If you have a chance, visit Niagra Falls!
The Falls are nothing short of MAGNIFICENT! You stand in awe of the pure power of the water dropping over the face of the Falls and pummelting into the river below. And the best part is the close proximity to the Falls you can attain on the Maid of the Mist boat.
If you are ready to make a fashion statement, the Maid of the Mist is the way to go. When entering the boat, you are issued a bright blue 'poncho' (ie. a plastic garbage bag with a hood!). Now, don't take it the wrong way, you NEED the plastic poncho! The other option is soaked clothing for the rest of the day!!!
The Maid of the Mist is a not-to-be-missed adventure. You are transported to the foot of the falls and get close-up-and-personal with the water and the feeling of power.
While some of the surrounding area is a bit glittzy, it is easy to turn your back and view the Falls as the early explorers might have seen it. Photo opportunities abound all through the Niarga River gorge, both above and below the Falls. You are amazed at the placid appearance of the River unil it nears the Falls where it becomes a raging torrent. Some of the flow of the River is reduced by dams in an effort to reduce erosion and to provide electrical power. However, the dams do not reduce the beauty of the Falls in any way.
While it is possible to drive to Niagra Falls, I recommend a tour. We chose a Gray Lines tour commencing in Toronto. The tour provided transportation on a top quality bus complete with air conditioning, restroom facilities and a very knowledgable tour guide. The guide is one reason I recommend the tour. His knowledge of the area definately made the ride more enjoyable. En-route, in addition to an on-going narrative about the passing area, we stopped at a regional winery and enjoyed a wine-tasting. Although the bus was prohibited from stopping, we traveled through the picturesque community of Niagra-on-the-Lake. This community, in an effort to retain its 'small town' identity, is quite restrictive of the types of business allowed in the down-town area. It appeared to be a shopper's paradise!
In addition to the transportation to the Falls, our tour included dinner. I must admit, my expectation of dinner on a tour consisted of the usual 'brown-bag' sandwich, chips, cookie and soda. What a surprise!!!! Our dinner was a buffet meal at the Sheraton Hotel. Dinner was served in the Penthouse, although it is no longer on the top of the hotel, with an awesome view of the Falls! Simply fantastic!!!!
Our tour was a day/evening combination and I would recommend this combination. You have the opportunity to see the Falls at their natural best plus viewing it with the benefit of lights in the evening. Best of all, during the summer on weekends, there is a fireworks display over the Falls! The fireworks were some of the best I have seen. For the cost of the tour, approximately $85.00/person, I would not consider driving in the heavy traffic.
All in all, it was an excellent day and a not-to-be-missed day trip. The nearest RCI resort affiliate is in Barrie. Barrie is a little more than an hour away from Toronto so if you use the tour to get to the falls, this is a do-able adventure for a guest of that resort.