Trip to Niagara Falls: should you stay on the Canadian side or on the American side?

The exceptionally beautiful natural landmark known as Niagara Falls sits on the border between the Ontario province in Canada and New York in the United States. Travellers who wish to enjoy the views of the majestic waterfalls, go hiking along the Niagara River or even take a boat cruise near the rapids may wonder which of the two sides will give them the best opportunities to make the most of their trip. As a matter of fact, the Niagara Falls are actually three distinct falls stretching over the border: the American and the Bridal Veil ones on the US and the Horseshoe Falls in Canada.

Whether you choose New York or Ontario for your Niagara Falls adventure, know that both sides offer activities and specifically designated places to see the waterfalls: observation towers, decks and rooms; caves, platforms and walking paths, excursions to the privileged location of Goat Island and river cruises, the most popular being the Maid of the Mist boat cruise. While visiting the falls can be considered a once-in-a-lifetime experience regardless of the time of the year, it is advisable to avoid the summer months, when the area tends to be more crowded.

Airports near Niagara Falls in the USA and Canada

Another common question travellers ask themselves when planning their trip to Niagara Falls is which airport lies closest to the Canadian side of the falls and which the nearest terminal to the American side is.

If you want to stay on the US side of Niagara Falls, catch a flight to Buffalo Niagara International airport. Upon landing, you can commute to Niagara Falls by bus or train in one hour and a half, or else rent a car or take a taxi and get there in about half an hour. The airlines which currently operate scheduled flights to this airport in New York are American Airlines (from Charlotte and Chicago O’hare), American Eagle (Philadelphia, Dallas Fort Worth and Washington National), Delta (Atlanta, Detroit, Minnesota St. Paul, JFK and La Guardia), Frontier (Denver, Orlando and Tampa), JetBlue (Boston and Los Angeles) and Southwest (Las Vegas and Phoenix Sky Harbour).

To stay on the Canadian side of the Niagara Falls, you should fly to Billy Bishop Toronto City airport. Air Canada Express handles a regular scheduled route from Montreal, and Porter Airlines flies between Buffalo airport and Chicago Midway, Boston Logan, Halifax, Newark, Ottawa, Québec City and Washington Dulles all year round. To reach the area of the falls, visitors need to drive for about one hour and a half; due to its particular location on an island, choosing public transportation implies a longer journey that includes ferry cars, trams and buses.

Staying on the American side of the Niagara Falls

Should you decide to stay in New York to see Niagara Falls, it must be admitted that this spot certainly comes with some perks, such as being close to the Seneca Resort and Casino featuring venues for concerts and shows, conference spaces, a wide range of restaurants, bars and steak houses, a spa centre and a casino aside from its 604 luxury rooms and suites for guests. Budget travellers and backpackers, though, will also find places to stay that suit their needs, as guest houses and hostels like the Kalika hotel, the Wanderfalls or the Gorge View provide ideal accommodation for those who want to see the waterfalls, join local tours and meet other travellers, all within less than one kilometre from the Aquarium of Niagara, Rainbow ridge and Niagara Falls State Park. Nearby supermarkets, restaurants and a Starbucks Coffee make them a true home away from home.

Staying in Ontario, Canada, to visit the Niagara Falls

The Canadian side provides a greater chance of finding a hotel featuring stunning views of the Niagara Falls and, in some cases, you will be lucky enough to enjoy them from your bed or your in-room Jacuzzi, as is the case with the Oakes Hotel, the Sheraton on the Falls or the Travelodge by Wyndham Fallsview. Other hotels boast special features like the Skyline Hotel & Waterpark, only a few minutes’ drive from the Horseshoe Falls and with direct access to an aquatic park. In this area, the bed & breakfast accommodation, hostels and guest houses are located a bit farther, yet they offer other advantages such as being within easy reach of the Amtrak train station and the Niagara Gorge Trail.

Will you be travelling to North America from overseas? If you plan to fly to New York for this trip, we recommend you check out the requirements to get the ESTA travel authorisation before you land.