A guide to exploring Muskoka in the fall

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Characterized by pristine lakes, towering pine trees, and abundant wildlife, the picturesque and charming region of Muskoka has become a favourite oasis for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. Offering a glimpse into the region’s rich history are the numerous small towns and villages, each with their own unique charm and characteristics that strike a beautiful balance with the surrounding outdoor wonders. 

From renting and relaxing in a beautiful cottage on one of the stunning lakes, to hiking the trails, sipping wine at a winery, or golfing at one of the renowned courses, there is so much to discover in Canada‘s cottage country—no matter the season. With something for everyone, each element plays an essential role in making the area such a popular destination. 

To provide some trip inspiration, we‘ve rounded up some of the most beautiful things to see, best spots to eat, nicest places to stay, and most fun things to do in Muskoka. 

Staying in Muskoka

Photo Courtesy: Ulf Hohendorf, DROP Creative Agency

There are so many incredible places to stay in Muskoka. As such, figuring out just where to rent can be overwhelming. 

If you’re craving a more high end stay, Tend Services is a luxury rental company, offering an exceptional level of service to visitors looking to experience the region’s natural beauty and charm. The company specialises in providing top-quality rentals, including cottages, other vacation properties, and boats. To ensure every aspect of their clients’ stay is as enjoyable and stress free as possible, they also provide concierge services through their partner company, Tend Services. Planning an event or wedding, they have you covered. Looking for a kayak or paddle board, no problem. 

With a focus on personalised service and attention to detail, Tend Services has earned a reputation as one of the top luxury rental companies in Canada. Leveraging their knowledge of the cottage industry in Muskoka can go a long way in ensuring an unforgettable experience. 

From Lake Muskoka to Lake Rosseau, Joseph, and more, the properties are not only located in breathtakingly beautiful spots, but are also exquisite in their own right. One of Tend Services’ standout properties include Keeler Lakehouse, a gorgeous Cape Cod style cottage with a large open-concept kitchen and entertainment space, a hot tub, lakefront barrel sauna, and water toys. This stunning property is in an idyllic location just minutes away from Torrance and Bala. 

For a more boutique motel experience, The Dudley Inn is a great place to stay and play. 

With renovated retro bathrooms and a log cabin vibe with all new amenities, The Dudley offers a great stay no matter the season. The firepit outfront allows guests to gather in a fun and relaxing atmosphere, creating a community vibe perfectly epitomising the cottage country feel of Muskoka. So whether you‘re in town attending a concert or festival, hiking, fishing, biking, wakeboarding, golfing, or boating, Dudley is a great spot to stay, especially for a friend‘s getaway. 

Things to do and see 

Whether you’re daytripping to Muskoka or staying awhile, taking a scenic drive through the region’s forests to see the stunning foliage is a must—no matter the season. However, in the fall, the region is particularly colourful and vibrant. Visiting a local farm or pumpkin patch to pick your own apples or pumpkins is a must. There‘s also an annual Bala Cranberry Festival where you can learn about the region’s cranberry farming industry. You can even strap on chest waders and take part in a cranberry plunge at Muskoka Lakes Farm and Winery

Another incredible autumn adventure is hopping aboard one of Muskoka’s many fall cruises. From Sunset Cruises in Port Carling to Muskoka Steamships in Gravenhurst, being out on the water and witnessing the majestic colours of Canada will be sure to leave you mesmerised. 

With an abundance of gorgeous natural wonders, taking time to see the different falls, lakes, and vistas is a must. One of the most beautiful things to see is Bala Falls. The falls are located in the centre of Bala and visitors can get a close-up view from the bridge or take a short hike to the viewing platform. 

If you’re looking for hiking spots, Muskoka is riddled with them. Torrance Barrens Trail offers breathtaking views of the night sky. Strawberry Bay Point has a great hiking trail along Muskoka Lake, where you can even dip into the water off the rocky shore. Echo Valley is a more rustic option as the paths are less maintained than other trails in the region. Those looking to truly feel immersed in nature, this is the place for you. 

The area is also home to numerous golf courses, including the acclaimed Muskoka Bay Club, Port Carling Golf Club, and Deerhurst Highlands Golf Course

One of the most popular and most beautiful lakes is Muskoka’s namesake lake: Lake Muskoka. The lake is dotted with numerous islands and visitors can take a scenic boat tour to explore the area. The lake is also a popular spot for fishing, swimming, and other water sports, especially in the summer months. 

In the spring, it’s officially maple season in Canada. Checking out one of the region’s sugar bushes to experience the tradition of maple syrup production is a truly Canuck endeavour. You can take a guided tour where you‘ll learn about the process of tapping trees and then get to enjoy a delicious pancake breakfast served with fresh maple syrup. 

Places to eat: 

When it comes to dining in Bala, there are plenty of options to choose from. For a casual meal, try Don’s Bakery, which is famous for its butter tarts and fresh bread. For something more upscale, head to the newly opened The Pearl Muskoka

For those who like their wine and beer, there are a few options of wineries and breweries to visit. Muskoka Lakes Winery offers tours and tastings, and guests can sample a variety of wines made from locally grown grapes. For a more niche experience: Clear Lake Brewing Company has a BeerSpa. You read that right—a beer spa! It is your quintessential Canadian spa, equipped with hot tubs, pool, saunas, steam room, cabanas, loungers, hammocks, fountains, dump buckets, swings, beer garden and more, all to help you detox, retox and relax. 

Port Carling has some especially good places to dine. Arguably one the most popular spots—and for good reason—is Turtle Jacks. They’re nestled away on the water with a beautiful lakeside patio. The cottage inspired menu serves up some of the best comfort food. From wings to pizza, burgers to bowls, you’ll be dining with one of the best harbour views in town. If you’re craving tacos, Tulo’s Taqueria is the local go-to spot. Inspired by Mexico, the vibes and cuisine will transport you to Tulum, especially if you’re visiting in the warmer months when the rooftop patio is open. 

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