagara Falls and create memories that will last a lifetime.

What is Niagara Falls?

Niagara Falls is one of the most spectacular natural wonders of the world. Straddling the border between the United States and Canada, this magnificent series of three waterfalls is a must-see destination for anyone looking to experience a truly awe-inspiring sight.

The Falls are made up of three cascades: the Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls, and the Bridal Veil Falls. The Horseshoe Falls (aka Canadian Falls) is the largest of the three and also the most powerful waterfall in the whole of North America. At over 164 feet tall, the Horseshoe Falls provide an incredible sight of water crashing thunderously over the cliff edge. Visitors to Niagara Falls can experience the power of the Falls up close with the many boat tours available, including Niagara City Cruises.

Niagara Falls is also home to a variety of activities and attractions, from the fun-filled Clifton Hill amusement park to world-famous casinos. With countless restaurants and hotels nearby, visitors to Niagara Falls can enjoy the city and all its beauty for days on end. Whether you're looking for an amazing natural wonder or exciting nightlife, here are some tips for visiting Niagara Falls.

An aerial view above Niagara Falls including the American Falls and Horseshoe Falls

Travel tip: get out on the water

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One of the most impressive views of the falls is from the water below. Book a boat tour to see — and feel — the power of this famous waterfall.

Blog Author - Athena McKenzie
Athena McKenzie
Content Manager

How Do I Get To Niagara Falls?

Whether you're coming from Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa or any other Canadian city, getting to Niagara Falls from Canada is easy, convenient and affordable. The falls are located in Ontario, Canada, and there are several ways to get there depending on your location and preferred mode of transportation.

By Car

Driving to Niagara Falls is a popular way to get there from within Canada. It is a relatively short drive from Toronto, taking about two hours. The most direct route from Toronto to Niagara Falls is the Queen Elizabeth Way, an Ontario highway that runs along the shore of Lake Ontario. If you're coming from Montreal, take Highway 401 to Highway 3, then follow it all the way to Niagara Falls. But note that the drive from Montreal to Niagara Falls will take about seven hours one way.

By Bus

Taking the bus is another popular and affordable way to get to Niagara Falls from within Canada. Greyhound and Megabus both offer regular service to Niagara Falls from many Canadian cities, including Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. The trip takes roughly two to seven hours, depending on your departure point.

By Train

VIA Rail offers daily train service to Niagara Falls from Toronto and Ottawa. The trip takes approximately two to five hours, depending on your departure point. The train is a great way to get to Niagara Falls if you're looking for a more comfortable and scenic journey. The train station is located just a short walk from the falls.

Many of our Toronto Canadian Train Vacations include Niagara Falls excursions. The travel experts at Canadian Train Vacations can help you book a tour.

By Plane

Flying to Niagara Falls is also an option. Many Canadian cities have direct flights to Niagara Falls International Airport in New York. From there, you can rent a car or take a shuttle to the falls on the Canadian side (bring your passport!). The nearest major airport in Canada is Toronto Pearson International Airport.

No matter how you choose to travel, it's important to plan ahead, and the best way to plan a trip to Niagara Falls is to book your transportation in advance, especially during peak tourist season. Once you arrive at Niagara Falls, you can easily explore the area on foot, bike, or with hop-on hop-off bus tours.

A train rolls through a green field to Niagara Falls on a clear day
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When To Visit Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls is a popular tourist destination year-round, but the best time to visit depends on what you're looking to experience. The details below will help you how to plan a Niagara Falls vacation:

Summer (June to August):

This is the peak tourist season and the best time to visit if you want to enjoy warm weather and a variety of outdoor activities. The falls are at their fullest during this time and you can take boat tours to the base of the falls or enjoy the illumination of the falls at night.

Spring (April to May) and Fall (September to October):

These seasons offer milder weather and smaller crowds, making it a great time to visit if you want to avoid the peak season rush. The falls are still impressive during this time and you can enjoy the colourful foliage of spring and fall in the many parks in the area, as well as at the wineries.

Winter (December to March):

Niagara Falls is also a popular winter destination. If the temperatures drop enough, the falls freeze and the whole area is transformed into a winter wonderland. A Winter Festival of Lights tour is a magical experience.

Tourists can’t climb the frozen falls. It is a special thing that only media seeking adventurists do and they need permission.

