How to get to Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls State Park, located on the US/Canadian border, welcomes visitors worldwide.
Most visitors fly into Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF) or drive in on Interstate 90 to get to Niagara Falls State Park.
Dive in to learn how to get to Niagara Falls from Toronto and New York. Plan your trip accordingly.
From Toronto to Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls is a must-see attraction when visiting Toronto, and fortunately, it’s close by and easy to reach on a day trip or overnight excursion.
The journey can be completed in various ways, including driving, taking a tour, taking a bus, or taking a train/bus combination.
The drive along the Gardiner and Queen Elizabeth Highways is quick and easy, taking about 80 minutes during an outside rush hour.
The route is entirely on divided highways, well-marked, and simple to follow.
The bus and train/bus combinations take slightly longer, about two hours and forty minutes, respectively.
However, you’ll need to factor in some time for public transportation.
The bus station in Niagara Falls is about four kilometers from the falls, necessitating a walk or ride share to get you there.
Here are some of the best ways to reach Niagara Falls from Toronto.
If you have your car, driving from Toronto to Niagara Falls gives you the most freedom.
You can leave and return whenever you want and easily visit sights other than the Falls.
The drive from Toronto was challenging. Get on the elevated Gardiner Expressway and head west towards Niagara Falls.
The highway’s name changes at the Highway 427 Interchange, but no action is required; continue straight.
The Burlington Skyway, located on the far western edge of Lake Ontario, is one of the trip’s highlights.
As you ascend this impressive bridge, take the views to your left, back towards Toronto. On a clear day, you can see the downtown towers.
The Hamilton Steelworks, with its trademark billowing smoke and flames, is to your right.
The highway continues to Niagara Falls, passing through St. Catharines and ascending the Garden City Skyway.
You can see the spray cloud of Niagara Falls from here. With its unique lock systems, the Welland Canal is to your right. If you’re lucky, you’ll see a ship passing through.
Niagara Falls is relatively close here, so watch for the Highway 420 exit. Take this exit, followed by the exit for Falls Avenue.
This will take you to Niagara Parkway and Niagara Falls. On your right, there are several large parking lots. Parking is expensive in this area.
Park in the free lot near Clifton Hill to walk to the falls. It’s on Ferry/Victoria Avenue, just off Stanley Avenue/RR 102.
After seeing the falls, visit some other attractions in and around Niagara Falls, such as Clifton Hill, the Floral Clock, and the Butterfly Conservatory.
A boat ride to the foot of the falls with Niagara City Cruises or a trip down into the tunnels behind the falls are two other popular things to do in Niagara Falls.
Passing through Niagara-on-the-Lake is an excellent option for your return trip to Toronto.
It’s one of the most romantic towns in Ontario, with a beautifully restored historic main street full of shops and restaurants.
The bus from Toronto to Niagara Falls is the most cost-effective option. Every day, the MegaBus has one morning and one evening departure.
This option costs nearly the same as the train and bus options below, but it is approximately 40 minutes faster and more direct.
The MegaBus departs from 610 Bay Street, the downtown coach station.
The only disadvantage of taking the bus is the four-kilometer walk from the bus station to the falls.
If you don’t mind a little exercise, you can walk along pleasant paved pathways alongside the scenic Niagara Gorge.
Do you want to avoid walking? For a short trip, use a ride-sharing service or a taxi. The city bus connections to the falls could be more effective.
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By Train and Bus
GoTransit provides the train and bus combination. This option is highly convenient, with departures almost every hour.
It’s a pleasant and relaxing train ride for half the distance, followed by a coach ride for the remainder.
In Burlington, the GoTransit route requires a change from train to bus. The transition from one mode to another is only a short walk.
As previously stated, the coach portion of this trip arrives at the Niagara Falls bus station, which is four kilometers from the actual waterfall.
The GoTransit train departs from Union Station in downtown Toronto. The train/bus combo is cheaper than the MegaBus option.
From New York City to Niagara Falls
The magnificent Niagara Falls, which straddles the border between the United States and Canada, is a must-see for anyone visiting New York City.
Niagara Falls, located 400 miles from New York City, can be reached in various ways, including taking an organized tour or traveling by car, bus, train, or plane.
Niagara Falls comprises three waterfalls that cascade 167 feet into the Niagara Gorge: Horseshoe Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and American Falls, all located in Western New York.
The latter two and a portion of the Horseshoe Falls are part of Niagara Falls State Park, the state’s oldest state park.
Although the view from Canada is thought to be better, you can enjoy the splendor of 3,160 tons of water gushing over the crest every second from various vantage points on both sides of the border.
