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Niagara Falls Waterfall

  • Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

  • Bucket List Experience

Last updated: 06 February, 2024

You hear the Falls long before you see them: the roaring cascade of water plummeting down a 50m gorge at a rate of millions of litres per second. The world’s second-largest – but arguably most famous – waterfall is jaw-dropping in its scale and intensity.

They were formed around 12,000 years ago, at the end of the Ice Age, when large torrents of water were suddenly released from the melting ice. The water plunged over the edge of the Niagara Escarpment, draining into the Niagara River. There are three separately identifiable waterfalls, from largest to smallest: the Horseshoe Falls (also known as the Canadian Falls), the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls.

The roadside viewpoints offer prime viewing, but there are several other great ways to experience the Falls. Boat trips take you right up to the torrent, and into the foaming spray. Spectacular short helicopter flights offer a unique panoramic view of the scale and surrounding scenery (nervous flyers should head to the top of the nearby Skylon Tower instead).

You can also descend down via old tunnels to extraordinary viewpoints and caves behind the Falls themselves.

While you're there

If you’ve time after visiting the Falls, drive two miles upriver to the secluded White Water Walk, a quarter-mile boardwalk along the Niagara River, offering a front-row view of the tempestuous Whirlpool Rapids. Many visitors also take in the charming town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, an ideal base for wine tasting at some of Canada’s oldest and most famous vineyards.

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 4+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

Niagara Falls International Airport, on the US side, is a short taxi ride. On the Canadian side, tt’s an hour’s drive from Toronto airport. Alternatively, the daily train service from Toronto’s Union Station takes about 2 hours and deposits you just moments from the Falls.

There’s free parking at the Visitor’s Centre.  The Falls are free to view, 24/7, from the public platforms.

The Canadian side of the falls – more powerful than the American – is probably the better side from which to experience them, but both offer a wide range of (fantastic) experiences. Boat tours run all day from around 8.30am-11.30pm, except in winter (at night time, the falls are illuminated with multi-coloured lighting). US-side cruises are run on the ‘Maid of the Mist‘, while Canadian-side cruises are run by Hornblower. Helicopter flights operate from both.

The Canadian side offers a ‘Journey behind the Falls’ experience, a 125-foot descent into 130-year-old tunnels to a special observation deck behind the falls. On the US side, you take an elevator down to the ‘Cave of the Winds’ – for fall-side viewing platforms.

When to do it

The Falls are most powerful after the spring thaw – May to July. Crowds are heaviest during July and August, but the site is so large, there is always plenty of space. Viewing platforms are open daily all year round, but in winter boat tours don’t run.

Who to go with: organised tours

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Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

Niagara Falls in 1 Day: Tour of American and Canadian Sides

  • Niagara Falls

Don't let the border stop you from experiencing all of Niagara Falls' glory! On this deluxe 6-hour tour, visit top Niagara Falls attractions on both the Ontario side and the New York side. Take a ride on the famous 'Maid of the Mist' boat, view the falls from atop Skylon Tower, feel the falls’ thunder at the Cave of the Winds and much more. All attraction fees, admission fees, hotel transfers and road tolls are included!

Price $190

Min age 0

Rating 4.93 / 5 [5023 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Niagara Falls Canadian Side Tour and Maid of the Mist Boat Ride Option

  • Niagara Falls

While you're visiting Niagara Falls, take a morning or afternoon tour of the spectacular attractions on the Canadian side of the Falls. Highlights include an exhilarating ride aboard the famous Maid of the Mist boat at the base of the majestic Horseshoe Falls, and a trip up the Skylon Tower for a bird's-eye view of the Niagara region. Please note: The Maid of the Mist portion of this tour departs from the US side of Niagara Falls. All customers booking this tour must have appropriate documentation to enter the United States and Canada.

Price $160

Min age 0

Rating 4.78 / 5 [2830 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Niagara Falls Day Tour from Toronto

  • Toronto

Enjoy a day trip from Toronto to Niagara Falls that includes stops at Niagara Falls, the Floral Clock (seasonal), the Niagara Whirlpool, and a viewpoint overlooking the Niagara River. You'll travel aboard a modern coach and have a minimum of three hours in Niagara Falls to explore independently. Tours are conducted by licensed Niagara Parks Commission Tour Guides, so you'll learn interesting information with commentary given throughout the day. On the day of the tour, you have the option to purchase a Niagara Hornblower City cruise up the Niagara River to the base of Niagara Falls. You will also have the option to go up the Skylon Tower giving amazing views overlooking Niagara Falls from above.

Price CA$99

Min age 0

Rating 4.78 / 5 [2247 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Best of Niagara Falls Canada Small Group w/Boat & Behind Falls

    Your first stop is Skylon Tower, you’ll head up 520 ft. in a glass elevator to the observation deck where you will be treated to an incredible, birds-eye view of all three Niagara Falls, the Niagara River & surrounding area. At your next stop you will descend 125 ft to explore cave-like tunnels at Journey Behind the Falls. This experience is a treat for the senses as you’ll be able to not only hear the falls, but feel them as well. Next jump aboard the Niagara City Cruises Voyage To The Falls Boat Tour (seasonal, operating Apr-Nov. only, replaced with Niagara's Fury & Butterfly Conservatory from Dec.-Apr.). You will sail around the Niagara gorge, get as close as possible to the Falls and feel the refreshing mist. During the final portion of your tour, your guide will take you on a narrated driving tour of the city. Your guide will take you to several points of interest including the Dufferin Islands, the International Control Dam, the Old Scow, Whirlpool Rapids and the Floral Clock

    Price CA$219

    Min age 0

    Rating 4.81 / 5 [1981 ratings]

    Tour supplied by:

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    Niagara Falls Day Tour From Toronto with Skip-the-Line Attraction

    • Toronto

    Enjoy a small-group tour of Niagara Falls with a licensed tour guide in a comfortable air-conditioned minibus or van. Pick-up is available from central hotels and locations in Downtown Toronto and Mississauga. Depart between 7:45 - 8:20 AM and return by 5:30 PM for an evening event in the city. Arrive in Niagara Falls at 10 AM. Enjoy extra free time in Niagara Falls with about 4 hours to maximize your trip. This includes time for sightseeing at the Horseshoe Falls, 1-2 optional attractions and the iconic Clifton Hill strip. Optional attractions include a boat tour in the summer and Journey Behind the Falls and Niagara's Fury in the winter. Get lunch at a local restaurant or have a picnic by the waterfalls. Next, enjoy some special local treats with maple syrup and chocolate fudge tasting! You can also shop for local souvenirs here. Continue your travels with a scenic drive across the Niagara Parkway. Stop and take photos at iconic landmarks such as the whirlpool and floral clock.

    Price CA$112

    Min age 0

    Rating 4.78 / 5 [1115 ratings]

    Tour supplied by:

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