Regardless of when you choose to visit, it's always a good idea to check the weather forecast and pack accordingly, as temperatures can vary greatly depending on the season.

Aerial view of Fort George and Niagara River in Niagara-on-the-Lake

Where To Stay In Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls, Canada, offers plenty of wonderful places to stay, whether you're looking for luxury or budget-friendly, a romantic getaway or a family vacation. You should also consider the location of the accommodation, as the closer to Niagara Falls, the more convenient it will be for you to visit the main attraction.

Here are some popular options for where to stay in Niagara Falls:

Hotels: Niagara Falls offers a wide range of hotels, from luxury resorts to budget-friendly options. Some popular hotel options include the Sheraton on the Falls, the Crowne Plaza Niagara Falls-Fallsview, and the Niagara Falls Marriott on the Falls. These hotels offer comfortable accommodations and are located close to the falls and other popular attractions.

Bed and Breakfasts: For a more intimate and personalized experience, consider staying at one of the many bed and breakfasts in the area. These accommodations offer a comfortable and homey atmosphere and are often located in historic homes or charming cottages.
Vacation Rentals: For a more private and self-catering option, consider renting a vacation home or apartment. This option can be a great value if you're traveling with a group or want more space and privacy.

Campgrounds: If you're an outdoor enthusiast, consider camping at one of the many campgrounds in the Niagara region. These campgrounds offer a range of amenities and are a great way to experience natural beauty.

And also, consider the location of the accommodation, as the closer to the falls, the more convenient it will be for you to visit the main attraction.

Niagara Falls Tours

Organized Niagara Falls tours are the best way to see all the aspects of the falls without having to organize everything yourself and without having a fear of missing out on anything. Some popular options include:

Hornblower Niagara Cruises:

The iconic Niagara Falls experience is a boat tour that takes you up close. It’s the thrill of a lifetime to hear the waves as they crash over the edge and to feel the mist. Tour operators provide rain ponchos to protect you as much as possible from the spray.

Niagara Helicopter Tour:

For a bird's-eye view of the falls, consider a helicopter tour. These tours offer panoramic views of the falls and the surrounding area and are a great way to experience the falls from a different perspective.

Journey Behind the Falls:

This tour takes visitors behind the Horseshoe Falls, through a series of tunnels and observation decks, to experience the falls from a unique vantage point.

Niagara Falls Illumination Tour:

For a unique and magical experience, consider a nighttime tour of Niagara Falls which are illuminated with colourful lights after dark.

Maid of the Mist Boat Tour:

This is one of the most well-known tours, but it only runs on the American side of the falls.

Niagara on the Lake and Wine Tours:

Niagara region is also famous for its wineries and vineyards. Sign up for a tour to visit several wineries and learn about and taste the different wines from the region.

There are many other guided tours of Niagara Falls that take in all the breathtaking must-see attractions and scenery. Consider the time of the day you want to take the tour, as the view of the falls can be different depending on the lighting, either in the day or at night. 

Passengers on a Hornblower Niagara Cruise

6 Best Ways To Experience The Falls

This awe-inspiring sight is a must-see for any traveler, and Canada offers some of the best ways to experience the falls. From boat tours to helicopter rides, from walking behind the falls to taking a scenic drive, these are the top things to do in Niagara Falls to discover the beauty of the falls.

1. Take a boat tour:

One of the most popular ways to experience the falls is by taking a boat tour. Niagara City Cruises offers tours that take you right up to the base of the Horseshoe Falls, providing a truly breathtaking view of the falls.

2. Go on a helicopter tour:

For an even more unique perspective, take a helicopter tour of the falls. These tours offer an incredible view of the falls and the surrounding area, allowing you to take in the full scope of the falls.

3. Walk behind the falls:

Another popular way to experience the falls is by walking behind them. The Journey Behind the Falls takes you behind the Horseshoe Falls, providing a one-of-a-kind view of the falls from behind. Multiple cave entrances offer a view where you can see Niagara Falls plummeting down right before your eyes. The observation deck at the end of the tunnel is the best part of the Journey Behind the Falls. The mist here is even fiercer than the mist of the Niagara City Cruises. 

4. Explore the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens:

The Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens offer a beautiful and peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the falls. The gardens feature a wide variety of plants and flowers, as well as beautiful walking paths that offer great views of the falls.

