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Your guide to Muskoka Lakes
A haven of charming towns, serene natural beauty, and nearly endless miles of water, Muskoka Lakes invites visitors to enjoy an idyllic retreat in what locals often refer to as Canada’s cottage country. Just inland from Georgian Bay, the township draws its name from a series of hundreds of lakes, dominated by the eponymous Lake Muskoka, Lake Joseph, and Lake Rosseau, dotted with small communities including Port Carling and Huntsville. While celebrity-owned mansions pepper the shores of the larger lakes, many more of the picturesque lakes draw visitors to swim and boat in the pristine natural waters. Families and couples are also attracted to the quaint communities for relaxing getaways featuring golf, spas, and seasonal scenery including stunning fall colours.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Muskoka Lakes
Warm summers bring enthusiastic visitors to enjoy the delightfully moderate average high temperatures around 75 degrees Fahrenheit, with evenings that cool off to a pleasant low of around 50 degrees — just enough to need a sweatshirt around the campfire. But even when the sun shines, the area still receives plenty of precipitation, averaging three to four inches each month in summer and even more in the fall. In winter, that falls as snow, with the region receiving many feet of snow each month; temperatures dip to average lows in the single digits, and even the average highs hover below freezing. Spring and fall tend to be cool and pleasant, requiring a few layers — some waterproof — but generally remaining inviting enough for hiking and walking.
Top things to do in Muskoka Lakes
While most visitors stay in cottages and cabins for rent around the various lakes, the municipal seat of Muskoka Lakes makes a good destination for boaters or visitors looking for a pleasant place to explore. Called the Hub of the Lakes for its location on the Indian River, where its locks connect Lake Muskoka with Lake Rosseau, it dates to the mid-19th century, when it was a logging town and resort; now it caters to visitors with shopping, restaurants, lake cruises, and a museum.
View of the Lakes Chair Tour
This tour leads you to the best places to sit in one of ten brightly colored Muskoka chairs, take selfies, and stare at the scenery. Vistas include the trails of Hardy Lake Provincial Park, James Bartleman Island in the center of Port Carling, and the Windermere Dock looking out over Lake Rosseau.
Georgian Bay Islands National Park
With thousands of miles of lakeshore, rivers, and waterfalls, all the best parts of Muskoka Lakes involve getting onto the water, and one of the best places to do so is by visiting the world’s largest freshwater archipelago, comprising more than 60 islands. Whether you do so as part of a tour or by private watercraft, this national park inside the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve, accessible only by boat, brings you to granite shores, wooded hiking and biking trails, and forests awaiting exploration.