Niagara Falls is one of those places I always knew I wanted to visit some day.
But I was worried that it wouldn't live up to all the hype (as many famous tourist attractions oftentimes are).
This is not the case with Niagara Falls.
It MORE than exceeded my expectations, which is saying a lot as we have seen HUNDREDS of waterfalls all across the world in the last 7 years.
It truly is one of the very best places to visit in Canada.
But as well as the falls themselves, there are plenty of other amazing things to see and do around Niagara and Niagara Falls.
And below I wanted to take you through all of these.
Giving top recommendations also of where to stay, and how to make the most of your visit.
Without further ado ... let's get stuck in ...
Niagara Falls spans the border between Ontario (in Canada) and New York (in the United States) and is actually made up of three waterfalls that run from Lake Ontario and Lake Erie.
Below we are going to dive specifically into how to visit from the Canadian side (arguably the better of the 2 options).
So how would you even get here?
If you are able, then driving to Niagara Falls is a big treat in itself. Regardless of whether you are coming in from the States or through Ontario, there is lots to stop at and see on your drive into Niagara.
This is what we did, as our visit here formed part of our epic drive across Canada in our camper.
If you plan on visiting other spots as well as Niagara Falls, then I recommend hiring a camper; you can find the best RV rental firms here.
Or head straight on over to Outdoorsy and do a search.
Alternatively, you can rent a car directly from the airport or from a number of other destinations around the area.
There are four major airports in the region of Niagara Falls. Toronto Pearson is located about a 1.5-hour drive away and it's the airport you're most likely to arrive at as this is where most international flights go.
If you're lucky, you'll find a flight that goes directly to Buffalo Niagara International Airport which is only a 45-minute drive away from Niagara Falls.
To find a great deal on flights to Niagara Falls, check out various routes and book your flights through Skyscanner!
Whichever airport you arrive at, rest assured that there are plenty of ground transportation options to get you to Niagara Falls.
Servicing the Greater Toronto area, Go Transit offers commuter train service from Toronto in the evenings on weekdays.
From Victoria Day weekend in May, the service is offered every weekend until Labour Day.
Taking a bus to Niagara Falls is likely the easiest and cheapest way to get there!
As you will see, there are many great things to do both around Niagara Falls, but also aroudn the wider area.
You don't need your own vehicle, but to see more it will definitely be convenient.
If you didn't rent a car at the airport to drive to Niagara Falls, one of the best ways to get around the actual city is by hiring a car once you arrive.
Again, the quickest way to do that is to search Rentalcars here.
Go Transit also offers a local Niagara Falls hop-on hop-off service called the WEGO bus system. This bus has stops at hotels and attractions around the city so it's easy to just hop on outside your accommodation and hop off at your chosen destination.
The best thing about this service is that you can buy a 24-hour or 48-hour pass so you don't need to keep paying every time you use it!
The City of Niagara Falls also offers a municipal service that travels to neighborhoods outside the touristy area.
Being one of the top tourist destinations in North America means Niagara Falls has a wide range of accommodation options to choose from.
But of course, if you want to make the most of your time here, then you are going to want to get a hotel as close to the falls as possible (ideally a hotel with a view of the Niagara Falls).
Because this was BY FAR my favourite part of our entire visit to Niagara!
We stayed at the Niagara Falls Marriott Fallsview Hotel & Spa, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Just look at the picture above!
We spent half our time here just sat by the window (eating Time Hortons) and soaking in that epic view.
I seriously cannot explain how much I loved this hotel, and I think it was fantastic option. A thing to do in Niagara in it's own right.
If this is a bit out of your price-range, then there are tonnes of other options too.
Such as the Days Inn by Wyndham Fallsview.
It's still relatively cheap compared to other hotels in the area, and you'll have access to plenty of facilities. This includes an on-site casino, a swimming pool, and free WiFi, and continental breakfast is also included here as well.
For all options, I recommend searching on Booking.com.
Seeing Niagara Falls from a viewpoint on the ground is one thing, but seeing it from a zipline as you soar through the air across it is quite another!
