9 of the newest and coolest things to do in Muskoka this cottage season

Muskoka is the crown jewel of Ontario’s cottage country and is consistently named one of the best places to visit in Canada. With a variety of independently owned and operated businesses, the Muskoka experience is truly one for the books. The region finds the perfect balance between upscale luxury and nature-oriented fun. With a rugged landscape that is filled with natural splendor, Muskoka boasts an abundance of scenic activities both on the water and on land. If a full out active adventure isn’t quite what you’re looking for, the stay, spa and food scenes of the area are equally as impressive.

For the cottage-goers who think they’ve seen it all, we’ve rounded up the latest offerings in the region to bring you our new and must-do guide to Muskoka!

Muskoka BeerSpa

Whether you’re staycationing or day tripping to Muskoka, the Muskoka BeerSpa is a quintessential Canadian spa, complete with hot tubs, cold pools, saunas, cabanas, a beer garden and more. Hidden away in a woodland wonderland, the BeerSpa provides the perfect environment for relaxation. The adults-only environment is tailor fit for individuals looking for a fun escape, where they can devour delicious pub food, sip on some Clear Lake Brewing beers and even stay the night in one of the reimagined glamping cabins. In-room draught taps, complimentary junk food and morning pastries? Say no more. Muskokabeerspa.com

Muskoka Wake 

Muskoka Wake is Muskoka’s leading wakeboard, wake surf and water sports school — but now, it’s adding even more fun into the mix. With mens’ nights and ladies’ nights, you’ll join the Muskoka Wake crew for a fun evening of surfing, music, friends and free goodies from local businesses. Muskokawake.ca

Smokin’ Birds

This legendary barbecue spot started as a roadside pop-up last year, but when something is this good, it has to stay! Smokin’ Birds, run by Jennifer Dewasha (formerly of Café Boulud) and former regional chef of the Chase Hospitality Group Jane Macdonald, offers the kind of compact menu where you know every item is a winner. Try the pulled pork, smoked turkey breast or brisket sandwich topped with pineapple coleslaw at the new, permanent location, which just opened in May. You can find them at 3142 Muskoka Rd. 169 in Bala, but they’re only open from Friday to Sunday, so time your trip accordingly if you want a taste of these smoking good dishes. Thesmokinbirds.com

Muskoka Mountainworks 

Offering rock and ice rock guided climbing experiences, Muskoka Mountainworks is here to help you discover the beautiful regions of Ontario in an exhilarating and exciting way, alongside a professional guide. Adventurers have a variety of different options to choose from, including paddling, swimming and tent camping, in addition to the climbing fun. For those looking to really hone in on their climbing skills, Muskoka Mountainworks also offers a few different workshops. Muskokamountainworks.com

The Water’s Edge

Stay in this unique Muskoka accommodation, where cottage meets lakeside tree house. Cosy with all the creature comforts guests could need, this property was passed down from generation to generation and transformed from the original bones to become this incredible space that is both modern and nature oriented. Airbnb.ca

The Fare Food Co. 

Two chefs with big-name restaurants behind them are bringing good eats and fun drinks to Port Carling this summer. Spencer Newlands, formerly of Alo and Pearl Morrissette, and Tosh Agassiz, formerly of Canis and Bosk, teamed up to found the Fare Food Co. The company offers everything from private dining to cooking classes, but Fare Food’s Muskoka pop-up offers up smash burger, fried chicken, craft beer, cider and more. Open from June until Labour Day, you’ll find the pop-up at a gas station in Port Carling at 3658 Muskoka District Rd. 118 W.

HydroSpa Muskoka Wellness

With views of Lake Rousseau, HydroSpa Muskoka Wellness by Water Experience is the pinnacle of tranquility. This recent addition to the luxurious JW Marriott hotel aims to connect guests to the natural beauty of the area. The spa menu provides an abundant array of treatment and package options, promising to make your visit unforgettable. Thehydrospas.com

Jack & Stella 

From the cute cottage living shop to the yummy café with doughnuts and espresso, Jack & Stella offers something for the whole family. On Saturdays in the summer, chill out on the dock and listen to live music over coffee. You’ll feel as though you’re part of the community even if you’re just popping in for the day! Jackandstella.com

Gangnam Korea

This eatery opened in 2021 to great fanfare, with lineups around the block for Gangnam Korea’s fried chicken. During its opening day alone, the Huntsville restaurant sold 250 bubble teas. Many have driven down from neighbouring towns, including Orillia and North Bay, where Korean options are few. Owner Sunju Lee moved to Muskoka at 13, and now, with a family of her own, she’s excited to bring a taste of her heritage to the area for her kids to enjoy. The restaurant offers up not only stellar Korean fried chicken but a few other classic, must-try dishes, including dupbap, jap-chae, bulgogi and mozzadogs. Dig in! Gangnamkorea.ca