8 Top-Rated Resorts in Huntsville
At the very heart of Muskoka - a place of stunning natural beauty that's also known as "cottage country" for its many summer homes - is the pleasant town of Huntsville, the largest community in the region and a popular vacation destination. The big draw? Tourists flock here to experience everything from superb attractions, a vibrant theater and music scene (Shania Twain cut her teeth here), and, of course, to stay at some of Ontario's top resorts and hotels.
Setting the bar highest when it comes to accommodations is the sprawling Deerhurst Resort. This huge property is capable of hosting more than 1,000 guests and boasts world-class convention facilities (good enough to host Canada's 2010 G8 Summit) along with plenty of great outdoor activities. Vacationers can also choose from a selection of more modest resorts, too, including family-owned and operated affairs such as the quaint Colonial Bay Cottage Resort on Peninsula Lake and historic lodges such as Pine Lodge Inn.
Whatever your preference and budget, Huntsville offers numerous great options for those wanting to stay awhile and explore Muskoka and nearby Algonquin and Arrowhead provincial parks.
1 Deerhurst Resort
Tracing its roots to its beginnings as a hunting and fishing lodge in the late 19th century, Deerhurst Resort is the jewel in the crown of Huntsville's resort scene. As popular with families from Toronto as it is with golfers from the US and adventure seekers from Europe, Deerhurst offers endless outdoor fun. On-site amenities include a private beach and indoor/outdoor swimming pools, an extensive trail network, two golf courses, boat rentals, treetop trekking, and even stables offering horse rides. There are plenty of things to do indoors, too, including a rock-climbing wall and play zone for kids (babysitting services can be arranged), squash and tennis courts, plus a fitness center, full-service spa, and on-site dining. Off-site fun includes skiing at Hidden Valley (just minutes away by car), endless snowmobile trails, plus all-terrain vehicle adventures.
Deerhurst also offers a similar breadth of choice when it comes to accommodations. Guests can choose from traditional hotel rooms boasting great lake views to larger open-concept suites with separate seating areas and balconies. Better still for larger groups are a number of elegantly appointed one-, two-, and three-bedroom units with all the comforts of home, including kitchens, second bathrooms, and separate living rooms.
Address: 1235 Deerhurst Drive, Huntsville, Ontario
Accommodation: Deerhurst Resort
2 Hidden Valley Resort
Just minutes away from Deerhurst Resort and downtown Huntsville, Hidden Valley Resort offers an affordable alternative for those seeking a great resort experience in Muskoka. It's particularly popular during the winter months for its on-site ski facilities, including 11 runs, a terrain park for snowboarders, a ski club, private and group lessons, as well as ski camps for youngsters. Other fun winter activities available here include cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and ice fishing.
Warmer weather options include a swimming pool, private beach, use of kayaks and canoes, along with a tennis court. Also available on-site: a gym, sauna, and restaurant. As for accommodations, guests have a variety of upgraded and spacious hotel-style options to choose from, most with king or queen beds, large bathrooms with bathtubs and showers, separate sitting areas, fridges, and great lake views from their balconies.
Address: 1755 Valley Road, Huntsville, Ontario
Accommodation: Hidden Valley Resort
3 Trillium Resort and Spa
Located just a short drive south of Huntsville, Trillium Lake Resort and Spa is one of the most popular getaway destinations north of Toronto for couples seeking some down time together. Set on a heavily wooded, 86-acre site with its own waterfall and lake, this adults-only destination offers plenty of year-round fun, indoors and out. Activities include exploring the resort's nature trails, rock-climbing, tennis, swimming off the floating dock, a fitness center, Finnish sauna, and an outdoor pool with hot tub. Guests also have use of the resort's kayaks, canoes, and mountain bikes. Winter fun includes skating, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and direct access to the region's extensive snowmobile trails.
Accommodations at Trillium Resort consist of six delightful chalets set overlooking the lake, along with a further 10 smaller cabins set back in the woods. Spacious one-bedroom cabins feature large dining areas, full-kitchens, bathrooms with large tubs, a wood-burning stove, and large private terraces or decks. Some also come with pull-out couches. Pet-friendly options are available.
Address: 848 Clearwater Lake Rd, Port Sydney, Ontario
Accommodation: Trillium Resort and Spa
4 Colonial Bay Cottage Resort
One of Muskoka's top-ranked, family owned and operated resorts, Colonial Bay Cottage Resort is situated on pretty Peninsula Lake just minutes from Huntsville. It's also perfectly located for those wanting to experience the wilderness activities on offer in Algonquin Provincial Park, from kayaking and canoeing trips to wildlife and nature tours and endless hiking trails. The resort itself offers much family fun, from a great sandy beach with a water trampoline, watercraft (kayaks and canoes), fishing, and a kids' play area.