This truly is one of the most thrilling experiences for all ages and one of the most unique ways to get a completely different viewpoint of the falls.
At over 40 miles-per-hour, you'll fly 2,200 feet over the Niagara River Gorge and land safely on the Falls Observation Landing on the other side.
The views are so incredible, you'll forget that you're afraid of heights!
Better still, the cost of this experience, isn't very expensive. However, it does book up well in advance.
So I recommend booking your tour as soon as you know your dates, in order to avoid disappointment.
I recommend doing so on either:
If you want an aerial view of Niagara Falls but flying across it attached to a cable is not your cup of tea, you can always hop on a helicopter instead.
With National Helicopters (who we went with), you'll take to the sky and get an informative and scenic tour of the falls from above.
I suggest booking the Niagara Grand Tour for the most inclusive experience. This is the company's most popular tour!
For 20 incredible minutes, you'll fly over the city's top attractions including Niagara's Wine Country and of course, the shining star of this grand adventure, Niagara Falls itself and all its glory.
Brad and I actually took this trip on my 29th birthday and it was a spectacular moment. I think it's excellent value, and definitely something that should be top of your bucket list.
From the moment we arrived we felt excited and the whole process is clean, caring and exciting. These guys are a reputable company who you can trust will ensure you have a fantastic experience in the air!
These tours leave from both Toronto and the city of Niagara falls itself.
Alternatively, check out this very popular Niagara Falls Scenic Helicopter Flight tour.
You can literally see Niagara Falls from every angle ... even from behind!
Yes, that's right, you can go behind the Falls!
When I was a kid, I always thought there was a strange fairytale world behind waterfalls. Well, not really the case here, but it certainly is interesting!
To get there, you'll need to go down 125 feet.
Once there, you'll be able to explore some tunnels that are more than 130 years old that open up to the back of the Falls.
This is where you'll stand right next to the falling cascades and hear the roaring water and feel the vibration under your feet.
You know you're about as close to the Falls as you could possibly be because you'll feel the water on your face.
There's a lot of water coming down too. More than 2,500 cubic meters per second!
Trust me, this isn't an experience you want to miss so purchase your Behind the Falls entry tickets in advance.
This tour here is a great option as it includes your behind the falls access, AS WELL as a boat tour as well!
Just a short distance away from Niagara Falls is one of the region's other top attractions, Niagara-on-the-Lake Wine Country.
The best way to get the most out of Niagara's wine country is to take a guided tour with an expert tour group, such as this one here.
Get excellent service and trusted, experienced guides, all while learning about the region, its wine-making history and all about the wines.
Of course, the best part is getting to sample the wines themselves.
If this one doesn't quite take your fancy, then there are a variety of tours available.
Such as this highly rated experience which also includes charcuterie and cheese tasting.
No matter which tour you choose, it's sure to be a first-class experience with lots of food and drink!
The Voyage to the Falls tour with Hornblower Cruises is only 20 minutes but in that 20 minutes, you'll embark on an incredible adventure to get up close with the top attractions of Niagara Falls.
It's also one of the most iconic shots of Niagara Falls.
The close-up views you'll get of Niagara Gorge, American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and Horseshoe Falls are like none you'll experience with any other tour!
And you can bet that being that close to so much falling water ensures you'll feel the power that these Falls possess too.
If you love getting soaked on boat tours, you'll love this one. If you don't, you can cover up with the complimentary poncho that's provided at the beginning of the tour.
If a Hornblower cruise isn't high octane enough, then why not go for a jet boat tour!
There are two types of boat tours at Niagara Falls ... there's one where you get drenched and there's one where you stay dry.
When visiting the most famous waterfall in North America, I would choose any tour that involves getting soaked with mist from the waterfall.
Which does of course mean getting really up close and personal!
You'll see the same thing on the dry tour and perhaps it won't be quite as exciting, but at least you'll be able to use your camera.
Once again, there are lots of different jet boat tours to choose from. Depending on your preference of site, I recommend looking on either:
Niagara Falls is a fairly populated area and it's more crowded during peak season.
