There are a few ways to see the lovely Niagara Falls. You can visit the U.S side which is closest to Buffalo, NY but also a short drive from Detroit, Michigan and Cleveland, Ohio. Most people recommend a visit to the Canadian side. I chose to go to the Canadian side because the flights to Buffalo cost as much as Toronto flights and since I’ve not been to Toronto, I wanted to get two trips for the price of 1.
I researched various methods that included the train, tour, and bus:
-Bus Options: Megabus about 47 CAD Roundtrip
Greyhound: about 44CAD roundtrip, 1.5-hour ride each way
-Train. The Go Train offers direct service and an extension to visit the Niagara on the lake but only on the weekend. This trip can range from $30-$40
The train and the bus can take around 2 hours each way.
Toronto to Niagara Falls Road Trip
After considering these options, I decided to be adventurous and rent a car for what can be around 1.5-hour drive with traffic. I used Enterprise due to my company’s discount for employees leisure travel and because they could pick us up with our luggage as we stayed overnight in Niagara. When weighing renting a car vs. public transportation be sure to include the cost to park as most areas in the main area of Niagara including the hotels charge for parking. Also be sure to factor in the gas, we used about half a tank in an Intermediate car (Hyundai Elantra or similar) roughly about 200 miles and was charged about 58 CAD for gas. The gas costed more than the car for one day.
From the rental place at Simcoe Place, we took QEW (Queen Elizabeth Way) towards the West all the way to Niagara. Make sure your GPS doesn’t take you on highway 407 because that is a toll highway. Be sure to download your maps and Spotify playlist for offline use while on the highway so that you don’t exhaust your wireless data plan during the road trip.
In addition to the Falls, many people like to visit the Niagara on the Lake wine region that has over 30 wineries. We made this our first stop so that we would not have to leave the area of the hotel when arriving.
We toured one winery but I think if you have more time check out tours that include multiple wineries.
Our tour included learning the history of the winery as well as the process. Our tour guide Corey did a great job in explaining the process and I learned a lot.
The tour concluded in the 10 below Ice lounge to taste Peller Estates’ Icewine. Icewine is a dessert wine that is produced from grapes that are frozen while still on the vine. Canada is one of the largest producers of Icewine and Germany is another producer of Icewine.
Niagara Hotel-Sheraton on The Falls
We stayed at the Sheraton on the Falls which was within walking distance from the falls.
This hotel was very busy. It provided a view of the falls or the strip. The rooms are a little outdated, our room had a mildew like odor and noticeable cracks. It wasn’t the worst room but for 10,000 SPG points, I expected a little more. There are a resort fee and an additional fee for parking.
Our next stop included the Hornblower Niagara cruise. I enjoyed riding into the mist on the double-decker boat. Ponchos were included in the ticket price and my waterproof purse and waterproof GoPro housing allowed me to capture great footage. The day cruise costs about $27 US and leaves every 15 mins. I purchased my ticket ahead of time to avoid a line for ticket purchase. This company offers an evening cruise to see the falls lit up with various colors for a different fee.
After the cruise, changing and a little rest we headed up to Clinton Hill for dinner. There are a ton of restaurants and bars and the strip reminded me of a very slow Vegas. There are even arcades, go-karts a Ferris wheel and more for kids and kids at heart. After, we headed to Fallsview Casino where I was unlucky. I made sure not to convert too much cash at the casino so I wouldn’t lose much converting back if I decided not to play as much.
The next morning I did some souvenir shopping at the top of the hill and stopped by Hershey World for treats. I was a kid in the candy store, literally.
After checking out of the hotel we headed to the Outlet Collection on 300 Taylor Road at the Niagara on the Lake exit, which was on the way back to Toronto. There were a ton of deals and shops that I liked, I needed more time! The Gap outlet offered a discount since I am a U.S. resident. Be sure to try on everything because you can’t return items purchased in Canada to a store in the States.
I really enjoyed my road trip to Niagara. I would love to go back and spend more time! The summer has a lot of crowds so expect peak prices for rooms and lines. If you aren’t interested in planning your own trip, you may check out tour package from Toronto here. Check out more top attractions in Niagara by clicking here.
What is your favorite part about Niagara or your favorite Canadian road trip? Comment below!
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Although I received a complimentary tour from Peller Estates, all views and opinions are my own.