If you’re planning a trip to the Niagara Region, one of the first things you need to consider is the best time to go to Niagara Falls.
Now, you might want to avoid large crowds or maybe you’re visiting Niagara Falls on a budget and need to know the least expensive time to visit.
However, regardless of when you visit, Niagara Falls is an insanely beautiful place. Therefore, you’ll want to have the best possible experience when you get there.
So, this guide will take you through the best times to visit Niagara Falls, whether you’re looking for the cheapest time to visit the falls or want to know how to visit Niagara off-season.
I’ll also take you through some of the things you need to consider when planning your trip and answer some of your most frequently asked questions.
Because as a 30+ year New York local who has visited Niagara Falls more times than I can count, I want to help you plan the trip of a lifetime.
And a huge part of that is deciding when is the best time to visit Niagara Falls. But, first, let’s figure out why you should visit Niagara Falls in the first place.
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Why Visit Niagara Falls?
There are many reasons to visit Niagara Falls, so it’s no surprise that it features on bucket lists for travelers from all around the world.
After all, Niagara Falls is one of the world’s greatest natural attractions and is considered by many to be the Eighth Wonder of the World.
So, the sheer thrill of watching the Niagara River roar over the edge of the falls is enough reason to visit. However, there is so much more excitement that will lure you to Niagara Falls.
I mean, you could fly over the falls during the best helicopter tours in Niagara Falls, get close to the edge of the falls on the Maid of the Mist, or get even closer in the Cave of the Winds.
Additionally, you could head to the Observation Tower at Niagara Falls State Park to experience stunning panoramic views of the landscape around the Niagara Region as you enjoy some of the most unique things to do in Niagara Falls.
In fact, there are plenty of other attractions to keep you entertained, from the Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory to a zipline ride that will give you the ultimate Niagara experience to booking a relaxing Niagara Region wine tour.
And if you’re planning a Niagara Falls family vacation, the kids are sure to love the three-acre Fallsview indoor water park. You know, just in case there isn’t enough water for them at the falls itself.
The Overall Best Time to go to Niagara Falls
Between mid-August and September is the best time to visit Niagara Falls – so prepare your Niagara Falls packing list accordingly.
After all, the weather is cooler and more comfortable than early in the summer. So, you won’t get too chilly when the waterfall’s spray splashes over you or too hot when you’re away from the water.
Plus, all the area’s major attractions are still open. And because this time is past the peak summer season, visitor numbers will be falling.
Additionally, you’ll still have your choice of tours and attractions to enjoy, but won’t have to wait too long in line for them or worry about tickets selling out.
And if you visit in late September, you may be able to see the leaves start to change color, without enduring freezing cold evenings.
In fact, you could even save some money since the price of hotels and flights will be cheaper at the time of year. All in all, this is a pretty perfect time to visit Niagara Falls!
How to Visit Niagara Falls on a Budget
In winter, Niagara Falls is a frosty place to visit, with cold winds and average daytime temperatures ranging between 36° to 30° Fahrenheit (2° to -0.9° Celsius).
Unsurprisingly, that fact discourages many people from visiting, so visitor numbers drop substantially throughout the winter.
That also means that you can find some fantastic deals on attractions and accommodation for Niagara Falls between December and February.
However, there are some other benefits to visiting Niagara Falls in the offseason, as long as you don’t mind the cold weather.
After all, winter means that you’ll get to see the Falls in a completely different way as the Falls become frozen over or as massive chunks of ice crash over the edge of the falls.
But, you do need to remember that there are fewer things to do in Niagara Falls in the winter since many attractions are only open seasonally.
Plus, the cold weather can sometimes halt the operation of attractions that are open year-round.
When visiting at this time of year you’ll also need to ensure that you pack plenty of warm clothing and spare shoes so that cold, wet feet don’t ruin your vacation.
When is the Least Busy Time at Niagara Falls?
If you want to avoid intense crowds then the least busy time to visit Niagara Falls tends to be during the spring and fall months.
After all, school is still in session. As a result, most families tend to visit in the summer months. Therefore, crowds tend to be reduced on either side of the summer.
Additionally, because there’s less demand for tours, flights, and hotel rooms, you’ll enjoy lower prices at this time of year.
As a result, you could score some great deals in Niagara Falls of you visit in the spring and fall months.
And if you travel later in the year, you’ll have the opportunity to see stunning fall foliage in New York and the surrounding area.
However, it’s essential to remember that not all attractions operate outside the peak season.
In fact, many local businesses are closed and tours do not run throughout the winter. So, you may find that many businesses only run on limited hours during the spring and fall seasons.
When is the Worst Time to Visit Niagara Falls?
Peak season in Niagara Falls runs through the summer months of June, July, and August. As a result, visiting at this time of year results in several problems that make this the worst time to visit Niagara Falls.
First of all, the hordes of eager visitors in the area are massive at this time of year. So, this fact alone can make your vacation less relaxing.
Additionally, it can be difficult to find the best deals on accommodations and tours unless you book well in advance (or risk booking at the last minute).
It also means you might struggle to book tickets for Niagara Falls top attractions or spend more time waiting in line as everyone lines up to enjoy the same things.
Additionally, the weather throughout the summer is hot and humid, with daytime temperatures in July reaching an average high of 81° Fahrenheit (27° Celsius).
Therefore, your Niagara Falls visit can quickly become an uncomfortably sticky experience when you’re away from the falls’ cooling mist.