However, that doesn't mean that there aren't places to escape the crowds and surround yourself with nature.
One of those places is Niagara Falls State Park and you don't have to travel very far to get there even though it's technically in another country.
Just across the Canada-United States border is where you'll find this beautiful urban park and a visit to this park is one of the best things to do in Niagara Falls, New York.
Some of the areas, such as the aquarium, Cave of the Winds and the Falls Observation Tower tend to draw crowds.
The hiking trails, including the Niagara Gorge, are where you can find serene outdoor spaces and stunning scenery.
As you explore the park, you'll also find the ruins of the Schoellkopf Power Plant, fascinating exhibits and restaurants. You can even take a ride around the park on a vintage trolley.
This is one of the best places to visit in Niagara Falls so don't leave it off your itinerary!
Just when you thought there were no other ways to experience incredible views of Niagara Falls, you discover the Niagara SkyWheel.
It's one of the biggest observation wheels in the country and there's no doubt that the views from the top of this 175-foot high Ferris wheel are some of the best you can get!
As you go around in your climate-controlled, fully-enclosed gondola, you'll enjoy views of Horseshoe Falls, American Falls, the Niagara River and many of the city's top attractions.
The best part about the Skywheel is that it also operates at night so you can enjoy those views after the sun goes down and everything is lit up.
I honestly think this is the best way to see the Niagara skyline and you purchase tickets in advance here!
There's no doubt you'll want to check out the spectacular views from the Skylon Tower's indoor and outdoor Observation Decks as this is one of the best things to do in Niagara Falls.
Yes, I know I said the SkyWheel has the best views, but these views are different because you'll be able to see so much more beyond the Falls!
Actually, how does seeing 80 miles out sound? Sprawling countryside, Niagara Wine Country, the distant skylines of Toronto and other nearby cities and the Great Lakes are all in one spectacular panorama!
No worries, you'll see those world-famous views of the Falls too! Just make sure you book your Observation Deck ticket before you arrive as this place gets busy!
Dining on gourmet cuisine is an even better way to enjoy these views and there are two levels of dining inside the tower. Both of them are more than 700 feet above the Falls.
When you dine at the Revolving Dining Room Restaurant, the views change every hour as the restaurant rotates.
The Summit Suite Buffet Dining Room is a more family-friendly and budget-friendly option with equally nice views.
No matter which restaurant you choose, when you dine at the Skylon Tower, access to the Observation Decks is included in your visit.
The whitewater rapids of the Niagara River are some of the fiercest in North America.
Braving them in any kind of watercraft is not advisable as even the most seasoned whitewater rafters would hesitate to attempt these class 6 rapids.
At the White Water Walk, you don't need to do any death-defying stunts to experience the power of these rapids.
To access this attraction, you'll need to descend 70 meters in an elevator instead.
At the bottom of the Niagara Gorge, you'll find a quarter-mile boardwalk that extends along the raging river.
As loud as those rapids are, the sound of this much flowing water is strangely relaxing.
Combine that relaxing sound with the views and you'll have yourself a lovely nature walk.
Make sure to venture off the boardwalk to check out the viewing platforms along the way too so you can get even closer to those raging rapids!
Niagara Falls is a vibrant city full of exciting things to see and do.
However, there will be times when you just want to get away from it all and be surrounded by the sounds of birds chirping, trees rustling in a gentle breeze and a river flowing nearby.
For this experience, I'd recommend heading to Niagara Glen Nature Centre, which is not very far away despite its lack of buildings, cars and crowds.
Take the stairway down into the Niagara Gorge and enjoy access to 2.5 miles of rugged trails where you'll pass through forest areas and see prehistoric rock formations and an abundance of plant life.
You might even spot some wildlife! Along the Niagara River, you'll also get a better view of the Niagara River Whirlpool.
Here's some more information about the hikes in Niagara Glen Nature Centre!
For another opportunity to get up close and personal with the raging cascades, a tour of the Cave of the Winds is an incredible way to immerse yourself in the power of these falls.
