The Muskoka area of Ontario, Canada is a rolling expanse of forest and lake, quietly beautiful. Highlights of the area include Georgian Bay with its rocky inlets and wood-lined shores. It was scenery like this - and further east, in the Algonquin - that inspired Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven painters. The view, as evening falls over the silver water, broken by the low outlines of islands (there are about 30,000 in the Bay) is hauntingly beautiful.
The region of Muskoka covers a large area; which including many small towns, and while Muskoka is physically similar throughtout experiences can vary differently depending on where you visit as some are more laid back than others. Much of Muskoka, especially around Georgian Bay or any other body of water, is private property. Towns such as Honey Harbour are filled with fenced cottages whose residents may not be very welcoming. Unless you are renting a cottage, it is better to stay away from the towns and instead turn to the many provincial parks in the area. These offer parking, facilities, access to the water and campgrounds.
If you are interested in boating, do not expect to find boat rentals by Muskoka's lakes. If you drive in through Barrie, it has several rental shops you can stop at before heading further north.
You can reach Muskoka on a day trip from Toronto. Since it is such a large area, travel times can vary. From Toronto, most tend to take Highway 400 north, through Barrie, then have a choice of whether to continue on the 400 or change to Highway 11. The former generally takes you to western areas of Muskoka (i.e. Port Severn, Midland), while the latter takes you to the more well known cities of the area (i.e. Gravenhurst, Bracebridge, Huntsville).
Since there are so many lakes between the two highways and around them, there are hundreds of winding "cottage" roads taking a traveller to more specific areas and smaller towns, such as Bala and Rosseau. The main highways between the major two are highways 169, 118, and 69.
Six Mile Lake Provincial Park . A park right off the 400. Parking, campgrounds and facilities available. Allows access to Six Mile Lake, perfect to explore on canoe. Much of the coast is private property, but still a great Muskoka experience. Ideal for a day trip.
Bala Falls, Bala, Ontario (hwy 169, north of Gravenhurst.). Muskokas biggest falls! Bala is a great town.
ReelPro Fishing Charters, 1217 Muldrew Lake Rd, Gravenhurst P1P1T9, ☎ 705-238-3637, . Daily fishing charters on Lake Muskoka, great family fun. www.reelpro.ca email@example.com
Algonquin Park, There is spectacular hiking, canoeing and camping among other things in this vast and beautiful provincial park.
Redline Outdoors, 200 Townline Rd. Huntsville ON P1H 1S7, ☎ 705-380-3052, . Provides services from fishing guides/charters to ATV rental, snowmobile rental and Algonquin adventure charters. Fishing guides/charters are offered within the Muskoka Region, bordering the Severn River System, Sparrow Lake & Lake Couchinging, north to the Huntsville Water Way, Lake of Bays & Muskoka.
Muskoka Steamships, Gravenhurst, Ontario, ☎ 1-866-687-6667, . Operates boat cruises lasting from an hour to a full day on 3 connecting lakes. Vessels include the air-conditioned diesel-powered WENONAH II launched in 2002 and the coal-fired steamship RMS SEGWUN of 1887.
Honeymoon Gondola, 53 Port Severn Rd. N, Port Severn, ☎ 705-529-4902, . Canada's only Venetian gondola service. Our treasured guests enjoy a romantic, relaxing, exclusive cruise around this spectacular Little Lake in Port Severn Ontario Canada on our beautiful wedding sandolo. On all our tours we will provide you and your guest with the use of ice, ice bucket, wine glasses, opener and bottled Italian water . You can bring your own favorite beverage if you like. Warm blankets are also available for the cool summer nights as well as umbrellas to protect you from the mid day sun. Create a lasting memory with that special someone as you glide silently around our quaint lake guided by a charming gondolier.(44.803647,-79.727625)
Loondocks - Tastes of Muskoka, 98 Joseph Street (right on hwy 118 in Port Carling. Next to the Lift Bridge.), ☎ 705-765-5191, . 5pm-close. Nice dining right in the heart of Port Carling. Beautiful patio overlooking the indian river and boat locks. Local, fresh cuisine. No deep fryer or microwave. Great food, great service and great view.$6-$36.
A good place to party in the summer months, when it is much busier. There are places to drink around, ranging from small places to fairly large establishments. Private cottage parties are also popular, especially in areas further from the bars.
The Key to Bala,. A large venue with many concerts throughout the summer.
Lake of Bays Brewing Company, . A newly constructed brewery in Baysville, brewing a Pale Ale for the summer of 2010.
Residence Inn by Marriott Gravenhurst Muskoka Wharf (on pristine Lake Muskoka) . 285 Steamship Bay Road, Phone: 1-705-687-6600, Toll-free: 1-866-580-6238. Rates from $149 per night.
Delta Grandview, . A hotel with a rustic feel; well-maintained, and like most Muskoka resorts, located deep in the woods overlooking a lake (Fairy Lake).
Trenanthia Cottage, Sparrow Lake, ☎ (416) 800 0219, . A beautiful lakeside 5 bedroom, 4 bathroom cottage available to rent year-round in the Muskokas. Built-in Hot Tub open throughout the seasons. Surrounded by forest on 3 sides - a nature lovers paradise.
Beautiful Wilson Lake Resort on the scenic Pickerel River system. 1 to 6 bedroom fully equipped cottages [http:www.wilsonlakeresort.com]
The Rosseau, A JW Marriott Resort and Spa (located in the community of Red Leaves)  1050 Paignton House Road, Phone: 1-705-765-1900. Directly located on Lake Rosseau.
May, early Spring for the areas, is peak time for blackfly and mosquitoes.