Places to Visit in Muskoka, Ontario

Published: 15th January 2010
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For many folks who visit Ontario, one of the first ventures beyond Toronto is a trip to the District Municipality of Muskoka. A 2500 square-mile region usually referred to as simply "Muskoka," it has small communities, like the township of Muskoka Lakes, whose population of some 7000 swells to 34,000 during the summer, as the region gets over two million tourists a year. Muskoka is among the Canadians' (and foreign tourists') all-time favorite vacation destinations.

The region - full of gigantic pines, rivers, crystal clear lakes, mountains and meadows - is home to friendly and warm people representing many, diverse cultures. Muskoka is just a short, 90-minute jaunt north from the Toronto Pearson International Airport in Canada's business capital. When you first reach Muskoka, the gateway to inner Ontario, you will be surrounded by pink granite rock and endless vistas, while roaring waterfalls contrast with the quiet charm of the villages and the people that inhabit them.

The District also includes the timeless towns of Gravehurst, Huntsville and Bracebridge. You will find a unique experience waiting for you in any one of these little towns but Muskoka itself is by far the best place for entertainment and a plethora of activities. Among the town's great places to visit are museums galore like the Muskoka Heritage Place- Museum, Villa and Train, Muskoka Rails Museum, Muskoka Boat and Heritage Center, Bala's Museum that includes artifacts belonging to local legend Lucy Maud Montgomery, Huronia Museum and the Muskoka Lakes Museum.

From Indians to internationals
These museums present the rich and colorful history of Muskoka in a special way, showing how the native peoples assimilated others from France, England and other nations to live in the area. You can almost feel the experience of how the pioneers lived and worked during the late 1800s and, in fact, you actually can see the home of one of the first families to live in Muskoka, the Halls. Their two-storey log cabin, built in 1875 and a marvel of craftsmanship and beauty, has been lovingly maintained. Exploring the vast history of the lakes in the Muskoka region will teach you about the boat building industry and the steamships that brought the visitors to the District.

There are many other fine attractions in the area, as well. You can get up close and personal with nature and visit some of Muskoka's outdoor paradises like the Muskoka Wildlife Center, the Echo Valley Observatory and the world's only permanent dark sky reserve (no manmade light allowed), Torrance Barrens. Take the kids to Santa's village and Sportsland during the holidays or experience great performances at the Gravehurst Opera House or the Muskoka Lakes Music festival, site of some of the best live musical entertainment in Ontario. You can hop aboard a historic steamship and cruise along any of the beautiful lakes on the Joseph, Rousseau or Lady Muskoka steamships. You can even rent a private pontoon boat and tour the 30,000 islands of Georgian Bay, as well.

Lots to do
Muskoka can be a fisherman's dream with some of the best freshwater sports fishing in the world. There are special accommodations and packages available for the eager angler, available from any number of tour operators, including more than a few small local boat rental firms. You will need to get a fishing license in order to reel 'em in but you can easily obtain one from the local sporting goods stores, fishing lodges and bait-and-tackle outlets. Fishing in Muskoka can be done in many different ways, from taking a canoe into one the interior lakes or flying into remote areas, to trolling along the coastline of Georgian Bay or just casting a line from the dock of a comfortable cottage resort.

To top off a perfect day in Muskoka, many folks hit the roads for some shopping and "antique-ing" before settling in for the evening. There are various old, new, strange and wonderful shops and antique stores where you can find some hidden treasures and memorabilia to take home. For instance, the Old Palmer House is a fun place to find a vast selection of handcrafted furnishings, antiques, collectibles and home accessories. This store is a rustic log cabin that is filled wall to wall with hundreds of curious, unique and inspirational items that will give the ladies decorating ideas for their own homes. The store offers everything from pottery, rugs and quilts to garden accessories, tools and plenty of other "guy stuff," too.

Fun of all kinds
The Muskoka District also offers individuals the opportunity to water-ski, boat, cycle, rock climb, kayak, snowmobile, ice fish, snowshoe, ski, sled, skate, toboggan and otherwise enjoy the great outdoors. If you are planning to visit Ontario anytime soon, pencil in a trip up Muskoka way if you want the experience of a lifetime. On second though, write that down in ink as a form of commitment. Muskoka offers you a huge platter of pleasures, and puts the "you" in "unique." The District of Muskoka is something quite special - and well worth is the premier online destination for people looking to enjoy the great lifestyle of Cottage Country. With many cottage rentals available you're sure to find the one you are looking for. Listings include Muskoka cottages, Stony Lake Cottages, Kawartha Highlands Cottages to name a few. Visit us online today and you will know you have come to the right place.

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