Start with a 175-meter descent into the Niagara Gorge and head over to the walkways that lead to the Hurricane Deck.
As the name implies, get ready for some wind and water action! When you're this close to this much moving water, you can bet on getting wet.
You'll stand only 20 feet away from Bridal Veil Falls and as you admire the incredible sight before you - you may even spot a rainbow in the chaos.
If you're wondering what to do in Niagara Falls, then make sure you explore the Cave of the Winds!
In order to walk across the Rainbow Bridge, you'll need one dollar and a passport.
The one dollar is presumably to help with the ongoing maintenance of the structure and the passport is needed to enter the United States on the other side.
You see, this bridge is not just any old ordinary bridge; it's also a border crossing that links Niagara Falls in Canada with Niagara Falls USA.
It’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week so you can make the short walk across the picturesque arch bridge and enjoy scenic views of the Falls and river.
There's so much to see and do at Clifton Hill that you can spend an entire day there! It's said that this lively street is the heart of Niagara Falls' entertainment district and it's not hard to see why!
The best part about it is you have access to so many attractions while also having immediate access to American Falls and Horseshoe Falls.
There are go-karts, mini-putt courses, rides, a wax museum and the Fallsview indoor waterpark for starters, plus so much more!
While you're there, help fight the zombie apocalypse at Zombie Attack and catch some thrills on the Wild West Rollercoaster.
If you're looking for fun things to do in Niagara falls then make sure you spend some time here!
An excursion to Devil's Hole State Park pairs perfectly with your crossing of the Rainbow Bridge because it happens to be located on the American side of Niagara Falls.
This is the perfect place to enjoy a scenic nature hike before relaxing with a picnic.
The park itself looks out over the Devil's Hole Rapids and you'll need to go down some stairs to the base of the gorge to access the park's namesake trail, Devil's Hole Trail.
Along this 2.5-mile trail, you'll enjoy stunning scenery and have an excellent chance of spotting some wildlife.
If you want to stick around longer before returning to the city, there are several other trails in the park including Robert Moses Recreation Trail, Niagara Gorge Trail and Whirlpool Rapids Trail.
For most people, the best time to travel to Niagara Falls is between June and August.
Niagara Falls Tourism is at its peak during these months. During this time, the weather is nicest and all attractions are guaranteed to be open.
The weather in May, September and October is nice too but in May, rain is more common and later in the fall, the nights are much cooler.
The best thing about late spring and fall though is that there are fewer people around!
Generally, weekdays are better to visit due to shorter lineups to get into the attractions.
If you want to really experience the falls and also visit some of the other attractions without feeling rushed, a minimum of two days is recommended.
If you want to do some tours, visit wine country, or spend some time hiking, an extra day or two might be needed.
Based on data taken from previous visitors over the years, the average budget for Niagara Falls is $135 a day including meals, transportation, admission fees and accommodation.
Of course, your budget will depend on what Niagara Falls activities you participate in, where you choose to eat and sleep, and how you get around.
Yes, of course, you can book a tour....or two or more! There are many different types of one-hour, half-day and full-day tours you can book.
Some include a visit to just one attraction while others include a wide variety of attractions.
If you're short on time and want to see a lot of the Falls in a small time frame, a guided tour is the best way to go!
You don't have to worry about the planning and transportation, as everything is taken care of.
Get Your Guide and Viator have a wide selection of Niagara Falls tours available and here are a few of the most popular ones:
This iconic destination has so many awesome attractions to offer. However, many of them can get extremely busy so you'll want to book your tickets in advance.
One of the most popular activities is the zipline, so make sure you book your tickets ahead of your trip to secure a spot!
Niagara Falls is situated in Southern Ontario in a region known as the Golden Horseshoe.
This region is home to many of the province's top travel destinations including the bustling capital city of Toronto.
Lake Ontario, Lake Erie and Lake Huron border this region and the Great Lakes offer up some of the best outdoor adventures in North America.
For help planning your next stop, check out our other guides: