For us, riding on the tour boat Maid of the Mist was close enough to get to the power of the falls and all that water! We were given given flimsy, blue ponchos that whipped up and out when we got near from the wind generated by the falls, but they helped a little. We first rode along the smaller American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls. We boated past Goat Island, which separates the American and Canadian sides of the falls. Hundreds of seagulls nest on the side of the island; their cries piercing the sound of falling water. Then we rode up into Horseshoe Falls, the largest of the three. Spray rained down on us. The Maid of the Mist was at full-power barely holding her position. There, in all that commotion among the standing waves, George noticed a cormorant diving for dinner as if nothing was happening—right off our bow!
We also took the Cave of the Winds tour. An elevator ride takes you down 175 feet. You don provided sandals and a poncho then walk close to Bridal Veil Falls. In the 1800s people could stand behind the falls. Now you must settle for getting within 20 feet of the cascading water on the Hurricane Platform. That gets you wet enough and, in fact, can soak you!
The falls has moved backwards about seven miles through erosion. Now that it is back to Goat Island that rate has slowed, probably more because half the water is taken out during the day to generate hydroelectrical power, with even more at night. Someday, though, the falls will move back far enough to drain Lake Erie.
We took a tour from our RV park. We didn't have to fool with parking our vehicle and we learned a lot about the area and history from our guide. However, you can easily drive down, park and explore. Niagara State Park is a lovely park with plenty of paths for walking or biking. You can park and walk across Rainbow Bridge to Canada. Just make sure you bring proper I.D. so you can return. A passport is advised, if you have one, though it is not yet a requirement.
In any case, if you are close to Buffalo, New York, put Niagara Falls on your itinerary. Even if you get drenched, you won't be sorry! Jaimie