Ontario Tourism Blog

Things to Do in Muskoka

By Shari & Elisa Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Muskoka is known as “cottage country” here in Ontario, even though when people boat around the Muskoka lakes, they are hard pressed to call some of the residences “cottages”. In many other places, these “cottages” would be called country homes, estates or compounds, but here in Ontario, you will fit in like a local if you call them all “cottages”!

The great thing about Muskoka is that you don’t have to own a cottage to enjoy cottage country. There are many companies that facilitate cottage rentals, or if you don’t need your own digs, you can try one of the amazing family or couple’s resorts, hotels, inns & B&Bs scattered around the region. The family resorts even have kids’ camps in many cases, so adults can have a little “me time” too.

Best Lakes in Muskoka:

There are several lakes that are considered part of the Muskokas, but the big three are Lake Muskoka, Lake Rosseau (home to many Hollywood and sports stars) and Lake Joseph. All three have the traditional island-dotted, tree-strewn, rock-covered landscapes that National Geographic Traveler magazine has chosen as the #1 pick for the “Ten Best Trips of Summer” and one of “100 Places That Can Change Your Child’s Life.”

Things to do on the Water and on Land:

RMS Segwun Muskoka
RMS Segwun Muskoka

There are so many things to do in Muskoka that you will have a hard time justifying just sitting on your Muskoka chair and relaxing. Explore the region from the water in Muskoka’s famous historic steamship, which even has pirate cruises for the kids several times each summer: http://realmuskoka.com/event/pirate-cruise-for-families/. Prefer to move under your own steam? Rent a canoe, kayak or stand up paddleboard and explore hundreds of islands, some only big enough for one tiny cottage.

When you want a break from the water, explore one of the incredible marked trails through the forest, where you can hike under the canopy of the trees or hop in a cab and visit some of Muskoka’s own award-winning wineries and craft breweries. Or spend the day in Port Carling’s galleries and boutiques where you can choose a painting, craft or souvenir to bring home. Gravenhurst has some good ones too! And Bracebridge is a bigger town so it isn’t quite as easy to explore on foot, but has some antique stores and other shops that are world-class! Muskoka also has excellent museums, and historical sites.

Festivals in Muskoka

1949 Greavette vintage boat
1949 Greavette vintage boat

It has some world-class festivals and events too, and not just in the summer. From fall festivals like the Bala Cranberry Festival to ribfests, to boat shows like Gravenhurst’s summer Vintage Boat Show, to culture and arts, there is so much to enjoy. Don’t forget about the farmer’s markets around the area too! You can do a 100 mile diet easily here; in fact, in many cases, it is a 10 mile (16 km) one!

Whatever the season, Muskoka sunsets are among the best in the world, so make sure you plant yourself somewhere overlooking the water at day’s end. And if you can manage a bonfire to enjoy s’mores, so much the better! No matter what your age, your day will be improved by a bite of roasted marshmallow and chocolate between 2 graham wafers!

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