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Old 04-03-2014, 01:57 PM   #1
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Question Niagara Falls and Customs?

Hi All,
DW and I are planning a trip to stay in Niagara Falls Ontario traveling from Illinois and was wondering if there is anything I should know or be prepared for when going thru Customs with a Motorhome.
We have our Passports just not sure what to expect.....

Thanx!
Dave
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Old 04-03-2014, 02:21 PM   #2
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Niagara Customs

We were there last year, but not in a Motorhome. Drove a rental car and stayed in a hotel. The wait time in line was long, and when we were at the border entrance, we were through fairly quickly. Be prepared to answer silly questions, like "why do you want to see Canada?" Or, "what are you going to buy while in Canada?" The Customs agents like to throw you off.

I do remember a Motorhome off to the side, being inspected. I guess you should just let them do what they want. But its really not an issue as far as we could see. Enjoy the trip, its awesome !!!
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Old 04-03-2014, 02:22 PM   #3
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I'm Canadian, but I just crossed into the US at Niagra falls and back into Canada recently. It's pretty painless. Have your passports, answer the questions they ask truthfully, keep your answers brief, and you should be fine. I wasn't sure what food I was allowed to take across the border, so we crossed with the fridge empty and bought groceries on the other side. Into the US they usually ask if you have any meat and fruit, into Canada they ask if you have any alcohol or tobacco at least if you are Canadian. The US customs agent asked me to open the side door so he could see my kids, but that was it. Oh and our gun laws are much stricter in Canada, so if you have a gun you might want to leave it at home.
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Old 04-03-2014, 02:24 PM   #4
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By the way, are you actually crossing at niagra falls? It might be quicker to cross at Detroit or Sarnia and drive through Canada to Niagara Falls (although gas is more expensive in Canada). There are several bridges, so you can check wait times online and pick the fastest one.
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Old 04-03-2014, 02:35 PM   #5
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Hi PGD
Thanx for the info, That was another question in my mind, which way to go, thru Pennsylvania or Michigan.....Only 50 or so miles difference....
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Old 04-03-2014, 02:52 PM   #6
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Hi PGD
Thanx for the info, That was another question in my mind, which way to go, thru Pennsylvania or Michigan.....Only 50 or so miles difference....
I just google mapped it. It offers up three routes. Two through Sarnia and one through Ohio and PA south of Lake Erie. Not much difference in distance and time. The roads are good on both sides, so it might depend if you plan to spend any time on the US side of Niagara Falls. You might also consider taking one route on the way there and a different route on the way back for variety. Depending on when you plan to go, there is also a ferry between Point Pelee Ontario and Sandusky Ohio. I've never taken the ferry myself, but I was thinking about a trip around Lake Erie and stumbled across it. Probably not the fastest way to get there, but taking a ferry might be a novel adventure.

Ontario Ferries - Pelee Ferry About Us
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Old 04-03-2014, 03:05 PM   #7
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Appreciate it PGD!
That link to the Ferry does seem like a Novel Idea!
Not sure which way I will take, but have enough time to plan it out
Again, Thanx my Friend!
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Old 04-03-2014, 04:36 PM   #8
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Have a good trip which ever way you intend to go, and if you do end up taking the ferry I'd love to hear about it.
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Old 04-03-2014, 04:45 PM   #9
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Thanx, I will keep you in mind and let you know if we do the Ferry!
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Old 04-03-2014, 05:54 PM   #10
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We went to Niagra last year, we crossed in at Port Huron, painless, they didnt even come inside, use the auto lanes, they say no fruits no weapons, no pepper spray, 24 cans/bottles of beer max, If your going to Niagra we stayed at the Koa, the shuttle picks you up right in front, my insurance company said i should have called them and they would have sent different cards, i also just turned off our cell phones, The guy camping next to us crossed in at Detroit, and got searched and fined for to much alcohol. I set my cruise at the speed limit, didnt want a ticket in another country, when we came back, a little more of a hassle, problem finding the right bridge, really tight squeeze at the crossing, they came aboard and searched quickly and checked the trailer, while in Niagra eat at the Skylon reasturant, pricy but way cool, have fun
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Old 04-03-2014, 07:03 PM   #11
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Thanx Frutza
Great Info as we do plan to stay at the KOA,
And we will definitely check that Restaurant out!
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Old 04-03-2014, 08:24 PM   #12
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We crossed at Port Huron - Sarnia two years ago, and there was major construction to enlarge the border crossing facilities.

Quote:
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By the way, are you actually crossing at niagra falls? It might be quicker to cross at Detroit or Sarnia and drive through Canada to Niagara Falls (although gas is more expensive in Canada). There are several bridges, so you can check wait times online and pick the fastest one.
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Old 04-03-2014, 08:53 PM   #13
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Customs has computerized system triggers that picks random sacrificial RV lambs that must be searched in every space. But, it only takes about 40 minutes. Just have nothing to hide. ;-)
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Old 04-03-2014, 09:16 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Lovin2Camp View Post
Hi All,
DW and I are planning a trip to stay in Niagara Falls Ontario traveling from Illinois and was wondering if there is anything I should know or be prepared for when going thru Customs with a Motorhome.
We have our Passports just not sure what to expect.....

Thanx!
Dave
We went to Niagara Falls last July. From Iowa through Illinois we went up the western side of Michigan and crossed into Canada at Sault Ste. Marie. We had our 14 year old granddaughter and two cats with us in our motorhome. Crossing the border is like going through a toll booth. We handed over our passports and he glanced at them. The questions were pretty basic like "how long you going to be here", "where are you going", "any liquor or tobacco with you". We weren't searched and he was ready to wave us through.

Then he asked me if I had any guns. I always have handgun with me in the motorhome, but it is always locked in a case, unloaded and in a dresser drawer. I had forgotten to leave it at home, duh! So I told him that yes I had one that I had forgotten. They appreciated my honesty.

Well, I had to pull over and they told me my options. One was to cross back to the US and mail it home or they would safe keep it for me for up to 45 days and I could come back and get it anytime before then. This they conveyed to me very politely and helpfully. I told them thanks and that I would amend our travel plans and be back to get it.

We went on through Ontario through Sudbury and re-entered the US at Lewiston, New York. We stayed at the Niagara falls/Grand Island KOA on the US side. We did the US side of the falls first then crossed over the Rainbow Bridge on foot to the Canadian side and back again.

We then came back through New York/Pennsylvania/Ohio and then back up through central Michigan to St. Ignace where we camped and I drove the toad up to Sault Ste. Marie and got my handgun back from the Canadians.

We then went through the U.P. Michigan/Wisconsin/Minnesota and back to Iowa. It was a great trip and we all really enjoyed it. All in all I crossed into Canada three times and back into the US three times. No problems at any any crossing. No searches, just glance at the passports and ask a question or two and wave you through.

The Canadian border patrol people are very business like and polite and they welcome you to their country (and so are the US Customs agents). Each time I came back into the US I thanked the agents for the job that they were doing in keeping our borders safe and secure.

Canada Welcomes You!

Travellers - Visitors to Canada

Picture of our site at the Grand Island, NY KOA:
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