The falls is a combination of three waterfalls - the biggest being the Horseshoe falls, entirely on the Canadian side, separated by Goat island to the American falls, and the Bridal veil falls which is separated from the other falls by Luna Island.
There are a couple of ways to get to Niagara falls. Catching a flight to Buffalo, New York, which is about 17 miles away from the falls is one option on the American side. The other option is driving from Boston or New York as we chose to do as it provided flexibility and a new experience driving on the other side of the road, coming from Australia! The entire drive took about 10 hours in total and we made it to the USA side of the falls just in time for a sunset view.
It was quite a nice sight, the tower and buildings of Ontario on the other side forming a contrasting backdrop to the amazing natural beauty of the falls. However, perhaps from media hype etc. we weren't as impressed initially as we thought.
You can walk along the top of the falls and closer to the horseshoe falls along the park, or to the bridge on the other side to get a better look at the horse shoe falls from over the river.
From the American side, you can experience a slightly more cross sectional view of the falls, particularly a closeup of the American falls, but the true magnificence and size of the falls can only really be seen from the Canadian side, which is what we did the following morning.
The American side of the falls has an information centre where you can view a video at several times of the day about the history of Niagara falls, as well as a shop and an office where you can book your boat cruise ticket called 'Maid of the Mist' which starts at 9am everyday.
Furthermore, there were a couple of Indian restaurants at the American side of the falls, where you can enjoy a buffet style dinner, before driving across the Rainbow bridge into Canada. The traffic along this bridge can be quite thick, but was a little lighter late at night and possible early in the mornings too. You will need your passport, as you get stamped each time you cross borders.
The next morning, about 50 metres down the road from our hotel, The Holiday Inn, Ontario, on Friend street, we woke up to the majestic sight of the falls seen literally from top of the street. As we went closer, we realised more and more its true magnificence as the mist parted and we felt the water being sprayed onto our faces from that distance. We walked along the railed escarpment to get the best angles of the falls- from here you can see the horseshoe falls up close, and the American falls front on, and therefore the views are absolutely fantastic.
If you only have a choice of seeing one or the other of the American or Canadian falls, definitely recommend the Canadian side. As we preferred not to have to cross the border for the boat cruise on Maid of the Mist, we chose the Hornblower, which is a new cruise started from the Ontario border just about a year ago. My personal feeling is that the experiences are probably almost identical - you get given a waterproof poncho - beware you will need it to prevent yourself getting completely drenched!
The cruise takes you close up to each of the falls and the side of the cliffs where you initially don't notice the vast number of birds perched optimally to secure some food. It was a surprising sight. Definitely recommend bringing a waterproof camera so you can click away and not worry about it getting damaged. We managed to get some amazing photos near the falls.
There were also free fireworks over the falls that particular weekend so make sure you ask about any special events. There are also some fantastic outlet malls in Niagara and also on the drive back to USA that you can take advantage of for some great deals on brands.
You can also choose to purchase a cruise ticket with an adventure ride if you wish or enjoy a cultural program in the evening. Several tour companies also operate these areas, so you may contact them for deals including accommodation, however my personal preference is to rent a car and drive- it's worth it!
Definitely a once in a lifetime experience to be enjoyed. You'll love it.