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How Much Does It Cost to Visit Niagara Falls? (Plus Budgeting Tips and Tricks for Families)

I don’t mean to brag, but I’m good at saving money when planning a vacation. As a family of seven, I have to be.

how much does it cost to visit niagara falls

Stretching my dollars as far as they can go helps me keep the kids entertained and save some cash for the next vacation.

Taking a trip to Niagara Falls is already a cost-effective vacation destination from both the American and Canadian sides.

How much should you plan to spend on a vacation here?

A vacation to Niagara Falls costs several hundred dollars for activities, whether you stay on American soil or visit from Canada. You can save money by booking your trip early, camping at a nearby park, and seeking free activities.

This guide will reveal how my family saves money when visiting Niagara Falls so you can plan a low-cost vacation with fun for children of all ages.

How Much It Costs to Visit the US Side of Niagara Falls

Beautiful, larger than life, breathtaking: New York’s Niagara Falls must be seen to be believed. Visiting won’t put a drain on your wallet, but exactly how much will you spend to explore this piece of American history?

Let’s unpack the prices.

Parking Fees

With 11 parking lots scattered about Niagara Falls, where you park plays a huge role in what you’ll pay.

Parking Lots 1 and 2

You can select from four parking spots in Niagara Falls State Park. Parking Lot 1 is near the Niagara Falls Visitor Center and costs $10 to $15 to park. The prices are $10 Monday through Thursday and $15 Friday through Sunday. 

Parking Lot 2 is near Goat Island and costs the same.

Parking Lots 3 and 4

Parking Lot 3 is adjacent to Lot 2 and offers reduced-price parking for $10. It’s sometimes free and depends on how busy the area is. 

Parking Lot 4 is near the Schoellkopf Site Elevator and the Niagara Gorge. It’s always free and will fill up the fastest. It only has 100 spots, so get there early.

A credit card must be ready, as the paid lots do not accept cash payments. You can also use alternative means of paying, such as the Golden Pass Program, the Empire Pass, or the Liberty Pass.

The Golden Pass Program is for New York residents 62 and up. The pass grants free parking at many state parks on weekdays (but not holidays), including Niagara Falls State Park. You must also have a New York State Driver’s License when using your pass.

The Empire Pass is available annually, multi-seasonally, or for life. You can use this paid pass to save money on parking and other fees when visiting New York State Parks.

An Empire Pass Card costs $80 for the year, $205 for three seasons, and $320 for five seasons. A digital Empire Pass shaves the above fees slightly, as a year costs $72, three seasons is $197, and five seasons cost $312.

A lifetime Empire Pass Card costs $750 and doesn’t expire.

A Liberty Pass is also good for life but only applies to disabled New Yorkers and veterans. The pass grants access to recreational facilities, historic sites, and state parks through the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation.

City Parking

You can also park in the City of Niagara Falls, with the City Parking Ramp on 365 Rainbow Boulevard costing $20 per day on Mondays through Thursdays and $30 on Fridays through Sundays and holidays.

The Niagara Street Lot between First and Third Streets has the same rate as the Rainbow Lot between First Street and Rainbow Boulevard.

You can rely on street parking if the lots are full, but the meters charge $5 an hour and only allow four parking hours at a time. This might be enough to see Niagara Falls in full, but you must account for time to get to and from the site.

If you don’t mind a hike, you can also park at the Seneca Niagara Resort and Casino on 310 4th Street. This costs $5 for valet parking. The Aquarium of Niagara on 701 Whirlpool Street has $5 parking.

One Niagara Welcome Center on 360 Rainbow Boulevard is a private-owned lot that costs $25 for all-day parking.

Alternative Transportation

Did you fly into Niagara Falls and still need to get around? You don’t require a car to do it. You’ll spend $2 to ride the NFTA-Metro; day passes are available for extended stays.

You can also take the Blue Line, aka the Discover Niagara Shuttle, which travels throughout New York for over 10 miles from Youngstown to Niagara Falls. It’s free to ride!

Entrance Fees

Niagara Falls State Park does not charge an entrance fee.


You can bring food into Niagara Falls State Park, which is the most cost-saving approach, but the park also has onsite restaurants.

The first is the Top of the Falls Restaurant, a full-service dining experience on 30 Goat Island Loop Road that’s open from 11 a.m. to 5 or 6 p.m. depending on the season.

The menu includes grilled chicken skewers and house-made Bavarian pretzels as starters, salads and sandwiches, burgers, and three signature desserts. 

Your options are Loganberry crème brulee, New York-style cheesecake, and chocolate cake. Beverages are also available, although nothing alcoholic.

The starters cost $11 to $17 each, and the average price of an entrée is close to $20. Desserts cost about $9 on average, and drinks $4 on average.

Cave of the Winds Snack Bar serves ice cream, pizza, French fries, and grilled sandwiches.

Nearby Attractions

Since viewing Niagara Falls doesn’t take all day, families often seek to explore nearby attractions. Here is a rundown of what you can do on the New York side of Niagara Falls and the accompanying costs:

» MORE: Cave of the Winds at Niagara Falls State Park (US Side)

Expected Budget

Most of the attractions around Niagara Falls in New York are free, including visiting the park itself.

However, between parking, food costs, and the prices for activities like the Aquarium of Niagara or Cave of the Winds, I’d recommend a budget of $75 to $100 per person.

This doesn’t include the cost of travel to get there or a place to stay once you do.

How Much It Costs to Visit the Canadian Side of Niagara Falls

The Canadian part of Niagara Falls is home to some of the most compelling attractions in North America, but what will it cost you to enjoy them? Here is more information to help you plan your family getaway.

