Best Muskoka Summer Activities 2023
(For Weekends & Weeks)
Summer Things To Do In Muskoka & Huntsville
What are the first things that come to mind when thinking of summer: splashing in the lake, ice cream, cold beers, patios, outdoor adventures, fresh produce, and warm lazy afternoons are it. This is the definition of summer, and all can be enjoyed on a vacation in Muskoka.
Many ask when is the best time to visit Muskoka. Truthfully, there is no best time to visit, as Muskoka has so much to offer in every season. However, summers are definitely very special and popular in this region. After all, Muskoka’s slogan is “Once discovered, never forgotten” which could not be more true; and this article will show you exactly why.
We believe everyone should experience the magic of summer in Muskoka and have put together a complete and carefully curated guide of the best things to do, to make it easy for you to plan an unforgettable Muskoka vacation depending on how long you plan to stay.
IF YOU ARE STAYING FOR A WEEKEND…
Rent a Muskoka Cottage With a Hot Tub
Cottage rentals with hot tubs are the way to go if you want a relaxing and luxurious cottage stay. Muskokacottage.com is one such property that offers guests a spacious lakeside hot tub. Chilly summer evenings are perfect for a hot tub soak while sipping on a favorite drink and taking in the beautiful lake view.
Relax in the Cottage Muskoka Room
Muskoka Room is a popular and special feature of cottages in Muskoka. It is usually set up with large screens as an indoor/outdoor space where guests can enjoy beautiful nature and fresh air while lounging on comfortable plush furniture.
Renting a cottage with a Muskoka Room will mean you can take a refreshing break from the warm summer sun or cozy up with a book while listening to the summer rain.
Go for a Paddle on the Lake
Muskoka is famous for its lakes, so when visiting in the summer, it is an absolute must to take a dip in its pristine lakes. Another fun way to explore the lakes is by taking a kayak, canoe or paddleboard.
Muskokacottage.com provides guests with a great choice of water toys so that guests can get on a kayak or stand-up paddleboard right off the private dock.
Suppose the property you are staying at does not provide watercraft access, or you would like to explore specific lakes or rivers. In that case, many places around Muskoka offer kayaks and stand-up paddleboard rentals.
Algonquin Outfitters Huntsville
Algonquin Outfitters is located in the heart of historic downtown Huntsville and backs onto the Muskoka River. The store sells an extensive selection of outdoor gear and offers kayak, canoe and stand-up paddleboard rentals. The great location of the store makes it very easy and convenient for customers to explore the Muskoka River using the water equipment available for rent.
Algonquin outfitters also have another location just outside the western entrance to Algonquin Park.
This location has Canada’s largest lightweight rental canoe selection and a wide selection of kayaks for rent.
This store is conveniently located close to canoe route access points, making it easy for customers to obtain their canoe or kayak rental and begin exploring Algonquin Park.
Liv Outside Bracebridge
Liv Outside is another great place to rent a kayak, canoe or stand-up paddleboard. It is also conveniently located on the Muskoka River, providing easy access to the water and great paddle routes. They also offer guided tours, a great way to get the most out of your paddle experience.
Sample Muskoka Breweries
The Muskoka region has been experiencing a craft beer boom and is home to several famous breweries.
Visiting these Muskoka Lakes breweries is a perfect way to spend a relaxing summer afternoon or evening with family and friends. Below is a list of some of Muskoka’s best breweries that you should include on your Muskoka beer tour.
Muskoka Brewery was one of the first craft breweries in Muskoka. It has an in-house production facility, shop, and tap room and offers free tours. Muskoka Brewery tours are available to visitors from Wednesdays to Sundays.
We recommend trying a Muskoka Brewery stout, as they are well known.
The Muskoka Brewery Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout and the Muskoka Brewery Salty Caramel Truffle Stout (made in collaboration with the famous Kawartha Dairy ice cream maker) are a must-try.
Muskoka Brewery has something for everyone, even if you are not a beer drinker, as they also have a distillery producing excellent small-batch Muskoka Brewery gin and refreshing Muskoka Brewery seltzers that come in a variety of delicious flavors.
The shop offers great merchandise to bring home as souvenirs, such as Muskoka Brewery hats and clothing. You can also buy beers to take back to the cottage, and we recommend getting the Muskoka Brewery variety pack, as it features all their best and most popular beers.
Muskoka Brewery also hosts various events in the summer and early fall. Check their website for details. Some of Muskoka Brewery event include live music performances and sponsored running races.
Sawdust City Brewing
The Sawdust brewery is in Gravenhurst and features an in-house canning facility, retail store and tap room. The Sawdust core beers are well known, but they also offer seasonal and limited-batch beers to satisfy every beer connoisseur.
The brewery tap room is known for its stylish design and has live music entertainment every Friday and Saturday night, making it the perfect place to gather with family and friends.
Sawdust brewery is also a very popular small wedding venue in Muskoka, as it has a beautiful event space with a rustic yet elegant Muskoka décor.
Lake of Bays Brewing Company
Guests staying in Muskoka’s delightful area have a range of splendid brewing companies to contemplate visiting, and Lake of Bays Brewing Company is one of the best. Beer enthusiasts can take part in a tour of the brewery, which is also home to a taproom and bottle shop (ideal for picking up a gift for friends and family or buying oneself a refreshing souvenir). For those serious about beer, kegs can also be bought (but should be ordered at least a fortnight in advance). Beyond the brewery, Lake of Bays also operates a pair of restaurants: Huntsville Brewhouse and Bracebridge Barrelhouse (both are open every day of the week).
