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Niagara Falls is one of Canada’s top attractions and for good reason! This incredible waterfall is easily one of the most well-known waterfalls in the country and even the world. Its sheer size is something to behold and believe me, when you see the falls in person, you’ll probably look a lot like that surprised emoji face – at least that’s how I felt!
Niagara Falls is actually made up of three different waterfalls and sits along the Canada-US border. But luckily for Canadians or anyone visiting Canada, the best views are from the Canadian side in Ontario! If you’re hoping to take a day trip, there are great Niagara Falls tour options from Toronto.
Toronto is Canada’s largest city and home to the biggest airport in the country if you happen to be flying here. There are tons of fun activities in Toronto and since it’s only around 1.5 hours from Niagara Falls, you shouldn’t miss the chance to see this world-famous waterfall.
If you’re anything like me and enjoy having someone else do the planning, the best way to visit Niagara Falls from Toronto is as part of a tour. You’ll get to see this amazing place without any of the stress of getting here – I’m looking at you Toronto traffic jams!
I’ll outline the five best tours of Niagara Falls from Toronto including the one I took to help you narrow down which one to go with!
About Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls is estimated to be around 12,000 years old – which if you can believe it is actually pretty “young” as far as huge geological features go.
Originally the falls formed with the help of melting glaciers which created the Great Lakes in the area. The rushing water from Lake Erie into Lake Ontario carved out the Niagara River and caused Niagara Falls to form.
I mentioned earlier that Niagara Falls is not just one waterfall, it’s actually three: Bridal Veil Falls, American Falls, and the largest (which is on the Canadian side) is Horseshoe Falls. When you’re looking at Niagara Falls – specifically Horseshoe Falls – you’ll probably be impressed with the power of the water. There’s enough water flowing over these falls (roughly 600,000 gallons/2.5 million liters) that it can completely fill an Olympic-sized pool in only a second!
The amount of water flowing over the falls is reduced at night though to about half of what it is during the day. Some of the water is rerouted to power generation stations in both the US and Canada from 9 pm to 8 am daily. But it’s back up to full power during those prime daytime viewing hours!
Niagara Falls sits along the Canadian-US border and can be accessed from either New York or Ontario. Without a doubt, the most impressive views are from the Ontario side, which is perfect for any tours coming from Toronto!
The falls are connected by the Rainbow Bridge. You can walk along this bridge for stunning views of the falls (or the fireworks displays!). Just be aware that if you are wanting to go to the complete other side of the falls across the bridge, you are entering a different country, so you’ll need a passport!
The best time to visit Niagara Falls, although certainly the busiest, is in the summer months between June and August. During this time you will have the warmest temperatures which is especially nice if your tour includes a cruise on the water, as the mist from the falls is chilly!
Why do a tour to Niagara Falls from Toronto?
While visiting the falls is technically free to do, we found taking a tour to be well worth it! This is especially true if you are looking to take a day trip from Toronto. You’ll need transportation to get here and if you’re not eager to deal with Toronto traffic or looking for parking, a tour that includes your ride here and back is a HUGE plus.
Also, a lot of tours include some pretty neat extras. The one we went on (#1 on our list below!) includes a cruise along the water so you can actually feel the mist from the falls. Some tours even include some amazing extras like winery tours or a helicopter flight over the falls!
While these falls are certainly impressive no matter how you choose to experience them, taking a tour really enhances the experience and makes for an unforgettable day!
Best Tours to Niagara Falls from Toronto
1. Niagara Falls Platinum Tour from Toronto
To experience some of the best the Canadian side of Niagara Falls has to offer, this Platinum Tour of Niagara Falls is our top pick. This is the tour that we took and we loved it!
The day starts with pick-up from select downtown Toronto hotels where you have a comfy ride and don’t have to worry about any transportation details – a huge plus! The guides on the bus do a great job of making the tour really fun and upbeat along with some interesting facts about the area and the falls as you drive.
We liked that the bus made a few stops along the way so we could take photos and do a bit of sightseeing. We had some time to shop and look around the cute town of Niagara on the Lake with its charming boutiques, historic buildings, and beautiful flower displays. We even had a chance to pop into a winery for a bit of wine tasting.