Parking Fees

You will find no shortage of parking options around Niagara Falls, Ontario.

For most of the metered or gated parking areas, you can expect to pay between $15-$20 for the day.

Here’s a complete list of the parking lots.

  • Falls Parking, aka Lot A, 6635 Niagara Parkway – Gated parking
  • Floral Showhouse Parking, aka Lot B, 7145 Niagara Parkway – Metered parking
  • Rapidsview Parking, aka Lot C, 7651 Niagara Parkway – Metered parking
  • Queen Victoria Place, 6349 Niagara Parkway – Metered parking
  • Dufferin Islands, 6345 Dufferin Isle Road – Metered parking
  • Kingsbridge Park, 7870 Niagara Parkway – Metered parking
  • Rainbow Bridge, 4348 Hiram Street – Metered parking
  • White Water Walk, 4330 River Road – Metered parking
  • Whirlpool Aero Car, 3850 Niagara Parkway – Free seasonal parking
  • Whirlpool Parkette, 4280 Niagara Parkway – Metered parking
  • Fisherman’s Parking Lot, Niagara Parkway – Metered parking
  • Thompson Point – Adventure Wildplay Course Lot, 3500 Niagara Parkway – Metered parking
  • Butterfly Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, 2565 Niagara Parkway – Metered parking
  • Niagara Glen & Nature Center, 3050 Niagara Parkway – Metered parking
  • Queenston Heights Park, 14184 Niagara Parkway – Metered parking
  • Old Fort Erie, 350 Lakeshore Boulevard – Free parking
  • McFarland House, 15927 Niagara Parkway – Metered parking

Alternative Transportation Methods

WEGO is one of the most popular ways to travel around Niagara Falls and surrounding Ontario destinations. 

A 24-hour pass for children three to 12 is $8, and $12 for kids 13 and up and adults. You’ll pay $12 for a children’s pass for 48 hours and $16 for adults.

Consider riding the Niagara Regional Transit across Ontario. NRT is free for kids 12 and under and costs $3 for kids older than 12 and adults.

Entrance Fees

Niagara Falls, Canada, does not charge an entrance fee.


Are you eager to fill your belly after a deeply satisfying exploration of Niagara Falls? The Canadian side has far more dining options. Here’s a rundown with estimates of what you’ll pay to dine there.

Nearby Attractions

The attractions on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls are nonstop and never-ending. Here is a rundown of what you can do in the area and what it will cost you. All prices are in CAD.

» MORE: Ferris Wheel at Niagara Falls – When to Ride, and For How Much (Plus What Else to Do in the Area)

However, not everything in the area is necessarily costly. Don’t miss my post on free activities to do around Niagara Falls if you’re eager to save.

Expected Budget

Due to the abundance of available activities on the Ontario side of Niagara Falls, I recommend a steeper budget than when visiting the American side.

I suggest at least $300 per person if your kids want to play at the arcade, go for a round of mini golf, and enjoy other attractions and dining.

Tips for Making a Trip to Niagara Falls More Affordable

Visiting Niagara Falls is a smart way to save on your next family vacation, but you still have more options for pocketing change here and there. Here are my favorite pointers for a low-cost Niagara Falls stopover.

Use the Adventure Pass

The Niagara Falls Adventure Pass is a godsend for keeping your children entertained without bleeding your wallet dry. Some call it the Wonder Pass, and others the City Pass, but it’s awesome by any name.

» MORE: The Niagara Falls Adventure Pass – Your Biggest Questions Answered

So what is the Adventure Pass? It’s your ticket to seeing more attractions around Ontario’s side of Niagara Falls without paying full price.

You can select from three versions: the Adventure Pass Classic, Adventure Pass Plus, and Niagara Falls Pass. The prices start at $59 (CAD, about $45 USD) and go up to $99 per pass.

I recommend the Adventure Pass Plus for the most bang for your buck. It slashes the prices of activities around Niagara Falls by more than half!

Here’s a rundown of what you can save on with the Adventure Pass Plus:

Look for Free Activities

The abundance of free activities awaiting you on both sides of Niagara Falls is reason enough to visit. Many state parks on the New York side are free, and outdoor attractions in Ontario are too.

Every park, amusement, attraction, and activity has a website these days, so you can confirm pricing before telling your kids what the day’s itinerary is.

Pack Meals and Snacks

What do you do when hunger strikes? It’s only a matter of minutes before your well-behaved toddler begins having a hangry meltdown, so you must think fast.

Packing snacks and meals ensures you don’t have to wait in long lines. If you have picky eaters, they can have their favorites no matter where you are, which will surely be comforting to them.

Book Early

Will you fly to either side of Niagara Falls rather than drive? I can’t stress enough the value of booking your flight (and lodging, for that matter) early. You can usually get some good deals, and you’ll have one less stressor on your plate.

Of course, if you totally blank on the flights, the next best time to schedule a plane is at the last minute. You might be able to slash your flight prices because airlines are eager to fill up seats. However, you and your family might not sit together on the flight.

Camp Out

Expensive hotel prices get you down? You don’t have to put the kibosh on your dreams of visiting Niagara Falls. Instead, stay in a park and camp out under the stars!

You might pay slightly more to park in an RV or trailer versus a car or truck, but it’s worth it. You and the kiddos can disconnect from your phones and spend meaningful time in nature with each other.

Lock in your camping spot early if you plan to lodge at a park, as once the spots are gone, they’re gone. Also, be aware of how cold it can get in Niagara Falls, and plan accordingly.

For example, I would not advise you to go camping in the middle of the winter.