Address: PO Box 17, 2681 Muskoka Rd. 117, Baysville, ON P0B 1A0
Canvas Brewing Company
The Canvas Brewing Company (established in 2020) is a relative newcomer to the brewing world. While new, it’s also a sizeable operation with a facility home to multiple patios (including one on the roof), a taproom, thousands of square feet of event space and, of course, the brewery itself. Various brew types are on the menu, from IPAs to wheat beer, red ale, and lager, though the signature beer is Canvas Kolsch (as the name suggests, this was inspired by a German lager). The time of year also affects the drinking list, as many creations are seasonal. Canvas Brewing Company is incredibly convenient for guests of Muskoka Cottage, as its downtown Huntsville location means it’s only a 15-minute drive from the property.
Address: 12 John St, Huntsville, Muskoka ON P1H 1H2
Clear Lake Brewing Co.
Founded by Greg Knight, Rob Wilson and Kit Redding in mid-2017, Clear Lake Brewing offers a little bit different from the standard brewery at its Muskoka Beer Spa. From May to October, day visitors can, as the website says, ‘detox, retox, and relax’ with the many facilities on offer. These include hot tubs, pools, saunas, cabanas, hammocks, dump buckets, and beer gardens. In addition, visitors can be pampered with massages, mani/pedis and facials. On the beer side of things, among the drinks produced are American IPA, including a taste of tropical fruit. Session Ale also provides a lower alcohol alternative for drinkers after something a little more laid back. Drinks can be found at the CLBCo Tap Room & Kitchen, serving food from noon onwards.
Address: 4651 Southwood Rd, Torrance, ON P0C 1M0
Cool Down with Muskoka’s Best Ice Cream
Summer is not summer without ice cream. Memories of ice cream outings with family and friends on warm summer evenings are those you will cherish forever.
Muskoka does not have a shortage of great ice cream. Below are our recommendations for the best ice cream shops.
Belly Artisan Ice Cream
Founded by chef Shelley Westgarth, Belly Ice Cream is not only delicious, but it’s also an all-natural and handmade treat laced with creativity and care. The ingredients used are local and of the highest quality, emphasizing freshness and low emissions from transport. The commitment to freshness extends to a no-storage approach, with every batch of ice cream made fresh when needed. Belly Ice Cream is also very low on air, just 30% (compared to a standard of 60-80% and a high of 110%), making the ice cream denser and richer. Over a dozen flavors are available, from Belgian Dark Chocolate and Salted Caramel to the aptly named Muskoka Smores.
Address: 88/90 West Road, Huntsville, Ontario P1H 1M1
Affogato Café & Gelato
Open seven days a week, Affogato Café & Gelato offers a mouth-watering menu of sensational treats, including authentic gelato, specialty coffees, Italian pastries, and gluten-free, vegan, and dairy-free options. The splendid array of gelato items on the menu can vary according to the season and may include vanilla strawberry cake, slices of log cake, and bars/bites. In addition to these wonderful treats, visitors can also take advantage of a smorgasbord of alternative culinary creations, including handcrafted chocolates and beverages from London Fog to Italian soda. A fantastic array of cakes is ideal for those with a sweet tooth, whether one prefers chocolate cake, blueberry cheesecake, or lemon cranberry loaf. The main problem diners face deciding which of the excellent ice cream and other treats to pick.
Address: 72 Main St E (Riverfront Entrance), Huntsville, Ontario P1H 2C7
Family firm Kawartha Dairy has been going strong for almost a century, with its 80th anniversary celebrated in 2017. Despite that impressive longevity, the firm remains in the same family’s hands today as those that began it in the early 20th century. Today, Kawartha Dairy operates from 10 stores. The most convenient for guests in Muskoka Cottage is the Huntsville shop. Ice cream aficionados can help themselves to tubs ranging from half a litre to 11.4 litres. The flavor range is extensive, from the very Canadian taste of Moose Tracks to the delicious demise offered by Death by Chocolate. Fruity fellows and ladies may prefer Black Raspberry Thunder, while coffee fans will want to try Muskoka Mocha.
Address: 178 Hwy 60 Huntsville, Ontario P1H 1C2
The Nutty Chocolatier
Handmade truffles and Belgian chocolates made with premier cocoa make The Nutty Chocolatier a must-visit shop for chocoholics or when buying a gift for someone who is. In addition to absolutely top-tier chocolatey goodness, the store also makes handcrafted fudge and has an ice cream and coffee bar where cold and hot mingle perfectly. Belgian chocolates include almond bark, cute pecan turtles, and truffles made with neither preservatives nor gluten. The Nutty Chocolatier has proven a popular place, having scooped over 57,000 tubs of ice cream at the time of writing, and with more than 40 flavors of jellybeans, there’s something to please every palate.
Address: 65 Main St E, Huntsville, ON P1H 2B8
Ice Dreams Soda Shop
Ice Dreams Soda Shop is the headquarters of Lucky Duck Fudge, making it the perfect place for dairy connoisseurs to find multiple tantalizing sweets. The shop sells perennial favorites of vanilla, chocolate, maple fudge, and more complex varieties. These include Heavenly Goo (vanilla, caramel, and chocolate), chocolate peanut butter swirl, and chocolate cranberry fudge. And it’s not only the high-quality fudge that attracts customers but the high-quality service, with online special orders enabling fudge fans to customize what they buy. On the ice cream side, visitors can enjoy generous portions and a great selection, with hot chocolate available too. And those with four-legged friends can take advantage of special ice cream dishes made with dogs in mind.
Address: Ice Dreams Soda Shop, 3131 Muskoka District Road 169, Bala, ON P0C 1A0
IF YOU ARE STAYING FOR A WEEK…
Rent a Boat
Renting a boat is one of the best ways to enjoy the lakes of Muskoka and take in everything the region has to offer. Muskoka has a very extensive boating culture and infrastructure. Many of Muskoka’s lakes are equipped with lakeside attractions, such as restaurants and bars that can be easily accessed by boat. Many of the top Muskoka resorts can also be visited by boat to enjoy their facilities. Pull up to the JW Marriott Resort on Lake Rosseau for a drink and a possible celebrity sighting.
The historic downtown of Huntsville can also be visited by boat from its surrounding four lakes.
Finally, many of the lakes in Muskoka are connected via rivers and locks, allowing boaters to explore the region by water. All of this makes Muskoka one of the top boating destinations in the world.
We have selected a few of the top Muskoka boat rental companies to help you plan your boating adventure.
Northern Lakes Marine
Watercraft rentals are popular in the Muskoka region thanks to the abundant number and variety of bodies of water in the area. Visitors interested in watery fun can find a range of options from Northern Lakes Marine, both in Muskoka and other locations. The boats are delivered to one’s lake of choice at no charge. These luxury boat rentals come in over two dozen models, giving holidaymakers plenty of options. Examples include the family-friendly Tahoe Q3 (an 18′ seven-seater) and the Rinker 200 MTX (Tower), which comes with 220 hp and is a favorite of water sports enthusiasts.
Address: 1006 Theatre Rd, Gravenhurst, Ontario, P1P 1R3
Lake of Bays Marina
Located east of Huntsville, Lake of Bays Marina offers snowmobile rentals. It has a golf simulator suitable for all ages, but its main attraction is when it comes to boat rentals. These are appropriate for various activities, including pontoon boat rentals, bowriders, and water vessels designed with fishing in mind. In addition, jet skis, also known as personal watercraft (PWC), can be hired. During the summertime, Lake of Bays Marina plays host to the Water Sports Academy, which helps newcomers to discover the water activity that suits them best, such as surfing, skiing, or wakeboarding. The Academy can be booked for an hour for $375, a half-day at $1,000, or $2,000 for a full day. Rental prices range from $400 to $4,500 depending on the boat type and the number of days.
Address: 1170 Port Cunnington Road, Dwight, Ontario, POA 1HO
Mary Lake Marina
Mary Lake Marina is the only marina on the eponymous lake. It provides boat rentals not only there but to numerous other bodies of water (Lake Muskoka, Lake Joseph, Lake Rosseau, Lake of Bays, Lake Vernon, Fairy Lake, and Peninsula Lake). Both boats and jet skis are available for hire from Mary Lake Marina. Among the models that holidaymakers enjoy renting are Glastron, Tahoe, Four Winns Bowriders, Pontoon boats, and Lund Fishing boats. Rental prices vary according to model and time, with one day of the Lund Fishing boat costing just $150.
Address: 105 Fitzgerald Dr, Utterson, ON P0B 1M0, Canada
Matchless Adventures Inc.
Matchless Adventures Inc. is a watercraft rental firm with a confident name, and there’s a lot to like about this Gravenhurst-based outfit. Founded in 2020, holidaymakers can take advantage of boat rentals, boat tours, and water sports by adding wakeboards, tubes, or skis. Among the luxury boat rentals are jet skis, such as the Seadoo Spark Trixx ($325 for two hours) and the Deck Boat 19′ ($390 for two hours). Pontoon and fishing watercraft are also available, and it’s worth noting that the price declines (on an hourly basis) the longer one rents a boat, so it makes sense to make a day of it.
Address: 900 Bay Street, Gravenhurst, ON P1P 1Z9
Muskoka Boat Rentals
Last but not least on our watercraft rentals list is Muskoka Boat Rentals, which has been operating for over a decade and a half. This firm covers a large area, including (but not limited to) Lake Muskoka, Lake Joe, Lake Rosseau, Lake Simcoe, and Lake Ontario. More than 150 watercrafts are available for hire, and pricing is based on a sliding scale (with a lower per-hour cost the longer the rental period). The Sea-Doo GTX/GTR – 230 hp jet ski costs $499 for two hours but $699 if rented for eight hours, by way of example. In addition to jet skis are bowriders (with and without towers), pontoon boat rentals, and ski/wake surf boats.
Address: 165 Steamship Bay Rd, Gravenhurst, ON P1P 1Z9
Zip Around on a Jet Ski
Renting a Jet Ski is another fun and exhilarating way to get on the water and explore the lakes of Muskoka.
Depending on which lake you are riding, you can discover some beautiful hidden bays or admire the gorgeous cliffside mansions, then pop into downtown Huntsville for a bite on one of the waterfront patios.
If you are looking for jet ski rentals in Muskoka, check out our guide to some of Muskoka’s sea doo and jet ski rental companies here.
Go on a Hike
Fresh air and the great outdoors are abundant, of which there are many. Hikers who prefer a stern test or want a leisurely wander through the beautiful countryside can soon find what they want. Muskoka best hikes cover terrain including mixed forest and island, with distances varying from under a kilometer to trails that can take an entire day. And whether adding a hike to a day of other activities or spending the whole day walking, the incredible views and beautiful natural scenery make every hike special.
We have put together a list of Muskoka’s best hiking spots.
Arrowhead Provincial Park
One of Muskoka best hiking routes is the one in Arrowhead Provincial Park. It has umpteen activities to enjoy throughout the year, and one of the best is hiking. Lovers of the great outdoors have a substantial variety of distances, from the short stroll of Big Bend Lookout (rewarded with panoramic views of the beautiful Muskoka countryside, including the river) to the moderately challenging 7 km trek of Beaver Meadow Trail (2-hour approximate completion time). Multiple trails in between cover 1-3 km, making Arrowhead Provincial Park an excellent place to stretch one’s legs if seeking an easy or moderate walk.
