When it comes to visiting Niagara Falls, knowing the key times to visit is key to a successful trip. The best time to visit Niagara Falls depends which side of the border you want to visit, and whether you want to see rushing waters or semi-frozen falls.
It’s no secret how overwhelmingly busy it can get at certain times of the year. As Covid-19 continues to spread across the globe, avoiding crowds is a priority for the majority of people.
Additionally, the type of traveller you are will determine when the best time of year to visit is for you.
So what really is the best time to visit Niagara Falls?
Firstly, let’s cover some background info – just for fun. But also so that you don’t look dumb when you rock up and learn that Niagara Falls straddles two countries. Canada and the United States. On the Canadian side, it sits about an hour and a half from Toronto, Ontario. On the US side, the Falls are less than a half-hour from Buffalo, New York.
Unfortunately, the Canada-US border remains closed due to Covid-19 right now so your visit may be restricted to the side you’re already on. Just to bear in mind.
Niagara Falls sits on the Niagara River which connects Lake Erie to Lake Ontario (two of the five Great Lakes). It’s comprised of three waterfalls, from largest to smallest – the Horseshoe Falls (also known as the Canadian Falls), the American Falls, and the Bridal Veil Falls.
Best Time to Visit Niagara Falls by Season
Obviously visiting Niagara Falls in the summer versus in the winter will be polar opposite experiences. From both weather and financial points of view. Therefore we’ve broken it out by season, with all the pros and cons, so you can decide for yourself.
Visiting Niagara Falls in Spring (March 1 – May 31)
Generally speaking, spring is perfect for the tourist who doesn’t mind cooler weather and appreciates fewer crowds as a reward. Snowfall can continue well into April. While some attractions may be unavailable or restricted, the semi-frozen Niagara Falls are a truly unique sight to behold. So brave the elements and prepare yourself for a truly special spectacle.
Attractions and tours reopen at the end of April/start of March. Tourism then increases in May moving into the summer months as the weather warms up nicely.
Visiting Niagara Falls in Summer (June 1 – August 31)
Tourism peaks June, July, and August as many people consider summertime the best time to visit Niagara Falls. You get to enjoy the beautiful weather and the charming local towns that come alive.
If you’re someone who doesn’t mind crowds in the slightest then you’re probably the person skipping their way through the crowds. Or the person with the patience of a saint waiting for everyone else to back off so you can get some Instagram content.
Either way – the perfect weather of peak season makes it a wonderful experience. The prices that come with peak season, however, do not. Prepare to pay up for accommodation and attractions.
Visiting Niagara Falls in Fall (September 1 – November 30)
Summer is gone, and with it, the crowds. On average, tourism at Niagara Falls begins to decline starting early September. However, the autumnal months make for a beautiful journey to Niagara Falls, regardless of which side of the border you’re on. Fall foliage everywhere you look makes for a memorable trip.
Snow can begin to fall as early as the end of October. Hotel rates also begin to fall.
Visiting Niagara Falls in Winter (December 1 – February 28)
Many will avoid Niagara Falls during winter due to attractions coming to a halt, but technically, you can still see the Falls. Hotel rates drop and crowds are non-existent.
If cold weather doesn’t bother you, bundle up, the beauty of the frozen Falls will reward you.
Visiting Niagara Falls from America? Don’t Forget Your Passport To Visit Niagara Falls
It might sound obvious, but if you’re crossing the border from America to Canada, you’ll need a passport. When you enter Canada, a Canada Border Services Agency officer may ask to see your passport and a valid visa, if one is necessary.
If you are a citizen of the United States over the age of 16, you will need a Passport, a Passport Card or Enhanced Driver’s Licence (only issued by certain states) to enter Canada.
What are the Best Niagara Falls Tours & Experiences?
Once you’ve had a chance to see the American and Horseshoe Falls from the sidelines, getting up close is a must. Hornblower Niagara Cruises takes visitors on a boat ride tour to the foot of the Falls for a wet and wild view of the 13-story falls from below.
A completely different sensation, Journey Behind the Falls where you hear sounds like thunder as you descend to tunnels that travel to Observation Decks literally behind the falls. What you want to do depends on each person – are you a thrill seeker? You can also seeing the falls from above, which gives you a perspective like no other. On a clear day you will see the outline of Toronto to the North and the shores of Lake Erie to the South. Niagara Helicopters operates year-round from 9am until sunset, and you don’t need to book in advance.
