Road trip to outdoor adventure, relaxation and fall colour in Muskoka

Head north and discover Canada’s Muskoka region, an area synonymous with natural beauty, especially in the fall season when the leaves change and create a kaleidoscope of colour.

Two people canoeing past rugged rocks and forest.

Algonquin Provincial Park | Destination Ontario 

Just a few hours drive north of Toronto, the Muskoka region is famed for sparkling freshwater lakes, mixed wood forests, rocky Canadian shield formations and iconic wildlife. It’s also home to luxurious resorts, charming communities and endless outdoor activities.

The vivid landscape views of crimson, ochre and gold foliage during the fall season is the perfect backdrop for adventure and relaxation in Muskoka.

And the best part? You’ll love how much more value your dollar has in Ontario, Canada.

Getting here and around

Travel documentation: Travellers to Canada must present a valid passport or NEXUS card. Find out what else you’ll need to know to cross the border into Canada.

Billy Bishop Airport (YTZ): Conveniently located along Toronto’s waterfront just minutes from downtown, Porter Airlines provides flight service between New York City, Boston, Chicago and Washington D.C.

Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ): The majority of flights into Toronto land at Pearson, approximately 18 miles (30 kilometres) northwest of the city centre. Travel downtown by UP Express, transit, taxi, Uber or Lyft. Several major car rental companies provide service from Terminal 1.

Car rental: The best way to travel to Muskoka is by car. Book a vehicle from a downtown rental company or directly from Pearson or Billy Bishop airports. Rental companies in Toronto include:

  • Avis: Airport rentals and almost a dozen city neighbourhood locations
  • Budget: 20 rental locations in the Toronto area, including Pearson airport and downtown
  • Enterprise: Locations at both airports and at Union Station, Toronto’s central train station located downtown
  • Hertz: Rentals available at both airports and at two downtown locations
  • National: Rental locations at both airports
  • Electric Vehicle Network: West Toronto rental location at 15 Lockport Avenue, Etobicoke

Huntsville and Algonquin Park

Approx. distance and travel time from Toronto: 145-175 miles (235-280 kilometres), 3-3.5 hours

Nestled in the heart of some of Ontario’s most stunning landscapes, Huntsville and Algonquin Provincial Park are popular tourist destinations.

Serving as the gateway to Algonquin Park, Huntsville is surrounded by pristine lakes and mixed forests. This charming town has a vibrant arts scene, historic downtown, local shops and boutiques and a variety of great restaurants. Algonquin Provincial Park is one of Canada’s most famous wilderness areas with a vast network of hiking trails and canoe routes.

Parking and permits

Parking in Huntsville: Free three-hour parking is available on Main Street or park for longer in free all-day public lots.

Algonquin Park Daily Vehicle Permit: Purchase a daily vehicle permit to visit and park in Algonquin (valid from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.) Book your permit up to five days in advance and display it clearly on your vehicle’s dashboard.

Places to stay in Huntsville and Algonquin

Deerhurst Resort: Located just minutes from downtown Huntsville overlooking Peninsula Lake, Deerhurst offers a range of accommodations and an abundance of on-site activities like paddling, hiking and cycling as well as several dining options and a full schedule of entertainment year-round.
Location: 1235 Deerhurst Drive, Huntsville

Trillium Resort & Spa: Lakeview chalets facing the sparkling waters of Devine Lake and cozy cottages surrounded by towering hardwood trees provide the ultimate Muskoka experience. Open until October 31, 2023.
Location: 848 Clearwater Lake Road, Port Sydney

Arowhon Pines: Book an all-inclusive, secluded getaway in rustic lakeside log cabins in the forest. Open until October 8, 2023.
Location: Arowhon Road - Lease 1295, Algonquin Park

Killarney Lodge: Relax in your cozy cabin with lakefront porch and soak in the serene ambiance of the surrounding forest and sparkling waters. Open until October 22, 2023.
Location: ON-60, Algonquin Park

Bartlett Lodge: Stay in one of the “backwoods luxury” cabins or cottages and enjoy nature at your doorstep and fine dining in the most historic dining room in Algonquin Park. Open until October 22, 2023.
Location: Highway 60, KM 23, 7, Algonquin Park

Things to do in Huntsville

Treetop Trekking Huntsville: Swing, climb and zip through the forest canopy and see the splendor of fall colour from a different vantage point.
Location: 1235 Deerhurst Drive, Huntsville

Lions Lookout Trail: Find awe-inspiring views of Fairy Lake and the city of Huntsville from the Lions Lookout Trail, which is accessible via a short, uphill hike.
Location: Lookout Road, Huntsville

Huntsville Festival of the Arts: Musical, theatrical, dance and visual arts performances and exhibitions are held throughout the year.
Location: 37 Main Street East, Huntsville

Limberlost Forest and Wildlife Reserve: This free network of well-maintained hiking trails through forest and along picturesque lakes vary in length and level of difficulty.
Location: South Limberlost Road, Huntsville

Golf at Deerhurst Resort: Play a round of golf at one of two classic Muskoka courses, beautiful Deerhurst Highlands and famed Deerhurst Lakeside.
Location: 1235 Deerhurst Drive, Huntsville

Group of Seven Outdoor Gallery: Take a self-guided tour of 90 murals honouring the art of Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven located in Huntsville and the surrounding region.

Things to do in Algonquin Provincial Park

Algonquin Outfitters: Choose from a variety of guided and self-guided paddling day trips that vary in length and ease. After your excursion, grab a bite to eat at the Portage Grill at Canoe Lake or Lake of Two Rivers Café & Grill.
Locations: Guided excursions depart from their Canoe Lake, Lake Opeongo and Oxtongue Lake locations.

Algonquin Adventure Tours: From fishing, bicycling and canoeing trips to birding and fall colour tours, experience the best of Algonquin Park offer on a fully guided day trip.
Location: 1023 Cooper Lake Road, Dwight

Algonquin Logging Museum: Learn about the history of logging from the early timber days to present-day forestry management.
Location: Highway 60, Algonquin Park, Whitney

Where to eat and drink in Huntsville

Henrietta’s Pine Bakery: Styled after traditional European bakeries, Henrietta’s is a favourite with locals and visitors. Customers line up for their delicious baked goods and desserts including sticky buns, tarts and cakes.
Location: 92 King William Street, Huntsville and 2868 ON-60, Dwight

Beavertails: Satisfy your sweet tooth craving with a classic Canadian pastry coated with cinnamon sugar and other sweet toppings.
Location: 69 Main Street East, Huntsville

Tall Trees Muskoka: Upscale restaurant in a renovated heritage home featuring a seasonal, three-course menu, signature desserts and seasonally inspired cocktails. For something different, dine “alfresco” in one of the heated gazebos and keep an eye out for deer!
Location: 87 Main Street West, Huntsville

Canvas Brewing: Sample craft ales and lagers like the German-inspired or a smooth Ember ale with hints of toffee and caramel on the patio or in the taproom. Catch live music on most weekends.
Location: 12 John Street, Huntsville

That Little Place by the Lights: Rustic, home-cooked Italian dishes like pasta, gnocchi, pizza and lasagna plus a secret bar menu make this intimate eatery and seasonal patio a spot you’ll want to visit again.
Location: 76 Main Street East, Huntsville

Gravenhurst, Bracebridge and Muskoka Lakes

Approx. distance and travel time from Huntsville: 30-75 miles (50-115 kilometres), 30 minutes – 1.5 hours

Often referred to as Ontario’s “cottage country”, numerous lakeside resorts, charming communities and endless outdoor pursuits attract more than just cottagers to this beautiful region.

Larger towns include Bracebridge, home to the stunning Bracebridge Falls and Gravenhurst, featuring a lively wharf which serves as the departure point for scenic steamship cruises on Lake Muskoka. The township of Muskoka Lakes is anchored by the larger communities of Bala, Port Carling and Windermere.

