My family and I love a good road trip, and Niagara Falls is one of our favorite places to visit. But do you need a car to drive on the New York and Canadian side to experience Niagara Falls?
You can get around Niagara Falls without a car, taking public transportation like a trolley, train, bus, or Uber/Lyft. Once you arrive, you can explore much of the area on foot. However, if you can drive, you can enjoy scenic routes that augment your vacation.
This guide to traveling through Niagara Falls will help you plan transport for your next vacation. I’ll share my favorite driving routes and your transportation options if you visit without a car.
Getting Around Niagara Falls Without a Car – Your Travel Options
No car? No problem! You can forego the wheels and still find your way around Niagara Falls, including the US and Canadian sides.
In New York, hop aboard the New York Trailways, Greyhound, or FlixBus to reach your destination.
The NFTA–Metro costs $2 per ride, and with Metro day passes, you can continually rely on this mode of public transportation for the duration of your trip.
In Ontario, Niagara Regional Transit or NRT costs $3 to ride locally for adults and kids between 13 and 17. Kids under 12 ride free.
The Discover Niagara Shuttle or Blue Line in New York travels 14 miles between Niagara Falls and Youngstown, stopping in Old Fort Niagara with routes in Lockport. Wi-Fi is available.
Ontario’s WEGO is a shuttle that has four lines: Purple, Green, Blue, and Red. Riders can travel to Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Parks, Clifton Hill, and everywhere in between.
You can also take the Niagara-on-the-Lake Shuttle, which connects with WEGO and has round-trip and one-way routes. You can reach the Floral Clock and the Butterfly Conservatory by taking the shuttle.
On the American side, the Niagara Falls Scenic Trolley or Green Line travels three miles regularly between May and October.
Metro’s Niagara Falls Trolley or Red Line ventures between downtown Niagara Falls, the Niagara Falls International Airport, Pine Avenue, and Niagara Falls Boulevard.
The Red Line is available between May and June, June and September, and September and October from 9 a.m. to midnight.
Amtrak, the Intermodal Transportation Center, and the Niagara Falls International Train Station in New York are train services around Niagara Falls.
You can also explore The Empire Services with trains from New York City, Albany, and Niagara Falls.
In Canada, the Maple Leaf Service line connects Niagara Falls on both sides, stopping in Albany and Toronto.
Lyft or Uber
One of the most convenient travel options at your disposal is calling a Lyft or Uber to take you where you want to go.
You can select the route, the time you leave, and the type of vehicle that will whisk you away to your destination.
Rideshare services are more private than buses or trains but expensive.
You can also hail a taxi if you’d prefer that over a ridesharing service. The fees will be similar, so this isn’t the cheapest mode of transportation.
Book a taxi in advance, as you’re far from New York City, where yellow cabs are bountiful.
Driving Through Niagara Falls – The Best Scenic Drives
Winter, spring, summer, fall: my family has visited Niagara Falls in each season. The drives here are incredible and will set the mood for an enchanting outdoor vacation experience.
Here are my most recommended driving routes when visiting the area.
Niagara Stone Road
Regional Road 55, also known as Niagara Stone Road, in Niagara-on-the-Lake in Southern Ontario, underwent construction in 2015 between Four Mile Creek Road and Line 1.
The road work converted utilities underground, improved the design and infrastructure, and bettered the road condition.
The views here have always been exceptional, but with driving conditions better than ever, you can pack up the entire family and spend an afternoon exploring this road and its surrounding regions.
Trius Winery is one stop on your route. The scenery here is breathtakingly beautiful.
If you have older kids, you might stop at the Trius Winery Restaurant, which has upscale menu items like Atlantic halibut filet, Ontario Cornish hen, and pastrami spiced Ontario raised beef striploin.
For dessert, enjoy treats like scones and jam or the famous Niagara peach tart with honey tuile, strawberry rose sorbet, almond brittle, and honey-roasted peach curd.