What to Pack for Niagara Falls:
Do yourself a favour and bookmark this packing list! As well as all your usual clothes and toiletries for a trip, there’s some key things to bring. Keep in mind you’ll be getting very wet…
- Water shoes or waterproof shoe covers (sandals can get slippy when wet)
- A waterproof phone cover
- Rain cover for your bag
Don’t bother bringing a poncho, as all the various attractions you see will hand them out for free.
Facts About the Niagara Falls:
- Niagara Falls State Park is the oldest state park in America, established in 1885 as the Niagara Reservation.
- Niagara Falls is comprised of three waterfalls, from largest to smallest, the Horseshoe Falls (also known as the Canadian Falls), American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls.
- The height of the American Falls ranges between 21 to 34 m (70-110 ft).
- Cave of the Winds, located at Niagara Falls State Park is torn down and re-built every year.
- The first person to survive a trip over Niagara Falls in a barrel was a 63-year-old schoolteacher. Seeking fame and fortune, Annie Taylor loaded herself – and her cat – up in a barrel and descended over the falls in 1901.
- But! is illegal to make an attempt to go over the Falls, and those who do so are fined $10,000.
- The Falls will continue to erode, however, the rate has been greatly reduced due to flow control and diversion for hydro-power generation. Its current rate of erosion is estimated at 1 foot per year and could possibly be reduced to 1 foot per 10 years.
Frequently Asked Niagara Falls Questions:
Do I have to pay to see the Falls? No! Niagara Falls is in a public location on Niagara Parks land. It can be accessed for free 24/7 all year around.
Where is the best place to view the Falls? The falls can be viewed at any time of day or night for free at the Table Rock Welcome Centre. If you want a more up close and personal viewing experience you may want to purchase admission to Hornblower Niagara Cruises or Journey Behind the Falls.
Are the Falls lit / illuminated every night? Yep! The Falls are lit up every night.
Does Niagara Falls ever freeze over? It’s very unlikely that they will ever totally freeze over (although there is record of that happening 150 years ago). Check out this blog post for pretty photos of the Falls with surrounded by ice and snow.
Will there be fireworks over the Falls when I visit? The fireworks usually happen each summer, but check the schedule in advance. Presently, the fireworks show is cancelled due to the region’s pandemic guidelines.
Tickets & Passes
Can the Niagara Parks Adventure/Wonder Pass be used on multiple days? Yes, you can use the pass vouchers on any number of days during the season. Each individual attraction ticket included within the pass is good for one entry into the attraction, except the WEGO which is valid for 2 full consecutive days of transportation starting from the first day of use. For more info please see here.
What is the best Niagara Falls attraction package for families? It depends on the age and interests of the children! For a fun day out away from the Falls, The Clifton Hill Fun Pass allows you to enjoy four attractions on Clifton Hill for one low price. The iconic area features tons of fun for every age and is guaranteed to bring a smile to your kids faces. The pass includes one time admission to:
- Niagara SkyWheel
Dinosaur Adventure Golf (Outdoors) or Wizards’ Golf (Indoors)
Movieland Wax Museum
Weather & Climate
What will the weather be like when I visit Niagara Falls? It all depends on when you visit! You can take a look at this handy weather chart which can help you get an idea of seasonal average temperatures. Generally, the summers are warm; the winters are freezing, dry, and windy; and it is partly cloudy year round.
Rain or shine, sun or snow, the Falls are always a sight to behold.
How cold does winter get in Niagara Falls? We’re not gonna lie, it gets pretty damn cold here. In the winter, the daily high temperatures in December, January and February range from 2° to -0.9° degrees Celsius (36° to 30° degrees Fahrenheit). Nightly temperatures range from -4.5° to -8.2° degrees Celsius (24° to 17° degrees Fahrenheit).
Getting to the Falls
What is the best address to input into my GPS to get to the Falls? Worried about getting lost or ending up miles away from the car park? Don’t stress! 6650 Niagara Parkway. (River Rd) Niagara Falls, ON L2G 0L0 will bring you right beside the Horseshoe Falls.