Address: 451 Arrowhead Park Rd, Huntsville, ON P1H 2J4
Algonquin Provincial Park
Algonquin Provincial Park is an enormous and beautiful location brimming with hiking trails. Huntsville Algonquin Park has over 20 hiking trails, with the shortest being the 20 minutes of Scorch Lake Lookout Trail (which is more complex than it sounds due to the steep incline) and the longest being the four to five hours needed for the 11 kilometers of Mizzy Lake Trail. If any gear needs acquiring, then Huntsville Algonquin Outfitters is conveniently close to the park and has an excellent range of outdoor goods, such as clothing, footwear, camping gear, water sports equipment, and more. In addition, hikers can slake their thirst and sate their appetites at the Huntsville Algonquin Café, whether at the day’s end or as a pit stop between hikes.
Address: Ontario 60, Ontario K0J 2M0
Georgian Bay Islands National Park
Georgian Bay Islands National Park offers something different from previous hiking locations, as all the trails are located on Beausoleil Island. In addition, the island’s wetlands are home to extensive biodiversity, with significant species including turtles, snakes, and amphibians. So, in addition to the general hiking dictum of staying hydrated and wearing good boots, hikers here should also ensure they have plenty of bug spray. The longest of the trails is the windy Georgian Trail, at 7.1 km, with the 6.9 km Huron Trail a close second (and one that winds its way through the splendid beech-maple forest). Medium trails include the Dossyonshing and Fairy Trails (2.5 km), while the Portage and Heritage Loops Trails are under a kilometer.
Address: 2611 Honey Harbour Road, Honey Harbour, ON P0E 1E0
Hardy Lake Provincial Park
Although it’s a non-operating park (biking, camping, and motorized vehicles are forbidden), Hardy Lake Provincial Park is still a great place to go hiking for those staying in Muskoka. Spread geographically, Muskoka best hiking trails range from easy to challenging. The eponymous Hardy Lake Provincial Park Trail is a circular route of a meaty 8.7 km. It is a moderately challenging trail that typically takes over two hours to complete. Dogs are welcome, provided they are on a lead, and the high chance of mud means boots should be waterproof to avoid soggy sock syndrome. Pleasant waterside views are an added perk of this hike. Alternative trails within the park include the more accessible 3.2 km of the Hardy Lake Short Loop and the middle distance (5.5 km) Hardy Lake B Loop.
Address: Highway 169, Torrance, ON P0C 1M0
Fans of Fairy Lake can feast their eyes on incredible views from the summit of Lions Lookout in Huntsville. The trail begins at the intersection of Forbes Hill Dr and Camp Kitchen Road (by the Active Living Center at the Canada Summit Center). The trail follows the Muskoka River along Camp Kitchen Road before arriving at the aforementioned lake, with a steep slope in the latter stages. Although only short, at 1.5 km, the trail does have sharp inclines, so be aware of that ahead of time. Once at the top, the reward for aching knees after the short but steep trail is a wonderful view, making it an ideal place to stop for a rest.
Address: Lookout Rd, Huntsville, ON P1H 1R1
Walker’s Point Lookout Trail
For those who prefer hikes to be quick and easy, Walker’s Point Lookout Trail provides both. This so-called out-and-back style trail is a single kilometer in the distance, and its ease means it’s suitable for just about every hiker out there. Walker’s Point Lookout Trail also has generally low levels of foot traffic, so those who like to be alone while hiking may enjoy this aspect too. After a climb to the eponymous lookout point, a stunning vista awaits visitors who want to drink in sight or take some souvenir photographs.
Address: 1470 Walkers Point Rd, Torrance, ON P0C 1M0
Windsor Park in Bala
Windsor Park is a beautiful and family-friendly park located in Bala, Muskoka. The park offers stunning lake access, making it an ideal spot for swimming, boating, and other water activities. During the summer months, visitors can enjoy the exciting waterski show presented by Summer Water Sports, which takes place on Tuesday evenings at 7 pm. To get the best view of the show, it’s recommended to arrive early and secure a good parking spot. Even in the fall, Windsor Park is a great spot for a rest and a walk with the dogs. Overall, Windsor Park is a must-visit attraction for anyone looking to explore the natural beauty of Muskoka and enjoy some family-friendly activities.
Address: 3070 Muskoka District Road 169, Torrance, ON P0C 1M0
Parry Sound Fire Tower Lookout (the best views!!)
Once abandoned, Parry Sound Fire Tower nowadays offers some of the best views in the area. In 1966 the tower network was rendered obsolete for fire detection by radio and aircraft, and in the 1970s, the tower was closed due to safety concerns. More recently, it has been improved by creating the nearby West Parry Sound District Museum and the Tower Hill Heritage Garden (located at the tower’s foot and maintained by volunteers). The tower is 30 meters high and offers panoramic views of the surrounding area for those who clamber up the 130 steps to the top.
Address: 19 George St, Parry Sound, ON P2A 2R2
Huckleberry Rock Lookout Trail
One of the oldest hiking loops in the region, Huckleberry Rock Lookout Trail has been a favorite lookout spot for hikers for more than a century. At just under 3 km, the route should take less than an hour to complete and is one of the more accessible hiking trails in the Muskoka area. It’s also among the most popular, so sociable walkers will enjoy meeting skiers, bikers, and other hikers. Dogs, if on a lead, are also permitted on the trail. Open throughout the year, June and July can see the flies make an appearance, so other months are generally preferred.
Address: 1057 Milford Bay Rd, Bracebridge, ON P1L 1X4
Website (unofficial): https://www.alltrails.com/trail/canada/ontario/
Dorset Lookout Tower
The Dorset Scenic Lookout Tower Park is one of Muskoka’s best hiking opportunities. However, visitors to the area should be aware that this trail may be closed over winter, so check ahead of schedule to avoid disappointment. Although the trail is only a couple of kilometers, this looped hike is a challenge, ending with 25m of steps up the fire tower from which spectacular views of lakes and forests await. Earlier in the trail, walkers can enjoy strolling through mixed forests, but the degree of steepness means some level of fitness is required.
Address: 1191 Dorset Scenic Tower Rd, Dwight, ON P0A 1H0
Spend the Day Fishing
Muskoka is renowned for its natural beauty, with many lakes and ponds. Beautiful to behold, they are also havens for water sports enthusiasts, including fishing. Muskoka has all the angling opportunities you will need if you prefer ice fishing, boat fishing, or staying firmly on land.
Three Mile Lake
A significant advantage of cottage rentals Ontario ice fishing is that Muskoka is a very convenient place for this frosty angling. Among the Muskoka best places to fish is Three Mile Lake, where anglers can rent an ice hut for $45 per person (midweek, $50 per person at the weekend) with HST included from Muskoka Shores Ice Rental. There’s nothing quite like the crisp chill, peace, and quiet while enjoying one of Muskoka’s best fishing spots. Fish species found at Three Mile Lake include smallmouth and largemouth bass, perch, and pickerel. Just remember to wrap up warm.
Location: 1046 Cowan Park Rd, Utterson ON
No cottage rentals Ontario fishing list would be complete for the Muskoka area without including Lake Muskoka itself. Lake Muskoka is one of Muskoka best fishing spots. The water is deep and cold and has a lot of fish for anglers. Walleye, pike, and smallmouth bass make their home in Lake Muskoka, offering some of Huntsville best fishing opportunities. One option is to take a boat out, either to use it as the fishing platform itself or to reach one of the multiple islands suited for angling (the waters around the aptly named Treasure Island and Ontario Fire College are both excellent for pike). A mainland alternative is Bear Bay, towards the south, where anglers keen on pike or bass often achieve success.
Location: Gravenhurst, ON
Peninsula Lake has several fish species for anglers to try and find, including northern pike, smallmouth bass, and largemouth bass. Huntsville Peninsula Lake fishing can be done from multiple locations around the lake itself, or you can hire a boat for fishing more centrally. The lake has two boat launches, and (as mentioned above) there are many boat rental firms in the area. One of the best on-land spots for fishing is just north of North Portage, on the southern side of the lake. Other nearby attractions include Hidden Valley Highlands Ski Area and Deerhurst Highlands Golf Course.
Location: North Portage, Ontario P1H 2J6
Grab Fresh Produce at a Local Muskoka Farmers Market
Nothing tastes better than sinking your teeth into local produce, and the small farms of Muskoka have helped create multiple farmer’s markets for residents and visitors alike to enjoy. While food is the main item on the menu, the local craftsman also plies their wares, including metal and woodwork. Operating hours are broadly similar, but many markets are open on different days, making it easy to call in several during a single week.
Huntsville Farmers Market
Huntsville Farmers Market, located in the northwest part of Huntsville on Ravenscliffe Road, is one of the most convenient locations for cottage holidaymakers to find fresh and local produce through the Summer and early autumnal months. Huntsville Ontario Farmers Market offers a range of vendors from the Ontario region and opens from mid-morning to early afternoon every Thursday throughout its calendar window. Local delights, such as cheese curds, granola, fresh peaches, and cherries, draw both residents and visitors looking to buy something special.
Location: 407 Ravenscliffe Rd, Huntsville, ON P1H 1L7
Hours of Operation: Thursdays, 9 am to 2 pm (June to October)
Rosseau Farmers Market
With a stated mission of providing the local area with fresh Ontario produce and supporting small farmers, the Rosseau Farmers Market operates from the waterfront of Rosseau. The market was first established in 1999 by married couple Lynnis Royea and Ernie Sainsbury and ran (on Fridays) from late June until mid-September. Every day it’s open, thousands visit the 80-plus vendors, with full-time vendors reinforced with guest vendors sometimes. In addition, the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend features the Thanksgiving Market in Rosseau’s Community Hall. Available for sale is everything from honey to smoked meat, virgin oil from Italian orchards, metalwork, candles, jewelry, and more.
Location : 1175 ON-141, Rosseau, ON P0C 1J0
Hours of Operation: Fridays, 9 am to 2 pm (June to September)
Bala Farmers Market
The Bala Farmers Market, held in Jaspen Park from late June to early September, hosts vendors with local and handmade goods to sell. It’s well-placed for visitors to the Muskoka region and holidaymakers in Toronto (only 90 minutes to the south of the market), with Gravenhurst 25 km away. Fresh fruit and vegetables are a favorite, including plums, blueberries, and tomatoes, while fine cheeses and delicious meats tantalize the taste buds too.
Location: 1005 Pine Ridge Rd, Bala, ON P0C 1A0
Hours of Operation: Mondays, 9 am to 2 pm (June to September)
Brooklands Farm, also known as the 6th Generation Riley Family Farm, has been a beloved staple of the community since its establishment in 1876. With a tradition spanning almost 150 years, the farm has become renowned for its dedication to producing nutritious and healthy vegetables and berries using sustainable and environmentally friendly farming practices. By utilizing biological practices and prioritizing the health of their soil, the farm has been able to cultivate a reputation for being a leader in sustainable agriculture. In addition to their farming endeavors, Brooklands Farm also hosts a variety of events, including weddings and corporate events. To check availability and schedule an event, simply visit the farm’s website where you can find their event calendar and booking information.