Parking info

Find free parking for up to three hours on most main streets in Bracebridge and Gravenhurst, with additional parking available in designated parking lots.

Park for free in township parking lots in Port Carling and Bala. Some downtown parking lots have a two-hour limit, so read the signs carefully.

Places to stay in Gravenhurst, Bracebridge and Muskoka Lakes

Taboo Muskoka: From beautiful lake views to the famous manicured golf course, you’ll enjoy an idyllic stay at one of Muskoka’s top resorts.
Location: 1209 Muskoka Beach Road, Gravenhurst

Windermere House: An iconic Victorian landmark, guests can choose between luxurious resort accommodations or a private, four-bedroom historic cottage.
Location: 2508 Windermere Road, Windermere

JW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka Resort & Spa: Sweeping views of Lake Rosseau, award-winning on-site restaurants and plenty of entertaining outdoor activities make this the perfect home base.
Location: 1050 Paignton House Road, Minett

Touchstone Resort: From private sandy beaches overlooking the boat docks to soaring cliff tops with incredible views of Lake Muskoka, you’ll be captivated by the natural landscapes surrounding this resort.
Location: 1869 Muskoka District Road 118 West, Bracebridge

Jayne’s Cottages: Find luxury rentals with concierge services throughout Muskoka and experience your dream cottage country vacation.

Things to do in Gravenhurst, Bracebridge and Muskoka Lakes

Huckleberry Rock Lookout Trail: There’s no better way to admire the fall colours than by hiking along trails with panoramic landscape views.
Location: 1057 Milford Bay Road, Bracebridge 

Peninsula Trail: Admire breathtaking views of Lake Muskoka framed by fall foliage.
Location: 285 Steamship Bay Road, Gravenhurst

Muskoka Discovery Centre: See a variety of historical exhibits about steamships, boats and other water-based transportation. The Muskoka Story, is a new exhibit that delves into the 10,000-year-old Indigenous presence in Muskoka and the last 250 years of development in the region.
Location: 275 Steamship Bay Road, Gravenhurst

Sightseeing cruise: Board the Wenonah II or the R.M.S. Segwun, the only original coal powered steamship in North America for a lunch or dinner cruise on Muskoka’s famed lakes.
Location: 275 Steamship Bay Road, Gravenhurst

Bala Cranberry Festival: Don’t miss the popular Bala Cranberry Festival held in mid-October or all the tasty stops along the Muskoka Cranberry Route.
Location: 3130 Muskoka District Road 169, Bala

Muskoka Shipyards: Bring your shopping bags to this bustling marketplace of shops that feature jewellery, apparel, home décor and original art.
Location: 908 Bay Street, Gravenhurst

Where to eat and drink in Gravenhurst, Bracebridge and Muskoka Lakes

The Pearl Muskoka: Enjoy gourmet goodies, craft beverages and live music on the large patio of this artisanal market and snack bar.
Location: 3047 Muskoka Road 169, Bala

Blue Willow Tea Shop: Try seasonal tea flavours like pumpkin and cranberry, along with delicious homemade pastries and high tea experiences.
Location: 900 Bay Street, Gravenhurst

Lakeside Bala: Great food and gorgeous waterfront views go hand-in-hand.
Location: 3068 Muskoka District Road 169, Bala

Dock of the Bay: A popular spot for great steak, seafood and pasta with a stunning view over Lake Muskoka from the outdoor patio.
Location: 1110 Bay Street, Gravenhurst

Muskoka Brewery: Sample unique and refreshing handcrafted beers on the large outdoor patio with fire pits.
Location: 1964 Muskoka Beach Road, Bracebridge

Extend your trip: If you have extra time, take the opportunity to drive northwest to Parry Sound and embark on a sightseeing float plane tour with Georgian Bay Airways. Experience a once-in-a-lifetime adventure over historic sights, natural wilderness, Georgian Bay’s rugged coastline and the 30,000 islands.
Location: 11A Bay Street, Parry Sound

Find more amazing things to do in Ontario.

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Last updated: October 26, 2023

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