Where is the closest place to the Falls for parking? Falls Parking (Lot A), at Table Rock Welcome Centre is the closest parking lot to the Falls. While Niagara Parks does offer some free parking lots, major lots that allow for daily use come with a fee either upon entry or via parking meter.
If you plan on visiting Niagara Falls and require overnight parking, you are best to check with the accommodation you are staying at, as overnight parking is limited across the city. You can see more detailed info on parking at the Niagara Falls here.
Can you take a day trip to the Falls? Yes! Many people travel from Toronto to Niagara Falls for the day. They either travel by bus, train or rent a car for the day. You may also book tours from Toronto that would include a Niagara Day trip.
Top Niagara Falls Tour Companies:
Local companies offer sightseeing tours of Niagara and the Falls, while visitors may also indulge a particular interest with a themed Niagara tour. Niagara wine tours traverse the region in search of the perfect Chardonnay, double decker tours lend a different perspective to the city, or Niagara adventure tours take visitors on a whirlwind of the areas most exciting attractions.
There’s also plenty of interesting tours to do in and around the region of Niagara itself.
Some unique tours to consider when visiting Niagara Falls include:
This company is inspired by the rich Canadian cannabis and wine culture and their mission is to introduce this wonderful culture to tourists! Tourists will be chauffeured in a luxurious 8-person passenger van to visit some of Niagara’s most renowned wineries as well as legal dispensaries and CBD stores.
Embark on a unique journey, learn how grapes grow, how to taste wine and what to look for in quality, vineyard techniques, and the history of the Niagara wine region and the origins of the finest Icewines in the world.
During your exploration you will have the opportunity to tour the largest underground barrel cellar in Ontario and visit some of the classic family wineries that are the cornerstones in the industry, while sampling some of the rarest and best wines crafted in Niagara-on-the-lake.
Tour Niagara-on-the-Lake like never before! Get ready for the open road and catch a breeze on an electric scooter. No licence or insurance required. If you can ride a bicycle, you can ride an eScooter!
This fun tour is one of the best ways to tour Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Historic Sites, Wineries, Shopping District and the beautiful Niagara River Parkway. The company offers eScooter and mobility scooter rentals from April 1st to October 31 by the day or by the hour (minimum 3 hours).
Experience the power of Niagara Falls, the engineering marvel of the Welland Canal, all within the comfy confines of a charter airplane. This scenic and thrilling narrated airplane tour makes for a great day out with the kids, an intimate date, or a fun afternoon with friends and family. Soar over the Niagara region as you learn the history of Niagara-on-the-Lake and the centuries old Fort George and Fort Niagara.
A classic British double-decker will whisk you away for an incomparable day of tasteful adventure in Ontario’s largest wine region. A North American one-of-a-kind, this hop-on, hop-off excursion visits some of Ontario’s best, boutique wineries.
Learn a little about the region’s history, and get a taste for why this region has a reputation as Niagara’s hidden gem. The Twenty Valley Magic Winery Bus travels in a continuous one-hour loop all day. Hop off and expect to be at each winery for about an hour. Who could resist this tour?
Niagara Falls Fun Tourism Facts:
The Niagara Region welcomes approximately 14 million visitors yearly, of which the city of Niagara Falls welcomes approximately 12 million visitors yearly.
Busiest Seasons for Tourism:
- July to September
- April to June
- October to December
- January to March
Top 3 Countries of Visitors:
- United States
- United Kingdom
Top 3 Age Groups of Visitors:
What’s Happening at the Niagara Falls during the COVID-19 Pandemic?
The Niagara Region moved into Stage 3 of reopening as of Friday, July 24th. Keeping workplaces, staff and guests safe is our destination’s primary focus. Key public health measures are in place and we all share a responsibility to stay informed, be prepared, be flexible and follow health and safety guidelines.
Niagara Falls’ accommodations, attractions, restaurants, retail stores and experiences are implementing stringent measures designed to ensure cleanliness, physical distancing and reduced contact.
Just keep in mind… The Canada/USA border continues to be closed to all non-essential travel until October 21, 2020. You can see more info on the current travel restrictions here.
While there is no one definitive best time to visit Niagara Falls. Whatever season you choose to visit, whether it’s Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter, you’ll have an unforgettable experience at the Falls. It’s all down to personal preference and we hope this guide helps you make the most of your trip. Stay safe, have fun and enjoy!