Niagara Falls Visitors FAQ: Border Crossing
- How tall is Niagara Falls?
- Are Niagara Falls the tallest in the world?
- What shape are the Falls?
- Where does all the water come from?
- How fast does water fall down Niagara Falls?
- Why is the water that shade of blue/green?
- What is that foam below the falls?
- Why do they call it Luna Island?
- What are the rock layers that make up Niagara Falls?
- How loud is Niagara Falls?
- Where did the name ‘Niagara’ come from?
- How old is Niagara Falls?
- Have the Falls ever stopped flowing?
- Has Niagara Falls the Falls ever frozen over?
- Has a boat ever gone over the falls?
- How many people have gone over the falls?
- Why isn’t the “Cave of the Winds” an actual cave?
- How far have the falls moved over time?
- How did they build the first bridge over the Niagara Gorge?
- How much of the water is being diverted for power generation?
- When and where was electricity first generated at Niagara Falls?
- Was electricity discovered at Niagara Falls?
- How many power plants are there at Niagara Falls?
- Which power station is the biggest?
- How do the power plants turn water into electricity?
- How much power is generated by Niagara Falls?
- How has power generation changed the Falls?
- What are those structures upstream from the falls?
- What does the International Control Dam do?
- How many people visit the Falls each year?
- When do they light up the falls?
- When are the fireworks?
- What Casinos are near Niagara Falls?
- What tours of Niagara Falls are available?
- Where can one play Golf at Niagara Falls?
- Where is the best view of Niagara Falls?
- What is the closest viewing area at Niagara Falls?
- How long is the Niagara River?
- What is the elevation difference between Lakes Erie & Ontario?
- When the Niagara River splits around Grand Island, does it become two rivers?
- Where is the Niagara River deepest?
- How did the Niagara Whirlpool form?
- In what direction does the Niagara Whirlpool flow?
- How deep is the water at the Niagara Whirlpool?
- What classes of rapids are in the Niagara River?
- What is Devil’s Hole?
- Where are the Niagara River Gorge walls the tallest?
Which side should I visit (US or Canada)?
This question is asked all the time. The easy answer is both, if you are an enthusiast and can extend your trip across the border. If you have visited one side in the past, maybe it’s time to sample the side you haven’t been to yet.
We try to be impartial, but the answer is clear: The Canadian side has way more to offer, with more tourist attractions, more shopping, cleaner streets, first-class hotels, better parks, less crime, and a better view of the Falls.
The US side will get you closer to the Falls and the Cave of the Winds exhibit is one of the best around. The US side also has the small, but high quality Niagara Aquarium.
While the city of Niagara Falls, New York has been on a downward spiral for decades, a recent investment from the state in rehabilitating the park, and the city’s focus in revitalizing of Old Falls Street is encouraging. Still, there’s a long way to go to come close to caching up to Ontario’s tourism industry. The attractions along the streets surrounding the park are simply outdated, tacky, and do not cater well to international crowds. Still, the place can get packed in peak season.
Do I need a passport to cross the border?
Short answer: YES
For US citizens traveling to Canada by car and returning home: Adults are required to have documents that comply with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), most commonly a U.S. passport, a passport card, a trusted traveler card such as NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST, or an enhanced driver’s license. Bring proof of citizenship for any accompanying children.
For Canadian citizens traveling to the US by car and returning home: Adults are required to have documents that comply with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), most commonly a U.S. passport, a passport card, a trusted traveler card such as NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST, or an enhanced driver’s license. Bring proof of citizenship for any accompanying children.
For Non-US/Non-Canadian citizens: There are way too many details to generalize here. Check with the US and Canadian boarder agencies and make sure you have all the appropriate documentation (including passports and visas) on hand when crossing the border.
For more information:
US citizens should visit the Department of Homeland Security’s web site for Crossing US Border.
Canadian citizens should visit the Canadian Border Services Agency’s web site for Traveling to the US.
Prepare for crossing the border by car:
Turn off radios and cellular phones when talking to border agents. Don’t joke around.
Make sure all prescriptions drugs have appropriate prescriptions labels.
Declare souvenirs as items acquired for personal use.
Declare all fruits, vegetables, plants, animals, birds, eggs, and meat products.
Declare all alcohol and tobacco products.
Declare all firearms.
Dogs older than three months must have proof of a rabies vaccination.
Agents searching vehicles is a common occurrence. A tidy vehicle makes for a quicker search.
- Remove all hats and sunglasses
- It is illegal to take cannabis across the border, even if it is legal on both sides.
What do children need to cross the border?
Children should have proof of citizenship (or permanent residents should have their permanent resident ID).
If bringing someone else’s children across the border, bring a note from their legal guardian explaining that you have permission to take them across the border. It’s also a good idea to bring the phone number for their parent/legal guardian and give them a heads-up that in rare cases they may receive a call.
Can I bring my dog/cat across the border?
Yes, you can bring your pets (dogs or cats) across the border into Canada. Pets older than 3 months will need proof of rabies vaccination signed by a vet and clearly identifying the animal. The vaccination must have occurred in the last 3 years. Pets under 3 months do not need proof of inoculation. All pets crossing the border must be in good health. Here are the official rules for the Canadian border (going into Canada)
Yes, you can bring your pets (dogs or cats) across the border into the United States. Pets older than 3 months will need proof of rabies vaccination signed by a vet and clearly identifying the animal. If the certificate has no expiration date, the vaccination date must be within one year. If the vaccination occurred within 30 days of the border crossing date, confinement regulations may apply. All pets crossing the border must be in good health. Here are the official rules for the United States border (going into the US)
Can I walk across the Rainbow Bridge?
You can cross the border through the Rainbow Bridge on foot and it offers a breathtakingly wide view of the Niagara gorge, its waterfalls and the Niagara Falls, Ontario skyline.
The 1,450 ft (442 meter) walk across the bridge costs a nominal $1 (US or Canadian) and will take about 30 minutes or more depending on traffic. At the end of the walk, you do have to pass through customs and immigration for your destination country.
What are the wait times for border crossing?
US and Canadian Governments publicize wait times for border crossing at all Niagara bridges. In our experience, in peak season the Lewiston bridge offers and reliably significantly lower wait times.
US Customs and Border Protection (passenger vehicles) border wait times for entry into the US from Canada:
- Rainbow Bridge (Niagara Falls)
- Whirlpool Bridge (Nexus Only)
- Lewiston-Queenston Bridge
- Peace Bridge (Buffalo)
Canadian Government provides a single page of wait times for going from US to Canada: