We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

advice about a day trip to Niagara from Toronto

Level Contributor
3 posts
7 reviews
Save Topic
advice about a day trip to Niagara from Toronto

We are planning to stay 2 nights in Toronto this August as part of a family holiday visiting friends. We would like advice on the easiest way to travel to and from Niagara in order to see a view of the Falls and possibly the Maid in the Mist tour. We would prefer being independent than going on a coach tour, and do have the option of a hired car. If we drive, as opposed to taking a bus, where could we park and is this difficult? I would imagine we would only have 4 or 5 hours in Niagara.

Scenic Tours of Niagara
Sightseeing Tours, Private Tours
Magnificent Tours of Niagara Falls
Boat Tours, Sightseeing Tours, Wine Tours & Tastings , Bus Tours, Day Trips
King Tours
Sightseeing Tours, Nature & Wildlife Tours
Wheelz Niagara
City Tours, Sightseeing Tours, Day Trips, Wine Tours & Tastings , Taxis & Shuttles
Montreal, Canada
Destination Expert
for Quebec, Montreal, Quebec City, Mont Tremblant, Miami, Miami Beach
Level Contributor
12,586 posts
58 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: advice about a day trip to Niagara from Toronto

Parking will really depend on the time of the day, same for the queues at Maid of the Mist. So what I suggest is that you get a car rental (not car hire in Canada) very early (yes 6 am or so or the night before if you don't mind paying for a parking in To), drive and try to find a spot that is not too far. Until 8h30 am it might be doeable. the only problem with parkings in Niagara is that they are very expensive. So then head for the Maid and then walk trough the parkland to have different vistas and possibly take the elevators to go to the bottom of the falls..

Then hop on the car and drive on the panoramic parkway to reach Niagara-on-the-Lake that is absolutely charming and worth a stop + it might have much more interresting lunch possibilities. Again ouch for parking. Then you can make a stop at one of the wineries around while driving back to Toronto.

Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
13,856 posts
47 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: advice about a day trip to Niagara from Toronto

Hi PashleyGroup,


And I see that this is your first post in the TA FORUMS… so a BIG Welcome Aboard as well !!

A Day Trip (or longer) to Niagara Falls is for many a MUST DO when in Southern Ontario… and by far the best way to do so is with a Rental Car… Motorcoach Tours are VERY EXPEN$IVE and offer usually not much more than Transportation, while public transit options (Train or Bus) won’t give you the flexibility to see the whole of the Niagara Region… as there is so much more here than “just” The Falls.

Rental Cars are easy enough to arrange either from Toronto… or just once you arrive in Niagara Falls (a common alternative… as some Travellers don’t wish to tackle the traffic found in and around Toronto).

Parking is certainly an issue in Niagara Falls around The Falls Gorge… there is just a limited supply in the parkland, and up along the top of The Escarpment. And it is EXPENSIVE. Two ways that Travellers have success saving a bit of money, is to either park at the Lot near the IMAX Theatre… or to use one of the Niagara Parks Commission’s FREE Lots (ie such as the one at the Butterfly Conservatory) and then choose to get around via the PeopleMovers. This can certainly be a good option… as things along the Niagara River Gorge are extremely spread out (aprox 1 Mile = 1.6 Kms from Table Rock at the Brink of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls to the Rainbow Bridge / Base of Clifton Hill area)… so no matter how you manage with Parking, you’ll end up doing a lot of walking no matter what… a Day Pass on the PeopleMovers can make hopping on and off an pleasant option !!

The PeopleMovers also go as far down the Niagara River Parkway as Queenston Heights Park (Brock Monument area)... a distance of about 12 Kms from Table Rock. And they have convenient stops along the Niagara River Gorge and the various Niagara Parks Commission Attractions.

Niagara Parks Commission = www.niagaraparks.com

I suggest that you consult the NIAGARA FALLS TRAVEL PAGES here on TA along with their TRAVEL FORUM for more info… you might want to look at also purchasing the Niagara Parks Commission Adventure Package (entry to 4 major attractions… Niagara Fury – Journey Behind the Falls – Maid of the Mist – and White River Walk… along with 2 Days unlimited use of the PeopleMover and the Incline Railway). Even if you only visit for one day, it can still be a good value… so something to consider.

As my colleague RICKB has suggested you’ll surely want to check out Historic Niagara-on-the-Lake either enroute to or from Toronto (NOTL is farther along the Niagara River Gorge… 25 Kms North of The Falls… where the Rivers flows into Lake Ontario).

There is a fee for Parking in NOTL, but it isn’t nearly as prohibitive as most options in NF. For the most part it is either meters or pay & display for both on-street and city lots.

When planning out your visit… you’ll want to learn more about NOTL and the rest of the Niagara Region (one of Ontario’s greatest “gems”)… so be sure and check out the NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE TRAVEL PAGES and TRAVEL FORUM as well.



PS… 4 or 5 Hours for the Niagara Region is really a short amount of time (as a true Destination in its own right 2 to 4 Days is sort of the norm)… so like RICKB, I am going to say you’ll want to make an early start out of Toronto for the aprox 2 Hour Drive. Personally, I’d stay as late as possible… so as to also be able to take in the Nightly Illuminations… they truly are spectacular, before heading back to TO.

Ontario, Canada
Level Contributor
378 posts
39 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: advice about a day trip to Niagara from Toronto

I would say It is about a 90 minute drive depending on traffic and time of day/week you go from downtown Toronto to Niagara Falls. Best way to do it is to drive yourself. It is a very easy drive along the QEW highway.

"Free" parking can be found at the Fallsview Casino, which is right across from the horseshoe falls. You can park in the large indoor parking garage, walk through the casino and sign up for a players card at guest services. Then put the players card into a slot machine, throw a few dollars into it and show some action on the card. When you leave the garage, you insert your players card into the parking garage machine at exit and you can leave the garage! You can easily walk down to the falls. Otherwise, parking is $5. However I prefer to put my $5 into a slot and maybe win some money along the way!

There is a large public parking lot along the main strip/road along the falls. Clifton Hill is a fun touristy area to walk along (although a bit of a trek from the Horseshoe falls, but lots of fun.

Edited: 14 February 2011, 21:53
York, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
1,381 posts
108 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: advice about a day trip to Niagara from Toronto

it is years since I was at the falls but remember it was in Feb and only 3 other people were there so I guess we were lucky . We ate at the restaurant which turns 360degrees in an hour. so you got a birds eye view of the falls and some wonderful photos. Also we were told to go to the whirlpool down stream .it was very scary when you see great trunks of trees whipping round like twigs

5. Re: advice about a day trip to Niagara from Toronto

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 20 February 2012, 06:16