When it comes to bedding down for the night, the resort delivers an excellent cottage experience. Stand-alone units include single bedroom cottages capable of sleeping up to four guests (they come with a sofa bed), a combined living and dining area, full kitchen (plus an outdoor barbecue), air conditioning, and satellite TV. A three-bedroom cottage is also available that can sleep up to six guests comfortably, while the standard studio suites are perfect for couples.
Address: 2218 ON-60, Huntsville, Ontario
Accommodation: Colonial Bay Cottage Resort
5 Pine Lodge Inn
Located in the small village of Port Sydney just minutes from downtown Huntsville (check out the welcome sign, which includes the fact the community even has a "grump" living here!), Pine Lodge Inn has been providing visitors to Muskoka with a wonderful small-resort experience since it opened in 1927. Set overlooking lovely Mary Lake (from here, you can boat all the way to Huntsville), the resort offers just 14 accommodations, ensuring a peaceful vacation in a beautiful and tranquil setting.
Recently renovated guest rooms range from attractive standard rooms, with comfortable bedding and walkout balconies, to a larger two-storey loft suite, with separate bedroom and living space, a mini-fridge, electric fireplace, and large private deck. Guests will also want to indulge in some fine food on offer at Grille '27, the on-site restaurant, popular for its fresh home-cooked meals.
Address: 484 Muskoka Rd 10, Port Sydney, Ontario
Accommodation: Pine Lodge Inn
6 Blue Water Acres
Another of Huntsville's popular traditional lakeside family resorts, Blue Water Acres is located on the lovely Lake of Bays, one of Muskoka's largest lakes and one that offers endless boating and water sports fun. Open year-round, summer fun includes access to a private beach and swimming pool, tennis court, fishing, and a games room. Off-site amenities of note include nearby marinas providing boat rentals, plenty of golf options (be sure to try the day memberships available at beautiful Bigwin Island Golf Club), and access to the many trails and wildlife spotting options in nearby Algonquin Park. Come winter, it's all about skating, tobogganing, ice fishing, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing, while just a short drive away are the ski slopes of Hidden Valley.
Cottage-style accommodation options consist of stand-alone cabins huddled around the waterfront. Sleeping from two- to six guests comfortably, these quaint cottages come with full kitchens, spacious bathrooms, authentic wood-burning fireplaces, and large private decks. Larger three-bedroom cottages are also available, complete with two bathrooms, huge sundecks, and propane fireplaces. If it's available, shoot for the two-story unit, which boasts a lovely traditional Muskoka room for added space.
Address: 1052 Rat Bay Road, Huntsville, Ontario
Accommodation: Blue Water Acres
7 Cedar Grove Lodge
Located on the shores of Peninsula Lake, all-season Cedar Grove Lodge prides itself on its cozy, rustic log cabins and fun, family atmosphere. Located between Algonquin Provincial Park and Huntsville, the lodge offers no shortage of great things to see and do, from exploring the beautiful natural surroundings to enjoying the shopping, dining, and entertainment available in town. There's also much to encourage guests to stay on resort, too, including a kid-friendly beach with shallow water and a water trampoline; water-skiing and tubing; a beach barbecue; use of canoes, kayaks, paddleboats, paddleboards, windsurfers, and rowboats; plus pontoon boat rides - all of the above included in the cost of your stay. Motorized boats are also available for rent. Other perks include dining (daily meals are included in your stay) plus a 24-hour tea and coffee station.
Accommodations consist of 19 stand-alone cottages spread out across the property's expansive shoreline, each with its own stone fireplace and lake views. Guests can choose from well-appointed one-bedroom cottages all the way up to larger three-bedroom deluxe versions, with heated slate flooring in the bathrooms.
Address: 167 Grassmere Resort Road, Peninsula Lake, Huntsville, Ontario
Accommodation: Cedar Grove Lodge
8 Norsemen Walker Lake Resort
Located on beautiful Walkers Lake (one of thousands of smaller lakes spread across Muskoka), Norsemen Walker Lake Resort offers couples and families a relaxed getaway in a tranquil corner of cottage country. Comprising just a handful of quaint cottage accommodations, the resort offers plenty of space to spread out and relax, or enjoy on-site amenities such as the first-rate Norsemen Restaurant (part of the original historic lodge building), a beach area with a diving platform and water trampoline, a variety of people-powered watercraft (canoes, kayaks, paddleboats and paddleboards), and fishing boats.
As for the cottages, a popular option is the modern two-bedroom unit with a separate living area, cathedral ceiling, real woodstove, full kitchen, and a large deck with a barbecue and superb views. Another good choice is the larger three-bedroom unit that sleeps up to eight comfortably.
Address: 1040 Walker Lake Dr, RR4, Huntsville, Ontario
Accommodation: Norsemen Walker Lake Resort