Have you ever wanted to take a trip to Niagara Falls on Fall or Spring break or just go to Canada in general but have no idea where to go or how to start planning? Well, I am here to help. I traveled to Niagara Falls and visited both the United States side and the Canadian side. I am also planning another trip to Montreal, Canada for the Summer of 2024. It can be confusing but if you want to take a girls trip with your besties, I know the best places and hotels for such occasions.
The first thing you should do is make sure you have your passport in date, if it is not or you do not have one, you will need to file for one from your local courthouse. This is needed to get into Canada. Also to get across the border (at least when I did it during Covid) you would need to download the ArriveCan app for faster, smoother processing across the border once there. This is a precautionary checklist app that makes sure you have everything for your trip.
I personally walked over using the Rainbow Bridge and all I needed was my passport, ID and my ArriveCan filled out. Yes! The actual bridge is called the Rainbow Bridge because you can see a beautiful rainbow from the falls on a nice sunny day. If you are bringing a car over, you will need a valid US license, your insurance and registration for the car and your most recent inspection sticker in date.
I started planning the trip to Niagara in February and we were going for the month of July. My next trip I am planning currently will not be until late June but I am planning early to make sure I have enough time to get paperwork if needed. Do not wait until the last minute because reservations may be tight then depending on where you want to go. I drive with my parents.
We left in Wilkes-Barre early in the morning (5am) and got to Niagara around 8:30 am without lots of traffic. We did leave on a Thursday so it was easier to travel without dealing with people coming or going to work and we tried to avoid the lunch rush.
When you are looking for a hotel on either side you will need to see which one is closest to the falls with not much walking distance. You do not want to go to one that is far away or one that is not fine in quality because it will take away from the experience. I went to the DoubleTree by Hilton on the NY side and it was only a half mile walk to the falls. There is a nice walking trail to get there and it is not hard at all.
This hotel had a decent restaurant and there are lots of restaurants around the area of the hotel. You can also order food and have it delivered to the hotel. I personally ordered from Little Caesars Pizza and had it delivered because I never had it before then and it was amazing service!
In my upcoming plans to Montreal, I found a hotel that is good quality (Delta Hotels by Marriott Montreal) with a reasonable price tag and located on the outskirts of the city because I do not feel comfortable living in the middle of the city and there is more parking available for guests.
In planning the actual Niagara Falls events, there are packages hosted by specific hotels including the DoubleTree I stayed at. It includes a tour guide and you can see all of the attractions at the falls including and under the waterfall tour, the horseshoe falls tour and the boat tour where they drive a boat to the waterfalls and you can see the beauty while on the water that just came over the falls. There is also a part of the tour where you can see the whirlpool later down the line and where it merges into the other great lakes and a huge water hydroelectric energy factory that uses the water to create power.
I recommend this experience but if you do not want to do every attraction, while you are there, there are ticket booths where you can buy individual tickets for $20-$50 depending on what attractions you want to see. On the Canadian side, I think it has a better view but there is not really that much you can do attraction wise other than the lake boat ride from the Canadian side.
On the Canadian side though, there are ferris wheels and events you can do other than seeing the falls right after coming off of the bridge into Canada. I personally booked a dinner in the Skylon Tower for that day we were visiting and it was totally worth it! I had amazing food and an awesome view.
There are some other small things I would like to add that may be important. There is a place where you can change over money in USD to CAN but all of the places I went to (Starbucks, glow in the dark magic mini golf and the Skylon Tower) took USD cash. In my recent research on my next trip to Montreal, you will need to convert USD to CAN. Do not fear though, if you do not like cash, you can always call your bank and see if your credit card can switch CAN to USD. My credit card automatically changed over and it automatically transferred. I had no issues.
A big topic that comes up is phone service. Because you are close to the border, you will not have to change over to international calling but I would check with your phone provider. I personally have Verizon and my phone was fine with calling. If you go further inland such as Monteral, you will need to get international service for your phone for those specific days you are going. If you are planning a hotel stay in Canada, you can call them directly from the USA without paying international calling for AT&T or Verizon users. If you are using another telephone service, you may have to check before you call.
I thought the trip to Canada would be bad with people and crowds but if you follow some of these tips and plan ahead early for these experiences, your trip will run flawlessly. I had a blast and that is why I plan on going to Canada again to visit Montreal for a sporting event. Hopefully you feel the same if you go and I hope these tips and tricks resolve any common questions people have when planning this large of a trip.