Location: 1375 Butter & Egg Rd., Bracebridge, Ontario
Enjoy a Lakeside Meal
The beautiful scenery of Muskoka makes it an excellent place for enjoying fine fare on a waterfront patio during a glorious summer. And some splendid dining establishments offer this perfect blend of lakeside views and great food.
We compiled a shortlist of Muskoka’s best restaurants on the water.
Those who find Mexican cuisine irresistible will be glad to learn of Tulo’s Taqueria in Muskoka. Seating is available inside and outdoors on the dock, allowing diners to take advantage of fresh air when the weather permits. Whether eating beneath the sky, beside the water or inside, there’s a wide selection of Mexican fare from which to pick. Tacos are a mainstay of Mexican culinary options and can be enjoyed here. In addition, diners can tuck into shrimp, duck, beef, chicken, enchiladas, guacamole, nachos, and more.
Location: 2 James Bartleman Way, Port Carling, ON P0B 1J0
Hours of Operation: Thursday to Monday 12-10pm
Water’s Edge Restaurant on Lake Joseph
Lakeside dining in style is available at Water’s Edge Restaurant on Lake Joseph, which offers a wine bar and grill and is frequented by pro sportsmen, actors, and other entertainers. It’s also a great pick for connoisseurs of idiosyncratic culinary styles, being a member of Savour Muskoka (a group dedicated to providing a smorgasbord of distinctive regional dishes and experiences). Salads and other vegetarian options are ideal for diners with a green diet, while beef tenderloin and chicken supreme are among the menu items better suited for carnivorous desires.
Location: 1072 Elgin House Road Port Carling, ON, P0B 1J0
Hours of Operation: Varies Seasonally
Led by the creative talents of Executive Chef Christopher Duernholz, Rosseau Grill offers not just dishes consisting of fresh and local ingredients but a feast for the eyes with spectacular waterside views. If pub grub sounds more appealing, then the casual setting of Windermere Pub and Patio is the resort’s perfect dining spot. The patio overlooks the lake and is a great place to relax while indulging in snacks or the vast array of liquid refreshments available. An indoor setting for socializing with friends is the Lobby Bar, another venue sporting an impressive selection of beverages to act as a social lubricant. The Bar also hosts live music and is ideal for catching a game on TV.
Location: 2508 Windermere Rd, Windermere, ON P0B 1P0
Hours of Operation: Varies by Establishment
IF YOU ARE STAYING FOR LONGER…
Rent an Inflatable
From swimming to boats, fishing to jet skis, there are plenty of ways to have fun on the water in Muskoka. Another alternative is to take advantage of water inflatables that can be rented. Making the most of Huntsville inflatable rentals is a great way of enjoying aquatic fun and trampolines simultaneously, with inflatable trampoline diameters ranging from 13 to 15 feet. Taking it easy is another option, with water carpets allowing one to float serenely on the surface beneath the blue sky. As with many water-based rental items, rates become lower the longer the rental period.
Play a Round of Golf at One of Muskoka’s Golf Courses
Stunning landscapes are a must for golfing, providing a great backdrop when whittling down one’s handicap, and the natural beauty of Muskoka means it scores highly on this front. Muskoka Bay Golf Resort is a popular attraction for golfers in the Canadian Shield’s wetlands and rocky ridges. This Muskoka golf resort championship course also has substantial elevation changes and was designed by Doug Carrick. Muskoka Highlands Golf is a family-owned and dog-friendly course that has one of the most comprehensive Muskoka golf packages available. In addition to the course and range, visitors can partake in lawn bowling or foot golf, plus the clubhouse for post-round relaxation. Finally, Muskoka Rocky Crest Golf Resort is pretty as a picture, as it’s surrounded by towering white pines, birch, and hemlock (but be wary of the granite outcroppings). Meanwhile, the Lake Joseph Golf Club was designed by Thomas McBroom and opened in 1997 to a great reception thanks to its winning combination of granite crags and soaring trees.
If you are looking for a golf course in Muskoka, check out our guide to some of Muskoka’s best golf courses here.
Explore Muskoka’s Beautiful Nature on an ATV
ATVs (all-terrain vehicles) are an exciting and fun way to explore the Muskoka area. They can be acquired at various Muskoka ATV rentals firms (and some resorts have rental facilities as well). In addition, many crisscrossing trails can be followed on an ATV, which can also be used for off-road and touring packages.
Outdoor Adventures ATV
Huntsville ATV rentals include Outdoor Adventures ATV, located just west of Algonquin Park. This leading firm provides safety gear such as goggles, dust masks and helmets, and ATVs (and kayaks or snowshoeing if you fancy trying something a little more sedate). Gift cards can be a good way to buy something for friends and family. Package prices vary, with the three to five-hour Moose Winter Package costing $299 per ATV (passengers add $50 for those aged 8 to 16, otherwise, $90). It is also possible to have a bespoke experience with the Wolf Custom Package.
Address: 521 Airport Rd, South River, ON P0A 1X0
Deerhurst Resort Muskoka
Two hours from Toronto, or a few miles from Huntsville’s heart, is Deerhurst Resort Muskoka. In addition to the gentle exercise of the golf course or soaking in luxury at the spa, this resort offers a range of activities including the chance to explore the area on ATVs with Yamaha Riding Adventures (between May and October, weather permitting). The experienced instructors at Deerhurst Adventure Park are on hand to guide the activity, which takes place over a wide range of terrain types. Also available are Adult and Youth ATV Tours and Adult Side-by-Sides Guided Tour.
Address: 1235 Deerhurst Dr, Huntsville, ON P1H 2E8
Discovers Muskoka’s Many Waterfalls
Waterfalls combine great views with natural music that makes them particularly engaging and relaxing for people to enjoy. Of course, the profusion of lakes and ponds in Muskoka means it has plenty of waterfalls, some of which are outlined below.