Allow yourself more than a day to enjoy the falls and leisurely explore the surrounding region.
Bring your passport or an enhanced driver’s license to walk or drive across the Rainbow Bridge.
To help you plan an unforgettable trip, here are some of the best ways to get from New York City to Niagara Falls.
To avoid the hassle of driving, take a quick plane ride from New York to Buffalo and then to Niagara Falls.
Nonstop flights from NYC area airports are available from JetBlue, United, and Delta.
The falls are about a half-hour drive from Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF).
Visitors can also fly directly to Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) and drive for approximately 90 minutes to the Canadian side of the falls.
Flying to Niagara Falls takes three to four hours each way, making it the quickest way to get to the falls.
If you fly into Buffalo, you have a few options for getting to the falls.
You can take a shuttle van, taxi, Uber, or Lyft. You can also take a public bus from the airport to the falls.
The cost is only $4, but you must take two buses and transfer to downtown Buffalo.
The journey will take approximately two hours.
If you arrive in Toronto by plane, you can take a shuttle van or a train.
The regional transportation provider, G.O. Transit operates frequent, low-cost trains to Niagara Falls.
Canada’s national rail carrier, VIA Rail, operates two direct trains daily.
The Niagara region is served by two major Amtrak lines that connect it to cities on the East Coast of the United States and Canada.
Travelers from New York City can take the Empire Service train from Penn Station in Manhattan to the Niagara Falls International Train Station and Intermodal Transportation Center.
The Empire Service train runs daily and offers Business Class and Reserved Coach Class.
The scenic ride takes about eight hours, with stops in Albany, Syracuse, Rochester, and Buffalo.
Visitors can also take Amtrak’s Maple Leaf train, which runs from New York City to Toronto and stops in Albany, Syracuse, and Niagara Falls.
The total travel time is 12.5 hours. Both trains include free, essential Wi-Fi as well as Cafe cars.
The Maple Leaf train stops in Niagara Falls, New York, and Niagara Falls, Ontario.
Take the free Discovery Niagara Shuttle from the train stations to the falls.
The Niagara Falls State Park is only a 10-minute drive from the station.
Niagara Falls State Park is open all year and features interactive exhibits, hiking trails, and dining at the top of the Falls.
The Discovery Pass at the state park allows visitors to enjoy the falls on the Maid of the Mist boat cruise.
You can also take the free Discovery Niagara Shuttle, which operates on a hop-on/hop-off basis.
The shuttle arrives directly at the train station.
The 14-mile “Falls to the Fort” route includes stops at the Niagara USA Visitor Center, Niagara ViewPoints, Old Fort Niagara, Aquarium of Niagara, and Castellani Art Museum, among other attractions.
Traveling by car allows you to stop and explore the attractions of New York State on your way to its most treasured natural wonder.
The 400-mile drive from New York City to Niagara Falls takes seven to eight hours, depending on traffic; allow extra time to cross the border if visiting the Canadian side.
Drivers can take I-80 West or I-81 N to connect with I-90 West. To avoid rush hour traffic, leave early in the morning.
Optional activities on the way to Niagara Falls include:
- Hiking in Harriman State Park (the state’s second largest park).
- Visiting the state’s largest arcade at Robot City Games.
- Stopping in Canandaigua, a charming town ideal for couples.
You can rent a car in New York City for the trip to Niagara Falls.
Hertz, Alamo, Budget, Thrifty, and Avis all have locations at the three New York City airports and throughout the city.
Non-airport locations are typically less expensive than airport locations.
Remember, most rental car agreements do not allow you to drive the car across the border into Canada, so stay on the US side.
Also, your personal car insurance may not cover you in Canada, so check your coverage before you leave.
The E-ZPass cashless toll system and the in-car device are used in New York and 19 other states.
Bring one if you have one, and if you don’t, consider purchasing one before your trip.
Most rental cars include an E-ZPass but read the rules and fees carefully before using it.
You can also take the bus from New York City to Niagara Falls. Greyhound operates a daily direct bus service between Syracuse and Buffalo.
The journey takes approximately 11 hours and includes stops at the border and the Niagara Falls bus station on the Canadian side.
The bus departs from Midtown’s Port Authority Bus Terminal.
The FlixBus departs from Midtown, near Penn Station, and arrives in downtown Niagara Falls, NY.
Both companies have buses equipped with restrooms, complimentary essential Wi-Fi, reclining seats, and the capacity to transport a large amount of luggage.
Featured Image: Niagarafallstourism.com