Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Niagara Falls is truly a sight to behold. Maybe you visited it as a kid, like I did, or think of it as a low-cost honeymoon destination. But really, Niagara Falls is so much more than that! The 3 falls that make up Niagara Falls are situated between 2 cities of the same name in 2 countries and collectively they pump over 757,000 gallons of water each second. That’s pretty impressive!
These natural wonders are visited by millions of people each year who enjoy not only the waterfalls, but also the area’s other attractions like hiking trails, casinos, parks, gardens, an observation wheel, and even a 17th-century fort.
If you’re planning a trip to Niagara Falls, you’re probably wondering when you should go, as this is definitely an area where the timing of your trip is important. In this post, we’ll go over the best times to visit Niagara Falls by season so you can decide what time of year is best for your getaway.
Niagara Falls: At a Glance
Niagara Falls is a naturally beautiful attraction that straddles 2 different countries, the U.S. and Canada. It’s also the name of 2 distinct cities, one in each country. These cities, and the falls, lie on the banks of the Niagara River which separates Ontario, Canada from New York State.
Niagara Falls is actually made up of 3 separate falls — Horseshoe Falls (also known as the Canadian Falls), American Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls.
While most people are familiar with the waterfalls, the area actually has lots of other attractions, too, making it a well-rounded destination on both the Canadian and American sides. Fireworks displays, wineries, an aquarium, and hiking trails are just some of what you can experience when you visit Niagara Falls.
Niagara Falls State Park, established in 1885 is the oldest state park in the U.S.
Hot Tip: Since Niagara Falls includes attractions in both the U.S. and Canada, be sure to travel with a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees.
The Best Time of Year To Visit Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls is one of those places where the time of year you visit can really affect your experience. Let’s look at each season in Niagara Falls so you can determine the best month for your trip.
Niagara Falls in Spring (March, April, May)
Spring is a great time to visit Niagara Falls as long as you don’t mind the possibility of some chilly weather. Early spring can see temperatures ranging anywhere from 25 to 55 degrees. This area can see snow into April, so early spring is still quite chilly and can be unpleasant for many travelers.
However, by May, temperatures start warming up to about 67 degrees, making late spring a wonderful time for a visit. Popular attractions that close for winter start, like Maid of the Mist, opening up in May.
Spring also brings blooming flowers — over 500,000 daffodils in Queen Victoria Park, 1,200 lilac bushes at Centennial Lilac Garden, orchids, succulents, and tropical plants at the Floral Showhouse, and over 2,400 roses on 99 acres of gardens at Niagara Parks’ Botanical Gardens.
Spring Events and Festivals
- Niagara Falls Elvis Festival (April)
Niagara Falls in Summer (June, July, August)
Summer is considered the best season to visit Niagara Falls. Tourism peaks between June and August because the weather is warm, with high temperatures ranging between 75 degrees and 81 degrees, and all of the popular attractions are in full swing. With the mist from the falls ever present, a temperature of 81 degrees will actually feel a bit cooler, so there’s never much worry that the weather will get too hot near Niagara Falls.
While the falls are always open and free to view, there are plenty of tours and activities you can do to get an up close and personal experience. Of course, everyone’s favorite and the most well-known tour is the Maid of the Mist, which has been in operation since 1846. This iconic boat tour takes guests to the base of the falls to experience them in their full glory, and yes, you’ll get wet. Rain ponchos are provided but it’s advisable to wear waterproof shoes so you don’t end up with soaking wet feet.
Hot Tip: While Maid of the Mist is the well-known boat tour on the American side, the Voyage to the Falls tour is the Canadian version, taking guests within arms reach of Horseshoe Falls.
You can also descend 175 feet into the Niagara Gorge to Cave of the Winds, right behind Bridal Veil Falls. Nicknamed “Hurricane Deck,” you’ll experience tropical storm-like conditions as you stand just feet away from the falls.
For a less intense experience, there’s the Niagara Scenic Trolley. Visitors can ride the narrated 3-mile route in one go or use it as hop-on-hop-off transportation.
Additional attractions include the Niagara SkyWheel, Canada’s largest observation wheel, taking guests 175 feet in the air for spectacular views of the falls. There’s also Old Fort Niagara on the American side. This 17th-century fort was used during the American Revolution and overlooks both Lake Ontario and the Niagara River.
Don’t miss the Niagara Falls fireworks display every night from late May to early October at 10 p.m. Every night year-round the falls are also illuminated, creating a spectacular lights display.
Summer Events and Festivals
- Niagara Falls Comic Con (June)
- Niagara Folk Arts Festival (June)
- Royal Canadian Henley Regatta (August)
Niagara Falls in Fall (September, October, November
Early fall is a popular time to visit Niagara Falls. September is one of the best months to visit because the weather is mild, with highs around 71 degrees, and it’s not as crowded as the summer. There are plenty of festivals in September and all of the popular tourist attractions are still operating on summer schedules. Plus, this is a great time to see beautiful fall foliage. Scenic walks and hikes are a great way to spend a crisp fall afternoon at Niagara Falls.
Fall marks harvest season for vineyards, making this a great time of year for oenophiles. Canada’s largest wine festival, the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival, happens each year in September.
Tourism dies down quite a bit in late fall. High temperatures range from 46 to 58 degrees in October and November and many seasonal attractions start to shut down.
