This autumn, tour the historic villages, hamlets and waterways that make the Township of Muskoka Lakes so memorable for visitors from all over the world.
If ever there was a place that showcases the long-standing charm and appeal of Ontario’s renowned cottage country, it may well be the Township of Muskoka Lakes. Located 2-1/2 hours north of Toronto, this picturesque destination is a hub for Muskoka’s ‘big three lakes’ (Muskoka, Rosseau and Joseph) and features stunning, scenic roads connecting to some of the most popular attractions in Muskoka. A fall getaway here is sure to please fans of the season who will enjoy the brilliant autumn leaves reflected in crisp, sparkling waters – just as generations of visitors have before.
Centrally located in the Township of Muskoka Lakes, Port Carling is a hot spot in the fall. Boats of all kinds tour through the historic locks (including the Peerless II of Sunset Cruises), and Highway 118 – the main thoroughfare – winds past plenty of unique shops, galleries and restaurants.
Enjoy lunch or dinner on the patio at one of the restaurants near the locks, including Turtle Jacks, York & Mason, or dine at Loondocks Restaurant or Richwell’s Fine Dining on the main route. The Muskoka Lakes Museum is also located here (on an in-town island!) – a great place to stop and learn all about the region’s compelling history (kids will love the indoor scavenger hunt).
Known affectionately as “Ontario’s Cranberry Capital,” Bala is a popular stop for travellers in all four seasons. With Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh and the adjacent Muskoka Lakes Winery located here, culinary tourists will be delighted to experience all that the ruby red berries produce in fall. Take a tasting tour, enjoy the autumn sunshine on the patio, and head out onto the trails around the marsh for a breathtaking hike.
This is also home to the Kee to Bala, the historic concert hall that is now in its 76th season of presenting incredible musicians in Muskoka. (Get your tickets to hear Honeymoon Suite and Blue Rodeo this Canadian Thanksgiving weekend.)
Not far from The Kee, visit the Bala Museum to encounter a vibrant tribute to Canadian Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables and who spent time in Bala.
Be sure to check out the Bala Falls for wonderful autumn views, and dine and shop your way through this lovely place on the rippling Moon River (which flows out into gorgeous Georgian Bay). And don’t miss the annual action-packed Bala Cranberry Festival, which always runs the weekend after Canadian Thanksgiving (October 13-15, 2017).
Views & Vistas
Discover some of the most impressive scenery you’ll ever encounter in the Muskoka Lakes this fall. Favourite spots to view the brilliant colours include the top of Huckleberry Rock Trail in Milford Bay, along the scenic corridor of Highway 141 West through Raymond, at the Torrance Barrens Dark Sky Preserve (day or night!), along the Fish Hatchery Trail in Ullswater, and at Hardy Lake Provincial Park (also in Torrance).
You can also view the fall splendour from the lawns of historic Windermere House, from the docks of Clevelands House Resort, along the trails at the J.W. Marriott The Rosseau Resort & Spa, or from the patio of Crossroads Restaurant in Rosseau (overlooking the lake). Have your camera ready!
Some of the best golf in Ontario is found in the Township of Muskoka Lakes. Hit the links at the Windermere Golf & Country Club, at Diamond in the Ruff in Raymond, and at The Rock – a Nick Faldo-designed course in the hamlet of Minett. (Be sure to inquire about Stay & Play and Dine & Golf packages.)
More to See & Do
Foodies will want to head to Brooklands Farm in Milford Bay to see and taste what’s in season, and anglers can cast their lures at the nearby Milford Bay Trout Farm (after sampling their famous smoked trout). A tour through Windermere will take you past Taylor’s Strawberry Farm as well, where you can grab some seasonal corn at their market store.
Want to get out on the water? Rent a kayak from Muskoka Paddle Shack’s outlet in Bala. Boats and watercraft toys can also be rented at most marinas in the Township of Muskoka Lakes. Or be the Captain of a classic antique boat from Muskoka Launch Livery near Port Carling, and cruise around Lake Muskoka.
And while in Torrance, be sure to stop at the new Clear Lake Brewing Co. for a refreshing pint.
Where To Stay
There are plenty of traditional resorts, B&Bs, campgrounds and other fine accommodations in the Township of Muskoka Lakes. Click here to find the perfect place to stay during your autumn getaway to Ontario’s cottage country.