Then it’s time for lunch! During the fall and winter, the three-course lunch at the Table Rock House restaurant is included. This restaurant overlooks the falls, so talk about dining with a view!! In the spring and summer, you’ll have lunch at Queen Victoria Place Restaurant.
Of course, you’ll have plenty of time to admire Niagara Falls too. Besides looking at it from the normal viewpoints, this tour includes a special experience to get closer to the falls. During the summer, you’ll hop aboard the Hornblower Cruise at the base of the falls to feel the mist on your face! If you’re here and the cruise isn’t running, you’ll get to experience the Journey Behind the Falls. This lets you see the powerful water crashing down from observation decks directly behind the waterfall!
While Niagara Falls is definitely the star of the day, this tour had so many special extras we really enjoyed. Tickets are $180 CAD each and when you factor in all the experiences, we really couldn’t have done it much cheaper ourselves, and having it all planned was amazing!
To book this highly-rated tour of Niagra Falls from Toronto, head online to pick your dates!
2. Niagara Falls Day Tour from Toronto
This day trip to Niagara Falls is a bit cheaper than the previous tour we mentioned and has more freedom on the choice of activities so you can create your own itinerary!
You’ll start with pick-up at 8 am from the bus loading zone outside of Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada. The bus will get you to Niagara Falls via the Niagara Parkway which Winston Churchill once called the “Prettiest Sunday drive in the world” – so you know the scenery is nice! Depending on timing, you should have a few photos on the way including the smallest chapel in the world and the beautiful Floral Clock.
Once you arrive at Niagra Falls, you’ll have three hours of free time to explore on your own! If you’re the kind of traveler that likes to break away from the tour group experience, this is an awesome time for that.
You can grab some lunch at any of the restaurants or fast food places around and even eat with a view of the falls. If you want, you can book a cruise to get on the water, go behind the waterfall with the Journey Behind the Falls, or watch the cool 4-D film called Niagara’s Fury. You also have the chance to wander around and check out the casinos or explore the “Street of Fun” aka Clifton Hill with its arcades, mini-golf, and a Ferris Wheel.
The entire experience is $99 CAD if you opt to not have a cruise and $135 CAD if you include the 20-minute Hornblower Cruise – which we highly recommend!
Tickets for this experience are available online here through Viator.
3. Small Group Early Bird Tour of Niagara Falls from Toronto
While we love tours, a huge group tour isn’t always what we’re looking for and that’s where this small group of Niagara Falls comes in! It has a maximum of only seven people, so there’s no feeling lost in a crowd or spending time waiting around for other people.
It’s the next best thing to a private tour (which is next on our list if that’s what you’re after!). This small-group tour is called the Early Bird tour as you’ll be picked up from any hotel in downtown Toronto at 7 am. Yes, we know this is early, but it means you’ll beat other tours to the falls to get in a bit more time before the peak crowds.
This tour also includes all the top experiences at Niagara Falls already booked and arranged for you! As soon as you arrive you’ll get to see the area from above with a trip up the Skylon Tower. The views from up here are an amazing introduction to the falls and you can see them from indoor and outdoor observation decks.
Then if seeing the falls from above wasn’t cool enough, now it’s time to go behind them! A ticket to the Journey Behind the Falls experience is included where you’ll wander through tunnels to see the powerful water up close. You’ll have a stylish yellow poncho for this experience and make sure you’re prepared to get wet!
Your final stop at Niagara Falls is the iconic Hornblower Cruise. This is a fantastic way to end your time here as you get out on the water and feel the spray from the falls.
This full-day tour includes your admission fees for all these experiences and round-trip transportation from Toronto for only $307 CAD per person. That’s a good deal considering all you’re getting and the fact this is a small group tour! Because this is a small-group tour, it can fill up more quickly, so make sure to book your tickets online here!
Related Read: If you want to keep chasing waterfalls, don’t miss visiting Wells Gray Park in BC. This is known as Canada’s Waterfall Park and has over 40 waterfalls to see!
4. Private Tour: Half-Day Niagara Falls Tour From Toronto with Boat and Helicopter Rides
If you’re celebrating a special occasion or just want to feel like a total VIP, this private tour to Niagara Falls is a pretty amazing way to treat yourself! Not only will you be taken from Toronto to the falls (in a chauffeur-driven vehicle no less!) but you can add on a boat tour AND a helicopter ride!