Fall Events and Festivals
- Niagara County Peach Festival (September)
- Niagara Falls Blues Festival (September)
- Niagara Grape and Wine Festival (September)
- Niagara Falls International Marathon (October)
- Niagara Falls Christmas Market (November-December)
Niagara Falls in Winter (December, January, February)
Winter is downright cold near Niagara Falls. Temperatures don’t creep much higher than 36 degrees and can even get into the teens … brrr! Because of that, there aren’t many crowds in the winter and prices are at their lowest, so it could be a good time to visit if you’re on a tight budget.
While some attractions, like Maid of the Mist, don’t operate during the winter, there are some year-round activities in the Niagara Falls area. The Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory, Zipline to the Falls, Fallsview Casino, and Aquarium of Niagara are open during the winter. Plus, you may be lucky enough to see the falls partially frozen, a spectacular sight rewarding tourists who brave winter at Niagara Falls.
The Niagara Falls area is a popular area for birdwatchers, especially in the winter. Designated a “Globally Significant Important Bird Area” in 1996, this region is a winter home to many different types of birds, including gulls, ducks, geese, and swans. For even more birds, visit Bird Kingdom, the world’s largest free-flying indoor aviary, which is open all year long.
Winter Events and Festivals
- Niagara Falls Christmas Market (November-December)
- Winter Festival of Lights (November-February)
- Festival of Slice (December)
- Niagara Icewine Festival (January)
- Birds on the Niagara (February)
The Cheapest Time To Visit Niagara Falls
The cheapest time to visit Niagara Falls is late fall, winter, and early spring. According to Google Hotels, October through May sees moderate hotel prices ranging from $41 to $115 per night. July and August have the most expensive hotel rates, with average rates going up to $174 per night.
Niagara Falls Hotels Bookable With Points
To save money on hotel rates in Niagara Falls, look for ones you can book with points. There are numerous options in the area that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton Honors, World of Hyatt, and IHG One Rewards programs.
The Courtyard Niagara Falls is on the American side and can be booked with 31,000 to 39,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night. Located in an early 20th-century chocolate factory, it’s one of the most popular Courtyard locations and a great way to use a Marriott free night certificate.
If you’d like amazing views of the falls from your hotel room, check out Sheraton Fallsview Hotel. Rooms are available for around 41,000 to 49,000 Marriott Bonvoy points, and you can even do a small cash upgrade to get a room with that coveted waterfall view. It’s easy to see why this hotel, located on the Canadian side of the falls, is one of the most popular Sheraton locations.
If you’ve got Hilton Honors points to spend, take a look at Hilton Niagara Falls/Fallsview Hotel & Suites. This property, centrally located in the middle of the action, is connected to a casino, shops, and dining. The hotel itself, one of the most popular Hilton locations, boasts an indoor pool, fitness center, on-site restaurant, and even an EV charging station. It can be booked for as few as 30,000 Hilton Honors points per night.
The Hyatt Place Niagara Falls is a Category 3 Hyatt property that can be booked for 9,000 to 15,000 World of Hyatt points per night. In addition to a fitness center and pool, this property offers free breakfast.
Finally, check out the Crowne Plaza Niagara Falls-Fallsview hotel if you’ve got IHG One Rewards points to burn. Located on the Canadian side, this hotel offers views of the falls and is connected via an indoor walkway to a casino and indoor waterpark. You can book this location for 12,000 to 34,000 IHG One Rewards points per night.
Niagara Falls is a fantastic destination for your next getaway. Located between Ontario, Canada, and New York State, this spectacular attraction has a little something for everyone. Whether visiting in the spring for fantastic blooms, the summer for great weather, the fall for harvest season, or even the winter for bird watching, there’s something to do any time of the year in Niagara Falls.
Featured Image Credit: eskystudio via Adobe Stock
Frequently Asked Questions
The cheapest time to visit Niagara Falls is late fall, winter, and early spring. July and August are the most expensive months to visit.
Summer is definitely the busiest time at Niagara Falls, with crowds peaking in July and August. This is also the most expensive time to visit.
It can be, depending on the temperatures. Winter is a very cold time to visit Niagara Falls, but visitors who brave the chilling temperatures may be rewarded with views of frozen or partially frozen waterfalls.
Sure, Niagara Falls is open every day of the year. However the temperatures can still be quite chilly in April, and snow isn’t unheard of during the month, so be prepared. Also, many seasonal attractions don’t start opening until May, so do some research ahead of time so you’re not disappointed to find something closed when you arrive.
May is a great month to visit Niagara Falls. Temperatures range from 45 to 68 degrees and there’s an average of ~3 inches of rain. Many seasonal attractions begin opening up in May.
It can be, depending on what you’re looking for. Crowds will be minimal and costs will be lower, but the temperatures can be very cold in November and December. However, there are some great festivals during this time like the Niagara Falls Christmas Market and the Winter Festival of Lights, so it can still be a fun time to visit.
Yes, if you’re planning on visiting the Canadian side (and you should) you’ll need a passport, a passport card, NEXUS card (select entry points), or an enhanced driver’s license (select states only). Check out our guides to applying for your first passport or renewing your current passport if you need some assistance. Children 15 years old and younger can cross the border with just a birth certificate.
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