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Canada, Niagara Falls and Buffalo NY Trip – Please Advise

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Jan 4th, 2013, 10:09 AM
  #1
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Canada, Niagara Falls and Buffalo NY Trip – Please Advise

Hello Everyone,

My wife and I will be traveling to Buffalo New York in May for a weekend. We are also considering visiting Niagara Falls and Canada prior to the arriving in Buffalo. We will have around a week total time for the trip. Neither of us have ever been to Canada, Niagara Falls or Buffalo. It looks like Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City are relatively close to Niagara falls so I am considering flying into one of those cities, then spending some time in the surrounding area of Canada, making my way down to Niagara Falls, then ending up in Buffalo. Are there any issues for a U.S. citizen getting a rental car in Canada, driving around there, then returning it near the border or in the U.S? Is there efficient public transportation for this route if I do not get a rental car? Please recommend places to visit in this region of Canada. My wife and I are both fairly active, and we like to get out to sight-see. It would also be nice to get a diverse experience of Canada.

Thank you in advance for your responses!
VeeDubb is offline  
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Jan 4th, 2013, 01:32 PM
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First of all. flying into Buffalo is way cheaper and easier than into Canada... secondly its better to rent the car in Buffalo and return it at the end of your week...

...for only a week total you could visit Toronto,Niagara falls, Niagara on the Lake and Buffalo ...

I would do this... assuming you arrive on Monday... get the rental car and drive up to Niagara Falls... the must do attractions are Cave of the Winds and maid of the Mist and you can get a Fallsview room at a lower rate early in the week... there are both touristy and Nature things to do there.

Then consider a night or two up the road at Niagara on the Lake... home of the Shaw festival, over 70 wineries, a charming village of shops and boutiques, as well as B&B and hotel accomodations... consider a winery tour, some tastings, or a top notch meal...

On to Toronto, noted as the most diverse city in the world, for its cultures, food, shopping, amazing attractions, Broadway shows, a ride on the ferry, the waterfront and people.

Then back to Buffalo, consider the Frank Lloyd Wright tours, some wings and a funky tour through the Elmwood district...

Because Montreal and Quebec City are 8 to 10 hours away, I would save them for a separate trip.
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Jan 5th, 2013, 06:58 AM
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Totally agree with the previous post on all points.We have American cousins who fly in to Buffalo, rent a car and border cross easily to visit us in Southern Ontario all the time.
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Jan 5th, 2013, 09:25 AM
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Hello

Buffalo is probably one of the premier cities in North America for it's wealth of stunning architecture. City Hall is a perfect example of art deco (circa 1939), it is also the tallest city hall in the US. The city is undergoing a magnificent revival of the waterfront and the cobblestone area of downtown. Investors have poured hundreds of millions in new construction and have built one of the country's premier medical corridors. The University at Buffalo has also chosen downtown for its new medical school. The medical campus now employs 8,000 people. New housing had followed this trend.

Buffalo's parks system is magnificent, as are its abundance of tree, festivals, theaters, nightspots and the hundreds of restaurants to suit anyone's tastes. Downtown is located five minutes or less away from the Peace Bridge crossing into Canada. Buffalo also has several large museums that are well worth looking at. A new children's museum will soon begin construction adjacent to three new hotels and a casino, all in the downtown core. There is a small subway/trolley system.
I could go on and on. I came here from NYC and have never regretted that decision. I hope you have a wonderful time!
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Jan 5th, 2013, 12:07 PM
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I too agree with garyt22 on all points and JesusChrysler makes me want to visit Buffalo.

I've chimed in to address your question about public transportation. While it's not cheap to use and Torontonians complain about it, Toronto has one of the best public transit systems in North America. For your other area destinations, buses regularly ply from Niagara Falls Ontario to Toronto and also from Niagara Falls NY to Buffalo. Since a number of Torontonians use the Buffalo airport for cheaper airfare when flying to US destinations, there are actually relatively frequent buses from Buffalo to Toronto. You may find it interesting to learn that I've crossed the border by foot from Niagara Falls NY to Niagara Falls Ontario with my luggage rolling behind me, but this may not exactly be most people's cup of tea to connect those two dots.

In summary, public transit is better in this area than in many North American locales and you could manage without. However a rental car will give you freedom of movement and would be especially helpful if not necessary when visiting Niagara-on-the-Lake, Stratford or some Niagara region wineries if that is where you choose to make your focus. If however Toronto becomes your primary focus after Buffalo/Niagara Falls, it might be interesting to consider public transit options.
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Jan 25th, 2013, 09:53 AM
  #6
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Thank you everyone for the very helpful responses!
We will have seven days (six nights) total for the trip. We have already booked a hotel in downtown Buffalo for the last two nights. I am deciding where to stay the other four nights. I am considering staying at a Niagara Falls view room at least one of the nights, then Niagara on the Lake, and Toronto.

How many nights do you recommend staying at each location?

Also, for the falls view room, do you recommend staying on the U.S. or Canadian side?

