Canada

Weekend and Day Trips to Niagara Falls: A Must-visit Natural Wonder


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Niagara Falls is a place that should be on everyone’s bucket list. The beauty of the falls and the surrounding area is simply breathtaking. If you’re planning a weekend or day trip to Niagara Falls from Toronto, you’re in for a treat. In this guide, we’ll share everything you need to know to make the most of your trip.


Planning your weekend or day trip to Niagara Falls

Before setting out on your weekend or day trip to Niagara Falls, it’s important to plan ahead. You should start by deciding how you want to get there. You can drive from Toronto to Niagara Falls, take a bus or train, or book a tour. Each mode of transportation has its own pros and cons, so consider what works best for you. You’ll find more information on getting to Niagara Falls further below.

Next, decide what time of year you want to visit. Summer is the busiest time of year, and it can get very crowded. The falls are also illuminated at night which is a sight to behold and you’d want to be there once it gets dark so as to see this. If you prefer a quieter experience, consider visiting in the spring or fall. The weather may be cooler, but you’ll have more space to enjoy the falls.

Finally, decide what activities you want to do while at Niagara Falls. There are plenty of things to see and do, so it’s a good idea to plan ahead. Some activities require reservations, so make sure to book in advance.


Best time to visit Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls can be visited all year round and will provide different experiences throughout the year. If you wanted a more quieter, peaceful and serene experience then the winter is a nice time to go, whilst if you wanted to go when the city is full of life with lots going on then consider the summer.

If you visit in the fall, you’ll also get to see the changing colours of the leaves, which is a beautiful sight. The weather may be cooler, but it’s worth it for the views.

When visiting in the winter you may find a very different and somewhat surreal experience. You might see part of the river, falls, and surrounding area frozen in a picturesque winter wonderland. It’s definitely worth seeing.


How to get to Niagara Falls from Toronto

There are several ways to get to Niagara Falls from Toronto. You can drive, take a bus, train, or book a tour. If you’re driving, it will take you approximately 1.5 to 2 hours to get there, depending on traffic.

If you want to take public transportation, there are several bus and train options. The GO Transit service is a popular choice, as it’s affordable and has several stops in the Niagara Falls area. VIA Rail also offers train services from Toronto to Niagara Falls.

If you prefer a more guided experience, there are several tour companies that offer day trips to Niagara Falls from Toronto. This can be a good option if you don’t want to worry about transportation or planning. Some options also include a stop at Niagara-on-the-Lake which is definitely worth visiting (it’s super cute).


Can you visit both the Canadian and American sides of Niagara Falls?

Depending on your nationality this is certainly a possibility. Check the rules for your nationality prior to doing this and make sure that you have your passport with you. You may also need to complete an eTA form (if you’re visiting Canada from the USA) or an ESTA form (visiting the USA from Canada) in advance.


Things to do at Niagara Falls on the Canadian side

Once you arrive at Niagara Falls, there are plenty of things to see and do. Here are some of the top attractions on the Canadian side:

Admire views of the falls

The most obvious thing to do at Niagara Falls is to admire the various waterfalls. Including the American Falls, the Bridal Veil Falls as well as the incredible Horseshoe Falls (our favourite). There are several lookout points that offer stunning views of the falls. The most popular lookout point is around the Table Rock Centre, which is located right next to the Horseshoe Falls.

You can also walk alongside the river and waterfall on the Canadian side and will find good vantage points all along. There is also the Skylon Tower (mentioned below) which can give you some top aerial views. If you’re staying the night then you may also find some hotels with good views of the waterfalls.

Horsehoe Falls, Niagara Falls - Long exposure
The Horseshoe Falls – Image by team / @mikecleggphoto

Go on a boat tour

If you want to get up close and personal with the falls, consider taking a boat tour. From the Canadian side you have the Hornblower to choose from, whilst on the American side it’s The Maid of the Mist. These boat tours are a popular choice, as they take you right up to the base of the falls. You’ll get wet, but it’s worth it for the experience. Also, note what we said above about visiting both sides.

