When a place is unofficially called “Cottage Country”, you know it’s going to be good.
Welcome to Muskoka, Ontario: home away from home for many Torontonians and other residents of Ontario who are, understandably, drawn to the numerous lakes, peaceful woods and overall tranquility of Muskoka.
What’s all the fuss about? Read on.
Not a Town, But a Region
Muskoka, more formally called “the District Municipality of Muskoka”, is a regional municipality spanning 2,500 square miles in central Ontario. Muskoka isn’t just one place: it’s actually an area encompassing several smaller towns, villages, farming communities and resort areas.
The entire regional municipality of Muskoka has a population of roughly 60,000 year-round citizens—but come the dog days of summer, add another 100,000 people to the mix, who own second homes in the area. More than two million visitors migrate to the area for at least a few days every year, typically during the summertime. It goes without saying that traffic on a long-weekend in August can be a little dicey.
Bring on the Lakes
There are a lot of lakes in Muskoka—more than 2,000, to be precise. The three most popular lakes—the ones where you’ll find the multimillion dollar “cottages” dotting the shoreline—are Lake Muskoka, Lake Joseph and Lake Rousseau.
There are thirty public beaches in the area, many of which are perfectly set up for a family picnic, setting off for a kayak trip, or docking your boat. Don’t forget your swim suit.
Getting Crafty With Beers
Craft beers are the Next Big Thing, but Muskoka has been on to that for awhile. The Muskoka Brewery has been operating since 1996 and offers a fine assortment of microbrews: Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout, Mad Tom IPA, and the infamous Cream Ale are just a few of the offerings on top.
If this is music to your ears, you’ll also want to check out the Lake of Bays Brewing Company and the Muskoka Lakes Winery. All offer opportunities to check out the grounds on a guided tour.
Care for a Round?
What’s a summer recreational paradise without a few choice golf courses? Muskoka has its fair share of exceptional courses—in fact, six of its courses earned spots on the ScoreGolf Top 100 Canadian Golf Courses list.
Okay, you can’t surf on a lake, but those seeking adrenaline-inducing water activities will be most satisfied with the selection. How about wakeboarding, waterskiing, kneeboarding, or parasailing?
No Autographs, Please
Even the rich and famous need a quiet place to go. Many celebrities summer in the Muskokas. Rumored homeowners include Steven Spielberg, Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, Cindy Crawford, Tom Hanks and Martin Short, among others.
Don’t Forget Winter
Here’s an insider secret: Muskoka may be known as a summer destination, but it’s also a fantastic escape in the winter months. Snowmobiling, cross country skiing, downhill skiing, dog sledding, snow shoeing, ice skating, ice fishing, pond hockey—these are just some of the winter activities that take place in the winter-time.