Niagara Falls: How Do I Get There?

Looking towards the Rainbow Bridge
There are many different ways of getting to Niagara Falls. So we'll narrow our focus down to how we managed to get here, which would be from the perspective of someone from the Los Angeles area.

In America, I'd imagine it's quickest to fly into Buffalo/Niagara International Airport in Buffalo, New York. However, most routes (and we were no exception coming from Los Angeles) require you to connect at JFK (John F Kennedy) Airport in New York. There might also be connections at La Guardia Airport though this didn't seem to be as common.

Once we arrived at Buffalo, we rented a car though it appeared that taking a shuttle bus, or hiring a taxi were also options. There were no hotel courtesy shuttles to or from the airport from what we could tell.

Anyways, after renting a car, it was about 25 miles from Buffalo to the Rainbow Bridge, which spanned the Canadian-American border just a little over a quarter-mile from the American Falls.

On a separate trip, we drove across New York State (it took us about 5 hours or so to go from Albany, New York to the Niagara Falls border crossing) as part of a much more extensive multi-week road trip through New England and upstate New York. The drive across the I-90 (toll required) was pretty smooth going though it definitely seemed like there were numerous New York State police nabbing speeding motorists so that was something to consider if you're making haste.

In Canada, I'd imagine you're most likely going to be flying into the Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Ontario. Then, rent a car and drive the 78 miles to get to the Rainbow Bridge by Niagara Falls. It's possible to take a shuttle or taxi as well from what I understand, though this can be quite pricey considering the distance you'll need to travel.

When we drove from Toronto to Niagara Falls, it took us about 2 hours or so to drive along the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) towards the nearest exits leading to the falls. Note that the QEW ended by the border crossing near Buffalo across the Niagara River, but realize that the delays there easily consumed 45 minutes!

Just to give you an idea of the amount of travel involved, here's our travel circuit from our first visit, which consisted of...

  • a 6-hour flight from Los Angeles to New York
  • a 1.5-hour flight from New York to Buffalo
  • a 30-minute drive from Buffalo to our hotel on the Canadian side (including border delays and toll road stops)

On a second visit, which was more of a road trip, our Niagara Falls leg pretty much consisted of...

  • 5- to 6-hour drive from Albany, NY to Niagara Falls
  • 2-hour drive on the QEW from Toronto, ON, Canada to Niagara Falls on the return
  • border crossing delays, which could be as much as 45 minutes (such as what we experienced in Buffalo in 2013) or 15- to 30 minutes, which was what we experienced at Niagara Falls on our first visit in 2007)
Naturally, these transit times will differ depending on where you're at, but at least this gives you a rough idea of how much time to budget for travel.

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