However, if you have no other option than to visit Niagara Falls in the summer, do book well in advance to ensure you get the best prices and availability when it comes to travel, accommodation, and tours.
Visiting Niagara Falls: Things to Consider
If you want to get the most out of your trip, these local tips will help you plan a perfect Niagara Falls vacation.
1. Remember your Passport
If you want to explore the entirety of Niagara Falls, you’ll need to bring your passport with you.
That’s because the falls lie across the border between the United States and Canada.
So, being able to cross the border will allow you to check out the area properly and have the best Niagara Falls experience possible.
2. Bring Waterproof Shoes and Clothes
When you visit Niagara Falls, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’re going to get soaked.
And if you go on the Maid of the Mist boat tour or visit the Cave of the Winds, the cold mist, and water droplets will deffo drench you in cold water.
So, packing a poncho or lightweight waterproof jacket with a hood will help keep some of the water off your clothes.
However, if you forget some of these items at home, some tour packages actually include a free poncho to keep you dry. Or, you can pick one up at a local gift shop.
Local Tip: Don’t forget to bring a waterproof case for your phone/camera.
3. Wear Layers
Spring and fall at Niagara Falls mean ever-changing weather conditions. So, it’s always best to wear light layers that you can put on or take off as the temperature changes.
You might also want to pack a light scarf and waterproof trench coat if chilly evenings are in the weather forecast.
Also remember that even if you visit Niagara in the summer, the temperature still drops a few degrees when you get close to the falls.
And during the cold winter months, layers will help you to keep warm despite the chilly temperatures.
4. Pack Comfortable Shoes
You’ll probably do plenty of walking. Therefore, make sure to remember comfortable shoes as you figure out the best time to go to Niagara Falls for you and your family.
Also, be sure to have water shoes or waterproof shoe covers that you can wear as you explore wetter attractions.
Additionally, it’s best to avoid sandals as they can get super uncomfortable when wet. After all, you can always change into nicer shoes in the evening if you want to!
5. Check Out Local Attractions Before You Travel
Always check ahead to see when the attractions you want to visit will be operating.
Because as I already mentioned, most outdoor attractions close or reduce their hours during winter – with some getting closed altogether during inclement weather.
Best Time to Go to Niagara Falls FAQ
When planning a visit to Niagara Falls, you’re sure to have lots of questions.
It’s also essential to research your trip well before you book your Niagara Falls vacation so that you can have the best experience possible.
So, here are some of the most frequently asked questions about the best time to go to Niagara Falls.
What is the Best Time of Day to Visit Niagara Falls?
Crowds tend to be smaller in the early morning and late afternoon. So, these times are best if you want to avoid crowds.
Additionally, temperatures are usually cooler in the early morning. So, if you’re visiting Niagara Falls in the summer, your visit will be more comfortable if you stop by at this time of day.
Is One Day Enough for Niagara Falls?
While it is possible to arrange a day trip to Niagara Falls, one day won’t give you enough time to explore the falls properly and visit all of the attractions in the region.
Therefore, you’ll definitely have to leave something out, and your visit will likely feel rushed with a one-day Niagara Falls itinerary.
Therefore, a minimum of two nights at Niagara Falls is recommended, or longer if possible.
This will give you enough time to book the experiences and visit the area’s main attractions without rushing from one tour to another.
Can You Go to Niagara Falls Without a Passport?
The three waterfalls that make up Niagara Falls are located along the US/Canada border.
So, if you only want to visit one side of the falls in the country that you’re already in, you can see Niagara Falls without a passport.
However, if you want to see both sides of the falls, you will need a passport if you are over 15. Although that being said, children under 15 will need proof of US or Canadian citizenship.
But, ensuring everyone in your group has a passport reduces the risk of any problems that you may or may not encounter at the border.
Which Months are Niagara Falls Closed?
Niagara Falls is open to visitors all year long. But, the off-season at Niagara Falls is during the winter.
Therefore, visitor numbers tend to be lower due to colder temperatures. Additionally, some tours and attractions will be closed at this time of year.
That’s why, If you’re planning to visit Niagara Falls in winter, it’s best to check the availability of your chosen tours and attractions before you book your trip.
Is October a Good Time to Visit Niagara Falls?
Fall is a great time to visit Niagara Falls since you can avoid the summer crowds while enjoying comfortable daily temperatures.
You’ll also benefit from seeing beautiful fall colors on the trees and can attend fall festivals in the Niagara Region that make this the best time to go to Niagara Falls.
Summing it All Up: When is the Best Time of Year to Visit Niagara Falls?
Selecting the best time to go to Niagara Falls depends on what you want to experience and what you want to avoid.
However, overall, the best time to visit is between August and September.
At this time of year, the weather is slightly cooler than at the height of summer, the crowds are starting to thin out, and all major attractions and tours are still operating.
But if you want to avoid the crowds, it’s better to visit in spring or fall. This is when the weather is still comfortable, but there are much fewer visitors to the area than in peak tourist season at Niagara Falls.
Alternatively, budget-conscious travelers may visit Niagara Falls in winter when you can find fantastic deals on accommodations and flights.
But, you’ll have to decide whether the cold weather and limited attractions will spoil your visit at this time of year.
So, whenever you decide to book a trip to Niagara Falls, be sure to consider what the weather will be like, when tours will be available, and, of course, pack appropriately for all types of weather conditions.
Do this and you’ll enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime vacation to remember forever at Niagara Falls!