Because it’s just your group on this tour, you can customize it how you like. There are optional stops for maple syrup or wine tastings, but really it’s up to you. Just tell your driver what you’re after and they will make it happen. Honestly, the guides here feel more like friends!
Just make sure when you book that you pick the add-ons you’re after. There’s the Hornblower Cruise past the falls (available from April to November), the scenic helicopter ride over the falls for some truly epic views, and a buffet lunch with views of Horseshoe Falls.
If you opt for absolutely everything, this tour is $799 CAD per person. But if you just want the boat ride and no lunch or helicopter ride, tickets drop to $479 CAD each. You’ll need a minimum of two people for this tour too.
If treating yourself to a deluxe private tour is in the cards, then book your day and time online here!
5. Exclusive Private Tour to Niagara Falls from Toronto
Another option if you’re after a tour you can customize for just you and your family or friends is this Exclusive Private Tour to Niagara Falls. It’s actually a really good value too at $999 CAD total for 2-3 people or $1,099 CAD for up to 6 people.
The cost includes private transportation from your Toronto hotel with a driver who knows the area so well. We love local guides like this who give you little tidbits and stories about the area as you drive – it makes the time just fly by!
You can choose to add on a Niagara boat cruise or trip up the Skylon Tower (depending on the season) where you’ll have skip-the-line access which is a huge bonus. There’s also an optional private wine tasting at a Niagara vineyard after you’ve had your fill of the incredible views of the falls.
This tour is a great way to travel in style and choose your own adventure on what your Niagara Falls experience will be. If you reserve online here, you also have the option to book now and pay later as well as cancel if your plans change.
Related Read: If you’re looking for more tours that will show you the beauty of Canada, these are the best guided tours of the Canadian Rockies!
Why We Book Tours with Viator
Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! We almost always book our tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:
- Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
- Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
- Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
- Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.
Check out the Viator website here!
Is Visiting Niagara Falls from Toronto worth it?
In short YES! A trip to Niagara Falls is guaranteed to impress.
These waterfalls are awe-inspiring to look at whether you are just on the main boardwalk, cruising at the base of the falls, walking behind the falls, or flying above them. The sheer power of these falls is something you have to see to believe. Not only are the waterfalls a major attraction, but the city around them (Niagara on the Lake) also offers a ton of great restaurants, hotels, casinos, and activities to keep you entertained.
I highly recommend joining a Niagara Falls tour from Toronto so you can have a front-row seat to see this incredible place!
Where to Stay in Toronto
With so many great tours to Niagara Falls from Toronto, it means you can stay right in the city and explore Toronto before or after you get your tour. But let’s face it, Toronto is massive with almost endless hotel options.
You’ll want a hotel with a good location and even better amenities, so with that in mind, I’ve picked out some of the best places to stay in Toronto. All of these hotels have central locations close to the best sights and everything you could want for a comfortable vacation!
Radisson Blu Downtown Toronto (Luxury Stay – $$$)
The Radisson Blue Downtown Toronto is one of the most luxurious hotels in downtown Toronto. This trendy hotel features a rooftop patio complete with a pool that you can enjoy in the summer. You’ll also find a fitness center and top-rated restaurant onsite. The hotel offers a variety of rooms to choose from, including the most luxurious king studio boasting an amazing view of the city. Prices start from $350 CAD per night in the low season, but get much higher in the summer. You can check prices, availability and book the Radisson Blu online here!
The SoHo Hotel (Moderately-priced Boutique Hotel – $$)
The SoHo Hotel is an excellent choice for anybody looking for a centrally located hotel that is just stunning. This hotel is located only a short walk from attractions like the CN Tower, and it also has plenty of nice facilities including a lap pool and fitness center. Oh, and did I mention the rooms have heated bathroom floors?! The SoHo is one of the highest-rated hotels in Toronto, so be sure to book online here well in advance to secure your room.
