Horeshoe Fall from the Canadian side of the border on a sunny day with a few clouds in the sky
Seumas Christie-Johnston/Shutterstock.com

Can You Drive To Niagara Falls Canada?

Published by Dianne Titos on September 4 2023

Niagara Falls is one of the wonders of the world and one of the most popular tourist attractions. Situated in Ontario on the Canadian side, it is one of the most southern cities and the falls themselves share a border with the US.

It is possible to drive to Niagara Falls Canada. The best approach from Canada is from Toronto along the shores of Lake Ontario. The most popular approach to the falls from the US heads from Buffalo, on the banks of Lake Erie, north to Niagara Falls.

Keep on reading to discover how to drive to Niagara Falls on the Canadian side, learn some essential travel tips, and discover some of the best attractions on offer when you arrive at Niagara Falls.

Can you drive to Niagara Falls Canada?

You can drive to Niagara Falls, and the best way to do so is to drive along the Niagara Parkway, which runs parallel to the Niagara River, allowing you to follow the flow almost to the crest of the waterfall.

As you approach the falls, be wary of pedestrians who are close to the barrier and the road, looking for the best photo opportunity.

Niagara Falls on a sunny day with blue sky, photo taken from the Canadian side
The view of Niagara Falls from the Canadian side is particularly beautiful and the waterfalls can be easily accessed via driving.

You can approach the falls by car from both Canada and the US. If you are travelling from the US and wish to view the magnificent spectacle from the Canadian side, you will have to cross the border, which will be time-consuming.

The Niagara River Parkway can be reached via the Rainbow International Bridge, which spans the Niagara River Gorge, connecting the USA and Canada.

The bridge itself is close to popular attractions on the US side, including the Maid of the Mist boat tour and the Niagara Falls Observation Tower, both of which give you the most spectacular views of the falls.

The Maid of the Mist sails as close as possible to the bottom of Horseshoe Falls, and the Observation Tower offers stunning vistas over the falls and the surrounding landscape.

How to drive to Niagara Falls in Canada

Driving to Niagara Falls from Toronto is a delightful drive and takes around 2 hours and 20 minutes to cover the 140 km journey. The route begins, heading southwest along the Express toll route as you leave the harbourfront and skirt the banks of Lake Ontario, heading toward Mississauga.

You'll soon arrive at Burlington, on the shores of Lake Ontario, home to one of the largest botanical gardens in the world and well worth a visit before continuing past Burlington Beach along Queen Elizabeth Way as it crosses the Lake before heading along its southern shoreline towards St Catharines.

From here the route heads inland for the final 25km taking you southeast towards Glendale and Royal, before arriving at Niagara Falls.

The popular route to the falls from the US is from Buffalo, situated directly to the south, and only 30 minutes away along the I-190 N. Situated on the northeastern shores of Lake Erie, the drive from Buffalo runs close to the Niagara River and takes you over it along South Grand Island Bridge.

The route then takes you across Grand Island beyond Buckhorn Island State Park before crossing North Grand Island Bridge and heading west along Niagara Scenic Parkway to Niagara Falls.

Aerial view of Niagara Falls City during a winter sunset
Driving to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls will mean that you will get to explore the city of Niagara Falls during your visit.

Approaching Niagara Falls in Canada

Driving to Niagara Falls from within Canada passes quaint towns and bustling cities as you head past the delights of Toronto, Burington, and Sunnyside Beach close to the shores of Lake Ontario.

The route passes several beaches, ideal for having a picnic by the side of the Lake, and takes in some amazing scenery.

The route along the Queen Elizabeth Way does have several tolls, so ensure you have a pass or payment to hand, to minimise delays.

It is important to note the route can get congested at peak times, especially rush hour, which can add a significant amount of time to your journey. The afternoon traffic is particularly busy around Mississauga and Burlington.

How long does it take to drive to Niagara Falls Canada?

Table showing the travel times to Niagara Falls from major cities
FromDistanceTravel time
London, ON200 km2 hours 15 minutes
Ottawa, ON535 km5 hours 40 minutes
Montreal, QC690 km7 hours
Quebec City, QC935 km9 hours 20 minutes
Winnipeg, MB2,040 km21 hours
Calgary, AB3,250 km33 hours

Things you need to know about driving to Niagara Falls Canada

A trip to visit Niagara Falls is an exciting adventure, taking you to one of the most impressive feats of nature imaginable, and it's not hard to see why this natural wonder draws in millions of visitors every year.

Tourists wearing yellow waterproof tops near the falls on the Canadian side on a sunny day
Make sure to bring a waterproof top and a change of clothes if you plan to get close to the waterfalls.
Igor Sh/Shutterstock.com

Here are our top tips when it comes to preparing for a drive to Niagara Falls Canada:

  • Parking can be expensive at Niagara Falls so if you are planning on staying over, check in advance if your hotel has free parking.
  • Travelling early in the morning, and on weekdays helps to avoid the crowds. Late afternoons and weekends do get busy.
  • Try to arrive along the Niagara River Parkway. The 34-mile drive connects Fort Erie with Niagara on the Lake and is a wonderfully scenic drive with riverside views throughout.
  • If you are traveling from the US, then remember to bring your passport and any other relevant travel documentation.
  • There can be delays at the US/Canada border crossing so allow extra time for that, and remember to bring some Canadian dollars.
  • Check the weather forecast in advance of your trip. The falls can be partially frozen in winter and are impressive all year round, just make sure you dress accordingly.
  • During your visit to the falls, it is likely that you will get wet, so pack extra clothing and bring a waterproof jacket.

Things to see once you reach Niagara Falls Canada

When visiting Niagara Falls, you'll be excited to catch your first glimpse of the world-famous waterfalls, and then spend time exploring the area, discovering the variety of ways to view them, all giving a different perspective. Here are some of the best options for doing so:

  1. Hornblower Niagara Cruises - Get up close with the immense power of the falls. This boat tour will take you to the bottom of the roaring Horseshoe Falls.
  2. Journey Behind the Falls - Venture through tunnels that lead to observation decks behind the falls. See the falls from a unique perspective with the thundering water as your soundtrack.
  3. Niagara Skywheel - Take a ride on the Ferris wheel for panoramic views of the falls and the surrounding area. A popular activity at night when the falls are illuminated.
  4. Queen Victoria Park - The well-maintained park is a beautiful spot to view the falls. Walk through the gardens with lawns and flower decorations.
  5. Clifton Hill - Head here for entertainment. This lively district has attractions, restaurants, museums, and quirky activities like Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museum.
Famous Ferris wheel on a sunny day with blue sky
One of the highlights of visiting driving to Niagara Falls in Canada is the opportunity to take in the aerial views from the Niagara Skywheel.

Witnessing the power and sheer force of the gushing waters of the falls is a memorable experience. Whether you take a boat tour to the bottom of the falls, view them from an observation deck, or take one of the surrounding hiking trails and view them from a different angle, a trip to Niagara Falls is a truly unforgettable experience.