If you’re visiting Toronto, have you included a day trip to the Ontario side of Niagara Falls? After all, the falls are among the world’s most famous natural landmarks and just a few hours from Canada’s largest city. What’s more, there are many ways to get there, whether it’s by public transportation, rental car or organized tour. At the same time, you’ll be able to see one of nature’s most spectacular attraction while marking this destination off your bucket list. That’s to say nothing of the fact that the Ontario side has far more attractions than its American counterpart across the border. Therefore, without any further delay, learn how you can take an unforgettable day trip from Toronto to Niagara Falls, Ontario.
How to Get to Niagara Falls, Ontario
There is no question that driving to Niagara Falls is the fastest way to get there from Toronto. In fact, you can get there in about 80 minutes under normal traffic conditions. However, the key is to leave Toronto early enough to avoid the bulk of the morning commute. In the first place, you’ll be driving from one of the most congested cities in North America. That’s to say nothing avoiding the afternoon commute on your daytrip. In case you are driving, make sure to avoid the afternoon commute, particularly from 3 p.m. to about 6 p.m.
There are a handful of bus companies that offer service between Toronto and Niagara Falls, Ontario. Of these companies, your best option is FlixBus, with several departures starting at CAD $9.99. FlixBus departs from the Toronto Union Station bus terminal and arrives at the Flixbus station in Niagara Falls. However, there are other bus companies to consider to Niagara Falls, Ontario, including Megabus, Greyhound and Trailways. Please note there are different bus stations in Niagara Falls, Ontario. For instance, Greyhound, Megabus and Trailways arrives at the Niagara Falls Transit Terminal. On the other hand, FlixBus has its own transit stop about 2.5 miles south of the transit terminal.
Taking a tour bus from Toronto is perhaps the simplest way to enjoy a day trip to Niagara Falls. For one, you’ll be traveling in a group and led by a tour guide. For another, it takes a lot of guesswork out of your day trip planning. What’s more, these tour operators can pick you up at your downtown hotel or a different spot that’s nearby. Moreover, these guided bus tours also allow you free time to spend on your own Niagara Falls day trip and some include a scenic boat tour. Among the leading tour businesses operating from Toronto are Airlink, Gray Line, Niagara Day Tour and Queen Tour.
GO Transit offers the most frequent train service between Toronto and Niagara Falls, Ontario. However, most of the Union Station departures requires you to make a transfer to a bus at the Burlington GO station. From Burlington, the GO bus route 12 will then transport you to the Niagara Falls bus terminal across from the train station. However, when you are planning your trip online, you can select the “train only” trip option and choose your direct trip. VIA Rail Canada also offers train service between Union Station and Niagara Falls train station. However, there is only one morning departure and only one afternoon return trip.
How to Get Around Niagara Falls, Ontario
If you’re not traveling by car or with a tour group, there are many ways to get around. The most affordable option is with the local public bus operator Niagara Region Transit. A single fare for those 13 years old and over is Can$ 3 and a day pass is Can$ 7.25. However, another option is WEGO, with three color-coded routes that serve the tourist areas. Although the price is higher at Can$ 12 for a day pass, WEGO buses run more frequently than the public transit. On the other hand, you can’t purchase a WEGO day pass online, unless you have an option with your GO Transit purchase. In addition, there are rideshare services like Uber and Lyft and taxi services in Niagara Falls.
Packaged Ticket Offers
Many of the local attractions are managed by Niagara Parks, including Journey Behind the Falls and Niagara’s Fury 4-D film. However, these package deals are more practical on a two-day visit, rather than a day trip. Nevertheless, any of these packaged offers are worth your consideration if you like its convenience. Any of these offers is coupled with a 2-day WEGO bus pass, making it even more appealing.
Suggested Things to Do in Niagara Falls, Ontario
4960 Clifton Hill
Niagara Falls, ON L2G 3N4 Canada
Depending upon how much time you will spend on your daytrip, Clifton Hill might be a fun place to see. This is especially true if you’re traveling with children. Located in Queen Victoria Park, Clifton Hill is an admission-amusement park with several attractions. For instance there are arcade games, a miniature golf course and racetrack, a wax museum and the Niagara Skywheel. You can purchase individual ride tickets or a combined pass for six rides or attractions. A paid parking lot is onsite, as are dining options like Kelsey’s Restaurant and Tim Hortons.
Fallsview Tourist Area
5305 Murray St.
Niagara Falls, ON L2G 3W6, Canada
While the three waterfalls are the primary draw, Fallsview Boulevard is the entertainment center of the city. In fact, you can find many attractions here, including Fallsview Casino, Fallsview Indoor Waterpark and the 520-foot-tall Skylon Tower. Of the many things to do in the Fallsview area, Skylon Tower is your top choice on your daytrip. Not only can you get a 360-degree view of Niagara Falls from its observation deck, you can also dine in its Revolving Dining Room. What’s more, if you decide to dine at Skylon Tower, admission to the observation deck is free. Of course, there are many more things to do in Fallsview, such as a fun zone, Avalon Theatre and casual or upscale dining.
Niagara City Cruises
5920 Niagara River Parkway
Niagara, Falls, ON L2E 6X8, Canada
If a boat tour of the Niagara Falls is part of your daytrip, then stop by Niagara City Cruises by Hornblower. After all, a closeup look of the Falls is the top thing to do, whether you’re on the Ontario or New York side. Just a short walk from Clifton Hill, Niagara City Cruises has several daily boat departures year round Each of the 20-minute trips will provide you with breathtaking views of the American, Bridal Veil and Canadian Horseshoe Falls. If that’s not enough, you’ll also see the Niagara Gorge and depending upon your departure time, a have a full or light mist experience. You can book your reservation in advance and tickets are CAD $32.75 for adults and CAD $22.75 for children ages 3-12.
Table Rock Centre
6650 Niagara River Parkway
Niagara Falls, ON L2E 6T2, Canada
Overlooking Goat Island on the American side, Table Rock is likely the most prominent of the local welcome centers in Niagara Falls. A popular local destination whose history dates to 1827, it features an observation area, retail and dining and a major attraction. In detail, that attraction is Journey Behind the Falls, featuring spectacular waterfall views from a lower deck that’s near the brink of Horseshoe Falls. But there’s more to see while you’re at the Table Rock Welcome Centre. For example, there are retail shops, a restaurant, Niagara’s Fury 4-D movie and the Falls Incline Railway funicular that connects you to the Fallsview Tourist Area. Incidentally, Table Rock Centre is a short walk from the FlixBus stop.
Whirlpool Aero Car
3850 Niagara River Parkway
Niagara Falls, ON L2E 3E8, Canada
If you’re a thrill-seeker, you might want to try WildPlay’s Zipline to the Falls on your day trip. However, you shouldn’t overlook an alternative trip on the historic Whirlpool Aero Car that transports you across the Niagara River and its natural whirlpool. While most other attractions are in the heart of the city, Whirlpool Aero Car is north of the train station in the Silvertown neighborhood. Nevertheless, the chance to hover 3,500 feet above the Niagara Gorge is worth your consideration. A ride on the Aero Car is CAD $17.50 for adults and CAD $11.50 for children ages 3-12. Of course, this attraction is a option in the Niagara Falls Pass for CAD $79.
About the Author
Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer who served as the National Travel Writer for CBS from 2012-2019. More than 900 stories still appear in syndication across over 20 CBS websites, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco. During his peak years with CBS, Randy had a digital audience reach of 489 million and 5.5 million monthly visitors. Additionally, his stories have appeared in the Daily Meal, CBS News, CBS Radio, Engadget, NBC.com, NJ.com and Radio.com. He earned a Media Fellowship from Stanford University in 2012. Randy has nearly 25 years of experience in the transportation industry.