Boat rides up close in Niagara Falls
Boat tours at Niagara Falls – Image by team / @mikecleggphoto

Experience the Journey Behind The Falls

Another unique way to experience Niagara Falls is to take the Journey Behind The Falls. This tour takes you close to the falls, where you can see the water cascading down up close. It’s a truly unique perspective and also a good option for families.

Get Tickets

Enjoy views from the Skylon Tower

For some fantastic aerial views of the falls then head up the Skylon Tower. This tower offers 360-degree views of the falls and the surrounding area. There’s also a revolving restaurant at the top, which is a great place to enjoy a meal with a view. It’s a top spot to capture some aerial photographs of the waterfalls.

See Tickets

Niagara Falls from Skylon Tower
High views of Niagara Falls – Image by team / @mikecleggphoto

Enjoy the thrills of Zipline to The Falls

If you’re feeling adventurous then consider taking a zipline to the falls. This thrilling experience takes you on a ride over the Niagara River, with stunning views of the falls along the way. It’s certainly not for the fainthearted and is a very fun activity to do with friends.

Get Tickets

Zipline rides at Niagara Falls
Ziplining at Niagara Falls – Image by team / @mikecleggphoto

Have a ride on the Niagara SkyWheel

If you’re looking for a more relaxing experience then head to the Niagara SkyWheel. This Ferris wheel offers stunning views of the falls and the surrounding area. It’s a great way to see the falls from a different perspective and is also a nice activity for families.

Enjoy the Clifton Hill arcades and entertainment

If you’re travelling with kids, consider a visit to Clifton Hill. This area is full of arcades, rides and entertainment, including a wax museum and mini golf. It’s a great place to spend a few hours and have some fun.

The Dinosaur Adventure Golf, Skywheel, Casino and hotels
Clifton Hill entertainment – Image by team / @mikecleggphoto

Go Niagara Falls souvenir shopping

No trip to Niagara Falls is complete without picking up some souvenirs. Clifton Hill and the surrounding area are full of souvenir shops and boutiques. You’ll find everything from t-shirts to maple syrup. Perfect for showing your friends back home that you’ve been to this incredible natural wonder.

Other Niagara Falls attractions

There are plenty of other attractions to see at Niagara Falls, including the Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory and the Niagara Glen Nature Reserve. Take some time to explore the area and see what else catches your eye.

If you’re driving then be sure to head to Niagara On the Lake, which is a beautiful town and perfect for lunch or a different kind of experience. You’ll also find winery tours available around here too.

Niagara-on-the-Lake streets
Niagara On The Lake – Image by team / @mikecleggphoto

Tour and activity options

Here are some tours and activity options that you may like.


Accommodations for an overnight stay (Canada side)

If you plan to stay overnight in Niagara Falls, there are plenty of accommodation options to choose from. You’ll find everything from budget motels to luxury hotels, so there’s something for every budget. For a truly unique experience, consider staying at one of the hotels that overlook the falls. You’ll have stunning views right from your room. You may need to request this or check the room that you book to ensure that you get this.


Niagara Falls Canada restaurants and dining options

You’ll find plenty of dining options in Niagara Falls, including fast food options to finer dining. If you want to try something unique, consider heading to the Skylon Tower Revolving Restaurant. You’ll have stunning views of the falls while enjoying a delicious meal.


Safety tips for visiting Niagara Falls

While Niagara Falls is a beautiful place to visit, it’s important to be aware of the dangers. The falls are powerful and can be dangerous if you’re not careful. Make sure to stay on designated paths and follow all posted signs. Don’t climb over any guardrails or fences, and certainly don’t swim in the river.


Summary

A weekend or day trip to Niagara Falls from Toronto is a must-do for anyone visiting the area. With so many things to see and do, it’s easy to spend a whole day exploring. From the stunning views of the falls to the unique experiences like Journey Behind The Falls and the zipline, there’s a whole mix of activities to enjoy. Just remember to plan ahead, stay safe, and have fun!

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Author

Written by

Mike Clegg

Mike is a traveller, photographer, WordPress developer and the creator of TravelAndDestinations.com. He started this website so as to share his experiences and tips with travellers. He is from the UK and has travelled to many places around the world. He loves to shares his pictures and stories through Instagram and this website.

Read full bio | More articles by Mike

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