Toronto to Niagara Region

Who's Ready For a Road Trip?

4-5 Days
326 km • 4 hours, 29 minutes

Burlington • Hamilton • St. Catharines • Niagara Falls • Niagara-on-the-Lake

Day 1:

Toronto, Ontario
Toronto to Burlington, ON (47 minutes, 64km)
Burlington to Hamilton, ON (6 minutes, 4.5km)
Hamilton to Vineland, ON (48 minutes, 53km)
Vineland to St. Catharines, ON (25 minutes, 29km)
St. Catharines to Niagara Falls, ON (18 minutes, 17 km)

Depart after breakfast to miss the Toronto “rush hour” traffic and enjoy your leisurely drive along the Queen Elizabeth Way (commonly called the QEW).  Your first stop along your tour is the Royal Botanical Gardens.  The gardens are Canada’s largest botanical garden incorporates untamed and cultivated landscapes.  Comprised of 3 different locations, start your visit at the RBG centre at the hub of the Gardens! Visit the restaurant and gift shop, and catch the free shuttle bus (operates seasonally) to the other garden areas.  Depending on the time of the year you can see various blooms such as spring flowering bulbs, orchids, poinsettias and more!  Dress appropriately to be outside and don’t forget your camera to catch the flowers as they bloom.  Perfect picture location!

A short drive from the RBG is a Canadian heritage site not to be missed.  Dundurn Castle, part of Dundurn National Historic Site and the magnificent home of Sir Allan Napier MacNab, one of Canada’s first premiers. Discover mid-19th-century Hamilton on your tour of more than 40 rooms on three floors. Experience life in a grand country home: for the MacNab family and the servants working below stairs.

Leave time to browse in the Museum Gift Shop, featuring Canadian handmade crafts, souvenirs and special gifts. Enjoy a visit to the Hamilton Military Museum and the restored Kitchen Garden, all located in Dundurn Park.

Depart Hamilton and make your way along the QEW towards the Niagara Region and make sure to look left over Lake Ontario to see if you can catch a view of the Toronto skyline including the CN Tower.  Keep moving towards Niagara and stop in St. Catharines at the Welland Canal Centres, Lock 3.  You won’t get any closer to a Great Lakes Ship unless you’re a sailor yourself! See ships from around the world – UP CLOSE – as they navigate Lock 3 on their way through the St. Lawrence Seaway System. The observation desk is always FREE.

Back in the car to your final destination, accommodations in Niagara Falls!  You have your choice of hotels that overlook the falls, Clifton Hill properties, waterpark resort hotels, Lundy’s Lane properties or traditional Bed & Breakfast nooks.

Enjoy a nice relaxing night preparing for a fun-filled day of attractions tomorrow!

Day 2:

Niagara Falls (all located within the city)

Awake early this morning, as you have a long, eventful day ahead of you! Start your morning off with a big breakfast at any one of Niagara’s breakfast stops and head off to a day of attraction fun. “Must-do” things when in Niagara Falls:  Hornblower Cruises (May – October), Niagara Parks Commission – Journey Behind the Falls, falls viewing at Table Rock, ride the yellow bug up the Skylon Tower for lunch and spectacular views of both the American Falls and the magnificent Canadian Horseshoe Falls, the falls story comes alive at the Imax Theatre where you will learn about the history of the falls and the daredevils that have braved the icy waters (don’t forget to stop in at the Daredevil Gallery located at the Imax where you can see, feel and take pictures with the actual barrels that have gone over the falls). Spend an afternoon at Clifton Hill taking in the Guinness Book of World Records, Ripley’s Museum, the Skywheel and scare yourself silly at haunted houses such at Nightmares!  Don’t forget to flock to the Bird Kingdom located at the Niagara Falls Aviary right beside the Rainbow Bridge. Enjoy a relaxing tour through a tropical rainforest.  Don’t forget your camera for pictures of tropical birds and reptiles such as toucans, macaws, frogs, lizards and you can even feed the rainbow lorikeets!

After a couple long days of adventure relax at the Fallsview Casino in their 365 lounge with live entertainment available 3 nights a week.

If you are travelling with kids, your must-stop attraction is Great Wolf Lodge, adding a day to your trip to experience a Great Wolf Lodge adventure is worth it. Begin your day in a massive, 84-degree indoor water park. Splash away in over 100,000 square feet of water-packed excitement, including jaw-dropping slides for thrill seekers or zero-depth entry areas for little ones. Outside the water park, the fun continues. Get an ice cream-themed manicure in Scooops Kid Spa before gathering your family in the Grand Lobby for nightly fireside Story Time, the perfect ending to a Great Wolf day is in a wolf-den cabin!

Day 3:

Niagara Falls to Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON (28 minutes, 21km)

Awake early this day, check out, grab a bite to eat to start your day right, and start the morning with a leisurely drive along on the Niagara Parkway. Enjoy the views of historical homes along your left and the Niagara River on your right. On the opposite side of the river is the United States, so close you think it would be easy to cross but with the Niagara River moving anywhere from 25 to 5 miles/hour it is more difficult than it looks. Want to get a closer view, take a Whirlpool Jet Boat Tour departing from Queenston, ON or Niagara-on-the-Lake departing May through October. This experience is a once in a lifetime opportunity for you to brave a Class V rapids onboard a 1500 horsepower, turbo diesel engine boat. Take the Jetdome and stay dry while enjoying the sites or for the more adventurous take the Wet Jet and get absolutely drenched while loving every second of it.

After you have dried off, take a nice walk through the old town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. Visit the shops, dine at one of Niagara’s fine restaurant along the strip or just bask in the beauty and if it all looks a little familiar; try to remember how many movies you have seen the town in?

Visit Fort George and hear about the War of 1812 and the Niagara Region’s importance in it and you can even visit the first parliament house in Upper Canada, Navy Hall circa 1792 – 1796.

Before checking into your hotel or bed & breakfast for the evening try “Happy Hour” at what is labelled “Canada’s oldest operating Inn.” Established in 1789 and rebuilt in 1816 after the War of 1812, The Olde Angel Inn is a favourite among locals and tourists alike. Boasting a lively English-style pub, dining room and Snug room, as well as 5 guest rooms and 2 cottages, The Olde Angel Inn is decorated in old world decor, including 3 gas fireplaces, one in each of the 3 dining areas. Enjoy the great food, great rooms and endless hospitality. Who knows, you may even have a run in with the resident ghost – Captain Swayze. Don’t forget to visit the bathroom when you are here!!

Day 4:

Niagara-on-the-Lake to Toronto, ON (1 hour, 45 minutes, 152 km)

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast and pick up any last minute gifts for family and friends back home and start your journey back to Toronto. Along the way back to the QEW make sure to stop in at some great local fruit stands, wineries, cheese monger stores and more!

Hotels Available in the Area

Nigara Falls Accommodations

Horseshoe Resort Crowne Plaza Hotel Niagara Falls – Fallsview
Great Wolf Lodge
Sheraton-on-the-Falls Hotel
Skyline Waterpark Hotel
Travelodge Niagara Falls
Americana Waterpark Resort
Vine Ridge RV and Camping Resort, Niagara-on-the-lake
Yogi Bear Jellystone Parks Niagara

Note: Some attractions are seasonal. Please contact them directly for hours of operation. Distances are approximate only.