The Muskoka Falls is an eponymous cascade of water that has drawn visitors to Bracebridge for many years. Over the centuries, the waterfall’s power has carved itself into a gorge through relentless erosion. This enormous waterfall is close to the dual Highway 11 bridge, and a dam is at the top. Visitors are advised to take care as the potential drop is significant, and the sides are very steep. However, between the highway and the few kilometers from Bracebridge, it’s easy to reach and either fit into a pre-existing itinerary or be an excursion.
The little town of Bala is home not just to a farmers’ market and winery (see above and below, respectively) but also to its namesake waterfall. Incidentally, Bala Falls is the largest of three falls to be found in the vicinity. The eponymous waterfall is where Lake Muskoka’s water makes its way to Moon River, mainly via the dam. You can revel in the picturesque sight of water cascading down a landscape section a short distance downstream. The footbridge over the dam is one of the most convenient potential viewing points. Alternatively, views can be enjoyed from the riverbank.
There’s a minor dispute as to whether Rosseau Falls consists of two sections (Upper and Lower) or three (Upper, Middle, and Lower). Either way, most of this series of waterfalls is accessible to the public but be careful where you view from as some nearby areas are private property. Found off Highway 141, the Rosseau Falls are easy to find and follow the river as it makes its way to Lake Rosseau. An extra perk is a picnic area, offering the chance to enjoy a little food to the natural soundtrack and a pleasant view of cascading water.
Port Sydney Falls
Located by Lake Mary, Port Sydney Falls is more horizontal than vertical and is thus classed as a slide-type waterfall. There’s a nearby parking lot that presents easy access to the public side of the waterfall. This is a marvelously peaceful location, often relatively quiet despite the pleasant surroundings and extensive natural beauty. Wildlife watchers should keep their eyes peeled for feathery friends and fish and deer. The parking lot is on the small side, but other places to park close at hand exist. Once again, this is a great picnic spot thanks to the combination of burbling water and relaxing views.
Dee Bank Falls
Last but not least on our little list of waterfall wonders is Dee Bank Falls. The river of the same name drains into Clark Pond and, subsequently, Lake Rosseau. While no plunge is present, multiple sections provide cascades and slides along the river’s course, offering an exciting and changing view if walking alongside the riverbank. Be aware that, as with other waterfall locations, there is private property in the vicinity so ensure that accidental trespass does not occur. In the dry, footing should be steady but take care if it’s been raining to avoid slipping.
Take a Cruise
A cruise fits a holiday in Muskoka like a glove due to the extensive number of rivers and lakes to explore in the region. You can combine them with breathtaking sunsets, sightseeing tours, or even a delicious meal.
Muskoka Cruises operates vessels traversing the river by Bracebridge Falls aboard The Muskoka Gaga, and The Lady Rosseau explores the waters of Lake Rosseau. The Lady Rosseau departs from Port Carling on a cruise that lasts around an hour and a half, allowing passengers to drink in the sights of both architectural and natural beauty. The cost of tickets for this cruise is $40. The Muskoka Gaga, departing from Bracebridge’s Quality Inn, has a similar emphasis on picturesque visual pleasures along the Muskoka River as it meanders towards Lake Muskoka. Tickets cost $35 and the cruise runs five days a week from 12.30 pm onwards.
Muskoka Steamships and Discovery Center
The Muskoka Steamships and Discovery Center also operates cruises in the Muskoka area, with operations starting in May. Passengers are advised to arrive half an hour before departure, with prices varying according to cruise length and type (ticket prices were in the process of being updated at the time of writing). Specialty cruises are available from June to September, including multiple popular Pirate Adventure Cruise instances. Kids’ cruises and private events may also be accessible for those seeking a one-of-a-kind setting for an event. The unique steamships include the modern replica Wenonah II and RMS Segwun, a 130-year-old historic vessel.
Go Horseback Riding
Horse riding can occur anywhere but works best when there’s an outstanding natural beauty and plenty of space with little or no traffic. As such, Muskoka is a great place to enjoy this most ancient pastime.
Winding Fences Farm
One of the best options for Huntsville Ontario horseback riding is Winding Fences Farm, a 200-acre site just 25 minutes from Huntsville, Bracebridge, and Port Carling. Trail rides are available for groups of up to five (not during the winter period), with an hour’s ride costing $75. Stirrups require appropriate footwear, such as running shoes or footwear with a half-inch block heel. During the winter period, when trails are not available, the Ground to Saddle Experience offers the chance to learn more about grooming and how to handle horses. And those who have their horse can take advantage of the Pasture Board as a boarding facility all year round.
Watch a Movie at the Drive-in Theatre
Muskoka Drive-In Theatre
The Muskoka Drive-in is one theatrical venue with history, as it remains the longest-operating drive-in theatre in Canada (having opened for business way back in 1952). The setting is highly idiosyncratic and in keeping with the region, with the cement screen surrounded by indigenous plant life. In a fitting old-school choice, movie nights kick off with cartoons (and there’s a kid’s playground nearby). Every night that films are shown, the venue hosts prize draws, providing the chance of getting lucky. And visitors can enjoy the magic of the silver screen at this Huntsville Ontario drive-in theatre.
Address: 1001 Theatre Rd, Gravenhurst, ON P1P 1R3
Visit Muskoka’s Charming Small Towns
Away from the hectic lifestyle of the urban jungle are charming small towns set amid the natural beauty of Muskoka. These Muskoka best towns combine hospitality and comforts, live entertainment and artistic endeavors, with all the region’s wonderful landscapes steps away.
