Niagara on the Lake: The Most Charming Small Town in Canada

Happy Travel Tuesday Loves! (Okay so you’re 100% reading this Wednesday thanks to the thunderstorms that knocked out my internet!) Are you ready to talk about the most Charming Small Town in Canada?! I’ve been DYING to share this place with you since June when I first stepped foot in the place that is literally the embodiment of the word “charming” in the dictionary.

Imagine spending a weekend in a place where the downtown looks like this:


The B&Bs look like this:


The Parks look like this:

Terrible photo of us… but that Gazebo is straight outta Stars Hallow!

The Restaurants look like this:


And the Wine looks like this:


That would be a pretty dang perfect weekend, right?!

So let’s leave the real world behind and step in the the magical land of wine, food and the friendliest wizards (Too weird? Oh well. You we’re supposed to be reading this on Harry Potter’s Birthday.) Canadians you’ll ever meet. ‘Cuz this place is magic.

Getting There. Niagara on the Lake is just a short 20 minute drive from Niagara Falls. It literally couldn’t be easier to find, and if you take the “back way” it’s a really nice country drive! But if you want more exact information, below you’ll find it straight from NOTL’s website 🙂

Situated on the south shore of Lake Ontario at the mouth of the Niagara River, Niagara-on-the-Lake is easy to reach via highway from all of Ontario and the northeastern USA.
Latitude: 43’15.76″ north
Longitude: 79’04.07″ west
[Toronto] [USA] [Air] [Water] [Bus / Train]
From Toronto and destinations east/west via QEW:
Follow QEW towards Niagara. After crossing the Garden City Skyway at St. Catharines, exit QEW at 38B, follow the Niagara-on-the-Lake signage onto Highway 55. Take Highway 55 12km (7mi) northeast until it ends at Queen Street. A right turn will take you into the Heritage Business District.
From New York State and USA destinations:
Via Buffalo: Take the QEW to exit 38 and follow the signage onto Highway 55 and into town as above. OR – follow the signage at the Peace Bridge to the scenic Niagara Parkway and follow it from Fort Erie right into Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Via Niagara Falls:  Cross the Rainbow Bridge and follow signage to the Niagara Parkway north to Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Via Lewiston: Cross the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge, take Regional Road 89/Glendale Exit and follow signage to Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Via Detroit: Take Highway 401 and 403 to Hamilton, Ontario and then follow directions above from Toronto down the QEW to Niagara-on-the-Lake.
By Air: Nearest major airports are Toronto, Ontario and Buffalo, New York. Niagara Airbus transportation is available from both cities. Niagara District Airport: 5,000 ft. runways, fully lighted, with instrument approach. Transport Canada Flight Service Stations, customs, aircraft parking and maintenance. Call (905) 684-7447 or Fax (905) 684-2433.
By Water: A large and completely equipped marina is situated at the mouth of the Niagara River within walking distance from the centre of town. For information call (905) 468-3966.

WEGO: The shuttle service operates from May to October between the Niagara Parks Commission’s Floral Clock (Niagara Parkway in Niagara Falls) and Fort George (Niagara-on-the-Lake). The shuttle departs the Floral Clock at 10:30 am, 11:30 am, 12:30 pm, 1:30 pm, 2:30 pm, 3:30 pm and 4:30 pm. The shuttle departs Fort George at 11 am, 12 pm, 1 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm, 4 pm and 5 pm (last departure depends on The Shaw performance schedule).

$12.00/adult, round trip, $8.00/child, round trip.

Niagara GO Transit:
Go Transit service available from Toronto to Niagara via train, leaving from Union Station arriving at St. Catharines VIA Rail Station, then by bus to the Niagara-on-the-Lake drop off located at the corner of Picton and King.

Available weekends and holiday Mondays only from Friday, July 3 to Monday, September 7.

Year-round bus service available with drop off at Fairview Mall in St. Catharines. Transfer service available by St. Catharines Transit to either Niagara College or the Outlet Collection of Niagara, from there via Niagara-on-the-Lake Shuttle. Please visit for up-to-date scheduling.

Fare: Adults: $20.60 each way. Children (6-12) and Seniors over 65: $10.60 each way.

Where to Stay. No matter where you stay in NOTL, you will love it. Why? Because you’ll probably be close to downtown and to the vineyards! (Yay for not having to find a DD!) NOTL is BURSTING with adorable bed and breakfasts that are just waiting for you to check into! You’ll also find the Prince of Wales hotel (Harry wasn’t there y’all. I looked.) which is legit straight out of Europe, and you’ll even find some quaint country inns! And of course, don’t forget about VRBO.

Superb photo by my husband.

Where to Eat. If you’re look for world class dining options, this is the place. You’ll have 5 Star restaurants for every exceptional palate. But, if you’re like me, and you prefer something a little more casual, make yourself at home at The Harp Irish Pub. I honestly don’t think you’ll find a more cozy pub anywhere in Canada. We snuggled in by big stone fireplaces with locals and tourists alike to enjoy delicious burgers (my dad says their Black and Tan Burger is the best burger he’s ever eaten), traditional Irish fare and cold brews.

This pub is just the cutest!




And for dessert… pick up your favorite Canadian Candies and candy from the past at the candy shop!


Where to Drink. Sorry guys… you’ll just have to come back next week to find out the answer to this one 🙂


What to Do. Take a Wine Tour (or 12), visit vineyards, drink, rent bikes, shop, relax on Lake Onatrio and eat… a lot!

Here we are just about to leave for “The Greatest Wine Tour”!

And wherever you stay/eat/drink/play in NOTL, you will leave looking like this:


Because it really is one of the greatest small towns you’ll ever visit!

Have you been to NOTL?! What are your favorite spots?! Next week… we’re talkin’ WINEEEE. So if you like wine, be sure to subscribe! That way, the post will be delivered to your inbox the second it goes live 🙂

Looking for other great things about the Niagara Falls area? Check out my previous posts below!

10 Reasons Niagara Falls Should Be Your Next Vacation

Everything You Need To Know Before You Book a Trip to Niagara Falls!

Niagara Falls: The Adventure Pass

Niagara Falls: Where To Stay, Eat + Play

And since this post is going up today, no #WhatUpWednesday! Don’t worry, we’re not missing much. My life is just really chaotic right about now. I’ll be back tomorrow for a collab that I PROMISE you won’t want to miss! Especially if you’re a fan of DIY projects, organized kitchens, and Farmhouse decorating style!

Have a fantastic rest of your Wednesday everyone!


9 thoughts on “Niagara on the Lake: The Most Charming Small Town in Canada

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