You’ll also pass dozens of other wineries as you take Niagara Stone Road.
Wainfleet to Fort Erie
The drive between Wainfleet and Fort Erie is magical. You’ll reach the lake’s northeastern point, with plenty of places to stop and take in the scenery and have a picnic lunch along the way.
Depending on the time of year you visit, you might set aside some hours to explore the Wainfleet Bog, part of Southern Ontario’s Niagara Peninsula.
This wetland is the largest in the area and houses animals and plants you can’t find anywhere else.
This route is also perfect for a warm, summer day. You can make a beeline toward Port Colborne to visit the Sugarloaf Marina, which has 700 boat slips, a public boat ramp, and a fuel dock. It’s a popular spot for fishing and boating. It’s also lovely for a scenic stroll.
Continue your summer tour of Ontario by visiting its beaches. In Fort Erie, Crystal, Waverly, and Crescent Beaches are in the vicinity.
» MORE: 15 Beaches by Niagara Falls
Lakeshore Road in Niagara-on-the-Lake
Another astoundingly beautiful scenic drive near Niagara-on-the-Lake is Lakeshore Road.
Niagara-on-the-Lake is quaint and charming, and expanding beyond it introduces you to gorgeous sights, inviting wineries, and farmer’s markets.
One that I recommend is the Market at the Village, which sells unique gifts, eco-friendly home and beauty products, baked goods, jellies and jams, microgreens, frozen plant-based meals, maple syrup, honey, cheese, eggs, organic sourdough bread, and all the fresh produce you can collect.
Port Dalhousie to Niagara-on-the-Lake
You can also venture toward Niagara-on-the-Lake via Port Dalhousie, a St. Catherines community in Ontario. The 14-mile route takes you west to east.
Before you depart, you might stop at Lakeside Park, the home of the Lakeside Beach, a 1,500-foot beach.
The park also features beach volleyball courts, playgrounds, and an antique carousel the kids should enjoy taking a spin on.
Drive past wineries on your route, admiring the acreages of the vineyards. You can often find fruit stands on this route. Depending on what’s in season, you and your family can pick up some fresh plums or peaches to snack on as you drive toward Niagara-on-the-Lake.
The Floral Clock is another must-see. It’s an oversized landscaping attraction welcoming guests with colorful swathes of pretty flowers. It’s updated twice annually, and the mechanisms really work!
You can reach some of the most majestic sights around Ontario’s Niagara Falls by taking the Niagara Parkway. To the north, you’ll find Niagara-on-the-Lake, and to the south, Fort Erie.
The Parkway is an important piece of Niagara’s history, as it was built between 1908 and 1931. The route will take you to the abovementioned Butterfly Conservatory and the elegant Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens near the Great Gorge.
The gardens are only 10 minutes from the Ontario side of Niagara Falls and have welcomed visitors across its 99 acres since 1936.
That’s far from all you can enjoy along the Niagara Parkway.
Your kids will appreciate burning off some steam at the Wildplay Whirlpool Adventure Course if they’ve been cooped up in the car for a while. Prepare for aerial games aplenty, including jumping, ziplining, and climbing activities.
Ride the Whirlpool Aero Car hundreds of feet over the Niagara River, nearly touch the clouds on the Niagara SkyWheel Ferris wheel at Clifton Hill, or go deeper into Niagara Falls on Journey Behind the Falls.
Twenty Valley to St. Catharines
Wait, I’m not finished yet. Twenty Valley to St. Catherines is another alluring route.
You will see many wineries and hotels on your scenic drive, but I recommend going this way for the relaxing ambiance and Short Hills Park.
The 1,816-acre park has seven trails in all: Very Berry Trail, Terrace Creek, Hemlock Valley, Scarlet Tanager, Palaeozoic Path, Black Walnut, and Swayze Falls. The trails range in difficulty and take anywhere from 30 minutes to three hours to complete.