Huntsville has plenty of things for visitors to see and do, including the winter Eclipse Walk with Light attraction (a wander through a forest of 20,000 lights). Delve into local history at Muskoka Heritage Place, or head north to take your pick from countless activities accessible at Arrowhead Provincial Park. Aficionados of art may enjoy visiting the Group of Seven Outdoor Gallery, where visitors can take self-guided tours of this intriguing mural collection. More than 90 murals are available for viewing, celebrating Tom Thomson and The Group of Seven, and the artwork is free to see. The murals cover a wide area and include works in downtown Huntsville, Deerhurst Resort, Algonquin Provincial Park, Dorset, Dwight, Port Cunnington Lodge, and Baysville. Outdoor art fans can also head north of Muskoka to check out the Screaming Heads art installation, featuring an eye-catching collection of concrete sculptures.
Bracebridge is located just east of Muskoka and was first incorporated in 1875. Bracebridge Falls offers pleasant natural scenery, which can be combined with golfing fun at either Northern Escapades Mini-golf or Muskoka Highlands Golf Links. Come the festive period, Santa’s Village: Muskoka’s Theme Park opens up for Yuletide entertainment (more details below). A summery source of relaxation can be just a little west at Kirby’s Beach. Sun, sea, and sand are all close at hand, as are shady areas, trees, a picnic area, and a playground. Visitors can also head out onto the water from Muskoka Cruises and enjoy an hour and a half of serenely gliding along and admiring the splendid scenery.
Gravenhurst, found south of Lake Muskoka, has attracted people to the area for over a century. Dubbed the Gateway to Muskoka, this heritage can be experienced firsthand via the steamship RMS Segwun (mentioned above) and through the Muskoka Discovery Center Museum exhibits. In addition, history meets live entertainment in Gravenhurst Opera House’s surroundings, which is ideal for live entertainment fans. As ever in Muskoka, fresh air and splendid outdoor settings are close at hand, with opportunities for hiking and swimming readily accessible nearby. Gull Lake Rotary Park is one example, and the park also hosts live music events and a garden and beach.
Located in the cottage country north of Toronto, Bala was settled in the mid-19th century. The area has pleasant scenery and waterfalls and annually hosts the Bala Cranberry Festival (attracting thousands of tourists annually). Muskoka Lakes Farm & Winery, the home of Johnston Cranberries, is a hot spot for tourists in the Bala area. Founded by Orville and June Johnston and now spearheaded by their son Murray, and his wife Wendy, the Farm & Winery offers a wide array of activities including wine tasting, hiking, snowshoe trails, and the recent addition of an ice trail. In Summer, the Kee to Bala is a longstanding concert tradition (dating back to 1942) and has seen acts as famous as Aerosmith, The Ramones, and Snoop Dogg perform.
Go a Little Bit off the Beaten Path
Muskoka Discovery Center
The Muskoka Discovery Center is a unique museum that welcomes visitors of any age. Learn more about the culture and history of the area in this Gravenhurst Museum, which features galleries such as the indigenous Water Is Life and the Wanda Boathouse. Steamships are also on the cultural menu, with galleries detailing the settler era’s steamship fleet, resort hotels, and the boatbuilders’ workshop. Through interactive exhibits, young and old visitors can have hands-on fun while learning about the area and its rich heritage. The site is also home to steamship cruises on the historic RMS Segwun. Operating hours, at the time of writing, are 10 am to 4 pm (Tuesday to Saturday), with adult admission tickets costing $20 each, $17 for seniors, and $12.50 for children).
Whether you dream of being a modern-day Robin Hood or have been inspired by the English bowman of Agincourt, made so famous by Shakespeare, archery is an ancient pastime with plenty of appeal today. So, engage in Archery Huntsville Ontario, and summon your inner Legolas at Find Your Wild Muskoka, where professional instructors teach newcomers the basics of archery. You can add axe throwing in a two-hour axes’ n arrows program. Most of the venue is open Friday to Sunday during daylight hours (reservations are required). However, large groups (15 or more for axes n arrows) could enjoy the projectile entertainment from Monday to Thursday. An hour costs $30 per person, with two hours more cost-effective at $40. Find Your Wild is at 83 Morgan’s Rd, Huntsville, ON P1H 1A2.
Treetop Trekking Huntsville Ontario dubs itself the ultimate Muskoka adventure (although not for those scared of heights). This seasonal outdoor fun is available from May to October, with hours varying according to the month (8 am to 6 pm in July/August being the most extended range of hours). While reservations are optional, they are advised as walk-up entry is accepted if there is sufficient space, so making a reservation is the best way to avoid disappointment. Once inside, Tarzanesque excitement awaits those who embark on climbing, swinging and zipping through the forest. Rates vary according to age and number in a group, with 10-19 people aged 16+ costing $57 for a zipline and aerial trek game. Locations for treetop trekking include Huntsville, Barrie, Brampton, and more.
Located in Bracebridge, Santa’s Village: Muskoka’s Theme Park is the ideal place for festive frolics in the depths of winter when staying in Muskoka. Opening seasonally, as one might expect, Santa’s Village has been a Christmas staple in the area for over six decades. The attractions are rides and coasters for children, live entertainment, go-karts, and petting zoos. There are also opportunities to buy souvenirs for friends and family. Those braves of the heart may want to cross the suspension bridge, while brainy lads and lasses might prefer to attend Elf School. Snowbo and Arrows is a fun way for little Robin Hood to amuse themselves while animal friends await on Santa’s Farm. A standard pass is $99.95, with a gold season passes at $129.95 and general admission tickets costing $50.95. Hours vary between 10 am to 4 pm and 10 am to 5 pm.