Niagara on the Lake is one of Canada's best-kept secrets. If you're planning a visit to Niagara Falls, it's well worth journeying 20 minutes beyond those amazing waterfalls to visit the charming and historic Ontario town of Niagara on the Lake.
For nearly 50 years, honeymooners and romantics of all kinds have traveled to Niagara on the Lake for the scenery, the shopping, the wineries, and to see world-class performances and well-known actors at the Shaw Festival. Perhaps the greatest attraction is the Niagara on the Lake environment itself. Small in scale, Niagara on the Lake inspires walkers, hikers, joggers, and bike riders to explore its beauty.
In season, plantings along the main street of Niagara on the Lake are lovingly tended, yielding neat beds of flowers in every color. A well-landscaped park, complete with benches for daydreaming and enjoying the sunset, overlooks the shimmering lake.
Where to Stay in Niagara on the Lake
In keeping with its small-is-beautiful ethos, Niagara on the Lake has no chain hotels or oversize lodgings. What it does have are charming and romantic accommodations, where personal service and friendliness are matters of pride. Many lodgings have a vintage flair and a long history. The best places to stay in Niagara on the Lake include:
- Riverbend Inn - casually elegant two-story inn with a saloon-style bar and good restaurant just outside of town
- Prince of Wales Hotel - historic landmark established in 1864 and located on the main street of Niagara on the Lake, this hotel features plush, beautifully decorated rooms
- Pillar and Post Inn, Spa and Conference Centre - AAA Four-Diamond property with indoor swimming pool, four-poster king-size beds, jetted tubs, and a fireplace in many guest rooms. Also experienced in hosting weddings
- Queen's Landing Inn - Georgian-style inn overlooking Niagara River and Lake Ontario
- Oban Inn & Spa - overlooking Lake Ontario, this inn has welcomed guests for more than 170 years
- Harbour House Hotel - AAA Four-Diamond property with king-sized feather-top beds, fireplace, whirlpool bath, flat screen TV, DVD player. Some rooms overlook the marina and Niagara River.
Niagara on the Lake Attractions
The town is so relaxing that you may not feel like doing more than strolling the small boutiques along its main street, antiquing, playing a round of golf, or picnicking by the lake. Should you be inspired to see more, check out:
- Shaw Festival - one of the largest repertory companies in North America, the Shaw Festival mounts productions in three Niagara on the Lake theaters from April through December
- Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours - exciting speedboat tours that travel to the whitewater of Devil's Hole Rapids one half mile below Niagara Falls
- Niagara Apothecary Museum - authentically restored 19th-century pharmacy on the main street
- Fort George - National Historic Site recalling the War of 1812. Visitors can tour Soldiers Barracks and Officer's Quarters.
Come Drink the Wine
The climate in Niagara on the Lake is ideal for grape growing. As visitors approach Niagara on the Lake from the Falls via the picturesque Niagara River Parkway, they pass miles of vineyards dotted with wineries. Many yield award-winning wines and also host tours and tastings.
The Niagara region of Ontario, Canada is currently the most widely respected producer of ice wine. Made from the last grapes of the season remaining on the vines, ice wine is a sweet dessert wine with a rich, golden color. After a taste, you'll want to take a few bottles home as a souvenir or gift.
Notable Niagara on the Lake wineries in this Napa of the Northeast include:
For More Information
Visit the Niagara on the Lake Chamber of Commerce online. In person, you can get directions, pick up brochures, use the restroom, and exchange currency.
Visiting Wondrous Niagara Falls
Since no trip to the region is complete without seeing Niagara Falls, plan to include a trip to the honeymoon capital when you're in the region. The water is truly astounding, the Niagara Falls casinos can be fun, and the honky-tonk attractions a hoot. Then, when you're ready for a serene and scenic getaway, head north, to savor the lovely little village of Niagara on the Lake.