Everything You Need to Know to Visit Niagara Falls By RV
Niagara Falls isn't just one waterfall - it's actually three! As you take in Niagara Falls, you watch about 70 Olympic-sized pools worth of water hurtling over the edge to create a powerful curtain of water. The largest of the three waterfalls - Horseshoe Falls - is considered the most powerful waterfall in North America.
Horseshoe Falls lies on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, while the smaller American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls lie on the American side.
Yet, no matter what side you visit, you'll find many ways to experience the falls themselves, and you'll discover visiting Niagara Falls by RV is a great way to knock this wonder of your bucket list.
What to Do at Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls can be seen by boat, up close on foot, from above, and for free. While there's no doubt that the falls themselves are the star of the show, there's also plenty more to do at Niagara Falls.
You've probably seen pictures of visitors in raincoats seemingly swallowed by mist as their boat charges straight for the falls. To experience this for yourself on the Canadian side, you'll want to book a spot aboard the Hornblower Cruises Niagara Falls Tour (previously known as Maid of the Mist).
To get up close and personal with Horseshoe Falls on foot, buy a ticket for the Journey Behind the Walls Experience. You'll climb down a series of platforms and tunnels for up-close views of the thundering Horseshoe Falls.
For a view from the air, you can take a glass elevator ride up the Skylon Tower. You can also catch a ride on the Whirlpool Aero Car which takes you 250 feet up in the air across the Niagara Whirlpool. Helicopter tours are another option for a bird's eye view.
Of course, you can always see Niagara Falls for free at Queen Victoria Park on the Canadian side.
On the American side, you can still don a raincoat and experience the falls by boat aboard the Maid of the Mist which has been ferrying tourists to Horseshoe Falls since 1846.
For a close-up view of Bridal Veil Falls on this side, book a ticket for Cave of the Winds. You'll be given slippers and a poncho to keep you dry as you climb across platforms leading you right up to the falls. Fun Fact: The platforms that makeup Cave of the Winds are packed up in the fall and rebuilt each spring when the attraction reopens.
There are also helicopter tours of the falls on the American side. For a bit less, you can also ride up the elevator at the New York State Observation Tower in Prospect Point Park.
Visit the country's oldest state park, Niagara Reservation State Park, for free views of Niagara Falls. Goat Island, which is part of the park, offers some of the most amazing views of the falls.
Activities Around the Falls
When evening rolls around, you'll find casinos and restaurants to wrap up the night. The Canadian side is known as livelier and it does offer more in the way of dining options and additional attractions.
As far as casinos go, the American side features the Seneca Niagara Casino. On the Canadian side, you'll find two casinos, the Fallsview Casino and Casino Niagara.
For some fun for all ages on the Canadian side, visit Clifton Hill which has wax museums, mini golf, bowling, and the Niagara Skywheel. On certain nights, there is even a firework show over the falls! During the day, you might also want to make stops at the Butterfly Conservatory and the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens.
Exploring the Local Wine Region
Many people don't realize that Niagara Falls also happens to be in a wine region.
When visiting the Canadian side, we highly recommend taking the scenic drive from Niagara Falls to Niagara-on-the-Lake. Winston Churchill once called this the "prettiest Sunday afternoon drive in the world!"
Once in Niagara-on-the-Lake, treat yourself to tastings at world-renown wineries. The region is especially known for its icewine. Icewine is prized for the labor-intensive process of pressing wine from frozen grapes, which brings out the concentrated sugar in the small amount of liquid in the frozen grapes.
Even if the sweet icewine isn't your thing, there are plenty of red and whites to taste as well. Our favorite wineries were Peller Estates and Inniskillin.
On the American side, you can enjoy your wine along the Niagara Wine Trail. The trail will take you through 22 wineries, breweries, and cideries.
Planning Your Trip
When to Go
High season at Niagara runs April 1st to October 31st. Most attractions at Niagara Falls are open by May, but this varies depending on the weather each year. Free views of the falls are open year-round.
July and August are the warmest months, but also the busiest months. You'll want to book any tours and experiences in advance if you visit during this time.
September can be a good balance between favorable weather and smaller crowds. October will be best for seeing the fall foliage along with Niagara Falls.
During winter, both the Maid of the Mist and Hornblower Cruises are closed. The same goes for Cave of the Winds and parts of Journey Behind the Falls. But, the free Winter Festival of Lights runs from November to January. You can also catch the Niagara Falls Icewine Festival if you visit in January. Niagara Falls is said to be magical with ice and icicles adorning the falls and the surrounding landscape.
Where to Stay
Sherkston Shores RV Park
Sherkston Shores is full of amenities for RVers. The campground has an inland lake, nearly two miles of beachfront, roller hockey, scuba diving, and a water park. The majority of sites are full-hookup sites, and 50-amp electric service is available. Sherkston Shores has pull-through sites, and RVs up to 40-feet long are welcome. This RV park is open from May 1 to October 31st.
Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park Niagara Falls Canada
Jellystone Niagara Falls is a great option at just 3.5 miles from Niagara Falls. As an added bonus, they offer a shuttle bus service to Niagara Falls for their campers. Jellystone has big-rig-friendly pull-through sites available that can accommodate those of you traveling in a large RV. This campground contains a large number of full-hookup sites, and 50-amp hook-ups are available. Jellystone opens for the season in late April and closes mid-October.
Four Mile Creek State Park
On the American side of the Falls, look no further than Four Mile Creek State Park. It's popular with RVers due to its location just 20 minutes from Niagara Falls. Since Niagara Falls is also in a state park, you can park for free at the falls if you're staying at Four Mile Creek State Park. Sites with electric hook-ups are available, but there are no sites with water. It's best to go with a full fresh tank, but you can refill at spigots available throughout the campground. Fifty-amp service is available.
Parking Your RV
If you're RVing without a tow car, the Canadian side, in particular, has RV-friendly parking. We highly recommend you visit in April, May, September, or October for an easier time finding RV parking. During peak months, it may be best to visit on weekdays.
Once you're parked, you can easily walk toward the falls and then take the shuttle to the different tour operators and attractions directly surrounding the falls.
Visiting Both Sides of Niagara Falls
Can you visit both the American and Canadian sides of Niagara Falls in one visit?
If you're in NY, the Maid of the Mist will take you across by water to Horseshoe Falls. Since you get off the boat exactly where you boarded on the NY side, no passport is needed.
From either side, you can cross into Canada or the U.S. by crossing the Rainbow Bridge. You can enjoy the experience of having one foot in Canada and one foot in the United States at the same time as long as you bring your passport and money for the toll. A small toll to cross the bridge is charged whether you're crossing on foot, by bicycle, or by vehicle.
If you plan to cross the border in your RV, read these tips for a smooth crossing.
Day Trip from Toronto to Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls is only about an hour and a half drive from Toronto making it easy to combine a visit to Toronto with your Niagara Falls RV trip. Try staying at Indian Line Campground - the closest campground to downtown Toronto. Drive down to Niagara Falls and spend the day enjoying the falls.
Also, in case you're wondering, New York City is more than six hours away from Niagara Falls so not quite a day trip option.
Let us know your best tips for an RV trip to Niagara Falls in the comments.