5. Visit the Niagara's Fury:

Niagara's Fury is an interactive experience that simulates the formation of the falls. Visitors will feel the power of the falls as they watch a 4D film and stand on a platform that simulates the movement of water.

6. Enjoy a candlelight dinner at the Skylon Tower:

Get a bird’s-eye view of Niagara Falls from the Skylon Tower. The Tower offers an incredible view of the falls, particularly at night when the falls are illuminated. Enjoy a romantic candlelight dinner while taking in the view, making for a truly special and memorable experience. The falls are illuminated at night which gives the falls a different and beautiful view.

These are some of the best ways to experience the falls from Canada, each providing a unique and unforgettable perspective of this natural wonder.

A woman beams while flying over the Niagara Falls in a helicopter

Where To Eat In Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls is home to a wide variety of dining options that cater to all tastes and budgets. While you’re in the area, you’ll want to make sure to sample some of the amazing cuisines. Here are some of the best places to eat in Niagara Falls:

The Keg Steakhouse & Bar:

Located in the Fallsview Casino Resort, The Keg offers a prime dining experience with a great view of Niagara Falls. The menu features prime rib, fresh seafood, and delicious steaks.

Niagara Fallsview Buffet:

For a true taste of Niagara Falls, head to the Niagara Fallsview Buffet. This restaurant offers up a buffet of all-you-can-eat Canadian cuisine, including local favorites like poutine and tourtiere.

Table Rock House Restaurant:

Table Rock House is a great choice for breakfast or lunch. The menu features a variety of classic dishes like eggs Benedict and pancakes, as well as a selection of sandwiches and salads.

IHOP:

This popular American chain restaurant is a great spot for breakfast. Enjoy classic dishes like French toast and omelets, and don’t forget to try their famous pancakes.

The Watermark Restaurant:

The Watermark Restaurant offers a fine dining experience with a view of the falls. The menu features contemporary Canadian cuisine and a wide variety of wines.

The Rainbow Room by Massimo Capra:

The Rainbow Room by Massimo Capra is a revolving restaurant that offers a panoramic view of the falls and the surrounding area. The menu features modern Italian cuisine.

The Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort:

The Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort offers a variety of dining options, including the Grand Buffet, which offers a wide variety of dishes from around the world, and the Fallsview Restaurant, which serves contemporary Canadian cuisine.

The Mist Pool Bar & Grill:

The Mist Pool Bar & Grill is a casual outdoor dining option that offers a variety of casual fares such as burgers, sandwiches, and salads. It's the perfect spot for lunch or a light dinner while enjoying the view of the falls.

To plan a trip to Niagara Falls, book a tour with Canadian Train Vacations right now.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many days do you need to visit Niagara Falls?

Generally, two to three days is a good amount of time to visit Niagara Falls and see the main attractions.

Which is better Niagara Falls NY or Canada?

That depends on what you are looking for. If you are looking for the best views of Niagara Falls, then Canada is probably the better option. However, if you are looking for a more touristy experience, then Niagara Falls, NY may be the better choice.

What is the best month to visit Niagara Falls?

The best month to visit Niagara Falls in June. June offers warmer temperatures and longer days making it an ideal time to visit the falls.

Do I need to buy Niagara Falls tickets in advance?

Yes, it is recommended to buy Niagara Falls tickets in advance to guarantee admission and avoid long wait times.

Can you see both sides of Niagara Falls in one day?

Yes, it is possible to see both sides of Niagara Falls in one day. Boat tours that offer views of both the American and Canadian sides of the Falls are available.

What is the best way to experience Niagara Falls?

The best way to experience Niagara Falls is to take in the breathtaking views from the observation decks. You can also take a boat tour with Hornblower Cruises by Niagara City Cruises for a closer look at the falls or take a helicopter tour or watch from the Skylon Tower.

Is Niagara Falls worth the drive?

Yes, Niagara Falls is worth driving to. It is a beautiful place that is well worth seeing in person.

Can you walk to Niagara Falls at night?

No, Niagara Falls is closed to visitors after dark.

About the author: Carolyn Camilleri is a Contributing Writer with Fresh tracks Canada. A magazine writer and editor since 1996, she loves the discovery that comes from travel. Her work has appeared in several Canadian travel publications, including Where Victoria, Harbour... Read more

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