We’re almost halfway through summer, but luckily there is still an abundance of warm weather to come. Summer, cottages and Thornbury Craft Cider and Beer were made to be together. To celebrate this match made in heaven, we’re highlighting a few of Ontario’s magnificent cottage hubs. First on our list is the area that first comes to the mind of any Ontarian when he or she thinks “cottage country”: Muskoka.
The region of Muskoka extends from Georgian Bay in the West, the Northern tip of Lake Couchiching in the South, the western border of Algonquin Park in the east, and up past Huntsville in the North. Its boundary lines alone suggest great excitement and hours of outdoor exploration to behold. With 1600 lakes to discover and it being a short commute from the city, it is easy to see why the area gets over two million visitors annually. People are drawn to the rugged landscapes, tall trees, and the serenity of the lakes. Muskoka has three main lakes – Lake Muskoka, Lake Rosseau, and Lake Joseph – and a bounty of smaller lakes with beautiful shorelines for people to plant their Muskoka chairs and enjoy a season watching the sun set on the water. The district includes the towns of Bracebridge, Gravenhurst, and Huntsville, the regions around Georgian Bay, Lake of Bays, and Muskoka Lakes, as well as the native lands of Wahta Mohawk Territory and Moose Point 79. With so much to discover, it is no wonder people go back year after year for generations.
Map Courtesy of Google Maps
With so many lakes, water activities are at the top of the list of things to do in the area. Grab the kids and rent a boat, jet-ski, or canoe and enjoy the scenery around the water. Fishing, waterskiing, and tubing are classic cottage experiences that even those without a cottage or boat can participate in through resorts and rental facilities. Of course, the real cottage experience is all about getting on the bathing suit and jumping in the lake! With over 30 beautiful beaches, Muskoka is a great destination for swimmers and tanning lovers. It’s an easy day trip, if you can’t commit to a whole weekend away.
Another water option is a boat cruise. There are six boat cruise companies in the district that help you to change your perspective. Whether a sightseeing tour or a dining cruise, you will see the most spectacular sights while you cruise along the area’s lakes. Take a ride on the oldest operating steamship in North America with the Muskoka Steamships & Discovery Centre, owners and operators of the R.M.S. Seguin, the 125 year old steam ship. The Muskoka Steamships also do great family theme trips to keep the kids interested. The Noah’s Ark cruise brings wildlife education to your children with live animals on board, The Pirate Cruise will have your kids talking like a pirate long after the cruise ends, and the Frozen cruise will probably leave you singing “Let it Go”. The Muskoka Steamships & Discovery Centre is located in Gravenhurst, but other great cruise companies can be found throughout the district.
Arrowhead Provincial Park, Photo Courtesy of Ontario Parks
Water isn’t the only attraction to discover in Muskoka. With 11 provincial parks, one national park, and countless acres of crown land, protected land, and regional parks, it is a good place to go for a hike or a mountain bike ride. Arrowhead provincial park in Hunstville has been given a TripAdvisor certificate of approval and is listed as the #2 attraction in the Muskoka District. Arrowhead has self-guided trails, many of which are suited for casual hikers. And the lake there is motor-boat free, so it is the perfect spot to portage in your canoe or teach your family how to kayak.
With great restaurants, lots of shopping, top rated golf courses, festivals, art shows, and 10 museums, theatres, and cultural exhibits Muskoka is a place that has something for everyone. Check out discovermuskoka.ca to start planning your getaway today.
Other highlights of the area include Santa’s Village in Bracebridge, where Santa spends his winters. Here you will find rides, a reindeer petting zoo, splash pad, and more. Nestled around Santa’s Village are the Muskoka Zip Line and Aerial Park and Sportsland, great places to bring the older kids.