All four of these bridges are convenient for visitors to southern Ontario, including to Niagara Falls, Niagara wine country and Toronto. Note that flying into Buffalo may be cheaper than flying into Toronto, so check your flight options.
Which bridge you take may depend on whether you want to shop duty free, if you have a NEXUS pass and what the wait times are for each crossing.
Choosing Your Border Crossing
Don't blindly trust Google or your GPS and car navigational systems, which tend to route vehicles to Canada at Lewiston Queenston - probably because of the easy major highway access.
All four border crossings get you into southern Ontario with ready passage to all its destinations, such as Niagara Falls, Niagara wine country and Toronto.
Avoid huge lineups, which can run up to 2 hours at busy times, by checking the numerous overhead road signs that alert you to bridge delays and other road conditions. In addition to checking signs for border wait times you can tune into AM radio station 1610, call 1-800-715-6722 or check the Canada Border Services website.
Long wait at the border you were going to cross at? Quick, switch to another crossing.
The Lewiston Queenston Bridge connects Lewiston, New York and Queenston, a community in the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, 5 km north of Niagara Falls, Canada.
Lewiston Queenston is one of the busiest U.S./Canada border crossings and, along with the Peace Bridge in 28 km (45 mi) away in Buffalo, the major border crossing for commercial trucks in the area.
The primary U.S. highway leading to Lewiston Queenston Bridge are Interstate 190 and Route 104. The primary Canadian highways feeding the Lewiston Queenston Bridge are the QEW (Queen Elizabeth Way) and Highway 405.
The Whirlpool Bridge is a dedicated NEXUS-only crossing so everyone in the car will need to have a NEXUS card to use this crossing.
The Whirlpool Bridge connects downtown Niagara Falls, N.Y. and the old downtown of Niagara Falls, Canada.
- Commercial trucks are not permitted to cross at Whirlpool
- No duty free shopping is available at the Whirlpool Bridge border crossing.
- Open 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
The Rainbow Bridge is for non-commercial-use only, so this is a popular tourist crossing. It connects the tourist areas of Niagara Falls, N.Y. and Niagara Falls, Canada and is the most direct route to the Niagara Fallsview Casino. Summer weekends are particularly congested.
The main U.S. highway leading to the Rainbow Bridge is Interstate 190. The primary Canadian feeder is the QEW (Queen Elizabeth Way), exit 420.
- Dedicated NEXUS lanes U.S.-bound only
- Duty free shopping on site
- Pedestrian crossing
The Peace Bridge connects the cities of Buffalo, N.Y. and Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada. Over one-mile long, with only three car lanes, Peace Bridge wait times can be long, especially on weekends or during special events like a Buffalo Bills game. However, the Peace Bridge remains popular with travelers and is close enough to the other area border crossings that you can switch border crossings as soon as you determine how long your wait is by signs, listening to 1610 AM radio, or checking the Canada Border Services website.