One King West Hotel and Residences (Moderately-priced Full Apartments – $$)
If you’re looking for a home away from home, then One King West Hotel and Residences might be the best choice for you. Although a hotel, this property features fully self-contained apartments complete with a kitchen. This is perfect if you like to cook some of your own meals. On top of that, the location is ideal and you’ll also find a fitness center and onsite bar and restaurant. You can check availability and book online here.
Town Inn Suites Hotel (Budget Hotel – $)
You don’t have to spend a small fortune to stay in Toronto. If you’re on a tighter budget, Town Inn Suites Hotel is the best choice for you. Starting from only $170 CAD per night (in the low seasons), this centrally located hotel is tastefully decorated and features plenty of amenities. Rooms also feature a kitchenette, which comes in very handy. You can check prices and secure your room online here.
Samesun Toronto (Budget Hostel – $)
The Samesun Toronto is the perfect choice for backpackers or solo travelers wanting to meet others. The hostel has a great location as well as communal spaces (including a huge kitchen) where you can relax. They offer both dorm beds as well as budget private rooms, but bathrooms are all shared. You can grab a dorm bed for less than $100 CAD per night during peak season. You can book the Samesun Toronto online on either Booking.com or Hostelworld.
Other Things to do While You’re in Toronto
Toronto is a city filled with tons of things to do and see. So before (or after!) your trip to Niagara Falls, take some time to explore some of the other top attractions and activities:
- Check out the view from the CN Tower -The tallest building in the city and all of Canada, heading up the CN Tower is a must! The main observation deck is on the 33rd floor and if you’re feeling brave, there’s a glass floor or the Edgewalk that takes you outside to walk high above Toronto! General admission is $43 CAD.
- Eat great food! – With so many different cultures and restaurants, Toronto is a foodie heaven! Miku Toronto is considered the best sushi restaurant in the city with a big outdoor patio and a happy hour (3-4 pm) with great discounts. We also enjoyed this walking food tour to help us try a variety of tasty dishes from butter tarts to pierogies to maple syrup and the chance to explore the iconic St. Lawrence Market.
- Visit the Toronto Islands – These are 15 different islands all connected with bridges and walkways. They are full of beaches, cycling paths, and even an amusement park! You can explore on your own after catching a Toronto ferry or you can take this evening bike tour to see the Toronto skyline at sunset and enjoy dessert at a Toronto Island cafe.
- Go sailing – For a unique cruise, climb aboard a 1930s schooner with this Toronto tall ship cruise. You’ll help the crew raise the sails for the journey from Toronto Harbor to Lake Ontario. There are panoramic views to take in and kids love when the crew fires the ship’s canyon! Tickets are available online for only $43 CAD and cheaper for kids.
- Watch a hockey game – Hockey is HUGE all over Canada, so taking in an NHL game while you’re here is sure to be a fun night. While I’m a diehard Oilers fan, the Toronto Maple Leaf are the home team here and the atmosphere is a lot of fun. Tickets range from $150 – $350 CAD and you can buy tickets on Viator. If it isn’t hockey season, pop into the Hockey Hall of Fame instead to see the famous Stanley Cup!
Travel Insurance is more important than ever right now!
If you’re traveling during these uncertain times, be sure that you have travel insurance!
SafetyWing is our go-to insurance when we are going on longer trips. They offer travel medical insurance that’s super affordable (only $42 USD per 4 weeks!) and even have coverage in case you get that dreaded c-word. The only thing to note is that the insurance must be purchased once you’ve left your home country – we typically buy it as soon as we land at the airport.
We’ve personally used SafetyWing for many different trips, and we’ve been reimbursed for countless expenses when we’ve fallen ill. SafetyWing even covered our flights back to Canada in full when the pandemic first happened (when last-minute flights before the borders closed were super expensive!)
It’s safe to say that travel insurance has saved us thousands over the years!
Thanks for reading!
Visiting Niagara Falls in person was so much more impressive than I could have expected. I love waterfalls, but the magnitude of these falls took me by surprise. As it’s only a couple of hours away from Toronto, I highly recommend booking a day trip to Niagara Falls while you’re staying nearby.
I hope this blog helped you find a Niagara Falls tour from Toronto that works for your trip! You definitely don’t want to miss out. If you need more inspiration for your travels, check out our other blogs about Canada including these popular ones below:
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