Niagara Falls is easily accessible by car and train from Toronto. VIA Rail and GO (summer only) trains serve Niagara Falls, both stopping at the main rail station, not far from the falls. The nearest airports are in Toronto, Hamilton, and Buffalo, New York. It is possible to use public transportation and cabs to get around, but a car is more flexible and is recommended. There is no public transport between Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake, 20 km (12 miles) north.
The four- to eight-lane Queen Elizabeth Way—better known as the QEW—runs from the U.S. border at Fort Erie through the Niagara region to Toronto.
First Things First
Start at the Table Rock Centre (6650 Niagara Pkwy., about 500 meters south of Murray Hill) for a close-up of Horseshoe Falls. Here you can buy a Niagara Parks Great Gorge Adventure Pass, tickets for the WEGO buses, and do the Journey Behind the Falls and Niagara's Fury. At the end of the WEGO line, it's easy to hop aboard and do all the falls-front sights in a northward direction. Starting with the Maid of the Mist or a Jet Boat Tour when you arrive is also a good way to get your feet wet—literally.
In Niagara Falls, parking prices increase closer to the falls. It can be triple the price to park along the Niagara Parkway (C$15/day) than it is up the hill near Victoria Street (usually C$5/day). If you park up top, know that the walk down to the falls is a steep one. You might want to take a taxi back up, or hop aboard the Falls Incline Railway, a funicular that operates between the Table Rock Centre and Portage Road behind the Konica Minolta Tower. The trip takes about one minute and costs C$2.50 (day passes are available for C$6).
Available year-round, climate-controlled WEGO buses travel on a loop route on the Niagara Parkway between the Table Rock Centre and the Whirlpool Aero Car parking lot (9 km [6 miles] north) and as far north as Queenston Heights Park, 15 km (9 miles) downriver. A day pass, available from Welcome Centres and at any booth on the system, is C$7 per person per day (get the second day free from late October to mid-April). You can get on and off as many times as you wish at well-marked stops along the route, and buses pick up frequently (every 20 minutes).
Everyone—including children and U.S. citizens—must have a passport or other approved travel document (e.g. a New York State–issued "enhanced" driver's license) to enter the United States. Go to the Department of Homeland Security website (www.dhs.gov) for the latest information. Avoid crossing the border at high-traffic times, especially Friday and Saturday nights. The Canada Border Agency and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection list border wait times into Canada and into the U.S., respectively, online at www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/bwt-taf and apps.cbp.gov/bwt. Crossings are at the Peace Bridge (Fort Erie, ON–Buffalo, NY), the Queenston–Lewiston Bridge (Queenston, ON–Lewiston, NY), and the Rainbow Bridge (Niagara Falls, ON–Niagara Falls, NY).