Can you please provide hotel (or maybe a B&B for Niagara on the Lake) recommendations for each place?

Do you recommend staying in Buffalo longer? We will be completely busy one of the days in Buffalo, and will not be able to sightsee, so I am considering staying one additional night?

Thank you in advance for your responses!
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Jan 25th, 2013, 02:08 PM
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There are several Fallsview hotels on the Canadian side that offer the best view... families prefer Embassy Suites... Casino and entertainment lovers choose Niagara Fallsview Casino and Resort.. another cheaper alternative is the Oakes Hotel next to the Casino...

One night in Niagara can be fun and along with the following morning, allows you time to ride the Maid of the Mist, and spend some time wandering...

just twenty minutes up the Niagara Parkway is Niagara on the Lake(NotL) and the Niagara Wine Region... with over 75 wineries, consider a wine tour via bus, bike or grab a map and make your own tour...

NotL is also home to the Shaw Festival offering about a dozen Plays and Musicals... www.shawfest.com

There are several hotels to choose from... top end include the Prince of Wales www.vintage-hotels.com and their 6 properties... another favorite is Harbour House www.niagarasfinest.com and their three properties... all nine of these hotels are great choices... there are hundreds of B&B choices, but we prefer the amazing hotels...

On to Toronto... we usually stay at the Intercontinental on Front St(Entertainment district), the Hyatt Regency Toronto at 370 King St.(Theatre District), the Westin Harbour Castle(Waterfront, or the Park Hyatt Toronto in Yorkville(Shopping/Museum)... all are in different areas of downtown
depending on your interests...

For Buffalo activities have a look at www.buffalotours.org and www.darwinmartinhouse.org there are also two galleries on Elmwood Avenue, world famous Albright Knox and Burchfield galleries...

a
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Jan 26th, 2013, 11:56 AM
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Stay two nights in Niagara and the region, with one day spent driving the parkway to NOTL and wandering through the area until after dinner.Try dinner or lunch in Jordan at at the Inn on the Twenty- spectacular place we ate at in September.http://www.innonthetwenty.com/


Drive to Toronto ( about 2 hours in non commuter time) and spend 2 nights there.Less check ins and outs.
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Jan 26th, 2013, 12:40 PM
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In the summertime there is GO Transit which will take you from Toronto to Niagara Falls Ontario. The best view of the falls in many people's opinion is on the Canadian side.
Amtrak has a daily Maple Leaf train which starts in NYC and ends in Toronto.
As I understand it, you can't bring a Canadian rental car into the US.
http://www.gotransit.com/public/en/t.../seasonal.aspx
Check back later if the trip is in the late spring or summer.
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Jan 26th, 2013, 08:22 PM
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Hey I am planning for summer vacation in July with my family flying from Winnipeg to Toronto. The first destination will be Niagara Falls after picking up a rental car in Pearson Airpot. Will spend 2 days in Canadian side then 1 day in US side. We will drive down to Washington DC for 3 days then go to New York for 5 days. After that, we will spend 3 days in Toronto city. Rental car will be dropped off in Toronto Pearson Airport.
Here my questions:
(1) After reading the above replies that rental car cannot drive from Canada to US, I wonder who I should contact to get confirmation on this. I phoned Budget, Avis & Enterprise in Canada. I was told I am allowed to drive the rental car to US. I do not want to run into problem when I cross the border at Rainbow Bridge.
(2) If there is any public transportation that can take 4 of us (2 adults & 2 teenagers) to the cities we like to see, I would rather not rent a car. Most of hotels in big cities have parking fee. There are also toll roads in US. Any suggestion?
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Jan 27th, 2013, 07:20 AM
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My suggestion would be to take the Maple Leaf or one of the Empire Service trains from Niagara Falls NY or Buffalo to New York and then a Northeast Corridor train to Washington.
Unless you really want to drive through the NW Pennsylvania to get to Washington, consider taking the trains.
Check with your auto insurance agent about what the requirements are for driving a rental car over the border.
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Jan 27th, 2013, 07:35 AM
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There are no restrictions on rental cars crossing the border... perhaps the poster confused the "rent in Canada...drop off in US" restrictions ...

You are however correct about the outrageous parking fees, tolls and difficulty parking in the major cities...

One lower priced option used by students, travelers is Megabus... tickets are as low as $1 per person for early booking ... it is far from luxury, but pricewise, quite a bargain if you are adventurous...
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Jan 27th, 2013, 07:22 PM
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Thanks for all the replies. I will phone my auto insurance re taking a rental car from Canada then drive to the US. I have heard of Megabus & could not believe it can be as low as $1.00 per person. Does it apply to student only? How reliable is it? I have heard some places around Washington DC are not too safe. Any advice?? It is my first time to go to these cities. Do you know any of the hotels that are budget & yet are clean & safe? Thanks!
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Jan 28th, 2013, 10:04 AM
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Last summer I was able to rent an SUV in Buffalo New York and drove to Niagara on the Lake (Canada) for 3 nights before returning to Buffalo. Not sure if it works the other way around, from Canada to the US.
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