When it gets dark in the forest, it gets dark. No street lights, no porch lights, no car lights, just the light flickering from the stars, the moon, and their reflections in the ripples of the black lake.
Finding things to do in Huntsville Ontario is easy as Huntsville is one of Ontario’s most beloved four-season destinations, perfect for an Ontario weekend getaway. This town is a vibrant, vast, and wondrous playground that attracts visitors from every corner of the world to enjoy the serenity and warmth of a small community nestled amongst the lakes and trees overflowing from nearby iconic Algonquin Provincial Park.
What makes Huntsville so special is connecting everyone’s soul with the outdoors while experiencing everything a flourishing community can offer. Everybody says hi and is so friendly.
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When to Go to Huntsville, ON
Huntsville is beautiful in all seasons, but the most popular time to visit is during the summer. The warmer months allow you to enjoy all the outdoor activities that this town is known for.
Spring: May – June
Summer: July – August
Fall: September – October
Winter: November – April
How to Get to Huntsville
If you’re coming by car, Huntsville is a two-hour drive north from Toronto or about an hour and fifteen minutes south of Ottawa. You can also fly into the town’s airport which offers daily flights on Air Canada Jazz from destinations such as Montreal or Quebec City.
If you’re travelling by bus, Greyhound buses depart from Ottawa, Montreal, and Toronto. If you’re travelling from downtown Toronto it will take you about four hours to get to Huntsville. There are also night bus options available. The buses cost between US$37 – US$59.
If you’re travelling by train, VIA Rail offers trains that depart from major cities in Eastern Canada and trek almost all the way up to Huntsville. These trips can take four days depending on where your starting point is but are generally a much more affordable option than flying into town! However, since you’ll need to take a bus to complete the trip, this form of transportation is not ideal.
Best Huntsville Things to Do
Huntsville is a quaint, one-of-a-kind town where you can get lost in the magic of nature and discover your own personal space. The community offers over 100 restaurants to enjoy delicious cuisine from around the world, 120 kilometres of pristine lakeshore to explore on foot or by boat, and over 300 km of backcountry to get lost in.
The Algonquin Theatre has been host to a wide variety of plays, musical performances, meetings, videos, presentations, and school groups. As you stroll along the historic streets of downtown Huntsville you will have the opportunity to view the breathtaking bronze statue of Tom Thomson, created by local sculptor Brenda Wainman-Goulet.
This is a piece of history incorporated within the Civic Square illustrating the Town’s motto “touch the past, embrace the future”.
Historic downtown Huntsville is Algonquin Outfitters’ home of its largest retail location, with three floors of great gear and clothing for outdoor adventures. Located on Main Street, at the Brunel Street intersection, and backing onto the beautiful Muskoka River, the Huntsville store offers an amazing retail experience.
It is primarily a specialty outdoor store with an emphasis on camping equipment, paddlesports, bikes, Alpine and Nordic skis, snowshoes, outdoor clothing, and footwear. Reservation is recommended.
Muskoka Heritage Place
The Heritage Place is an amalgam of buildings and stories from the area as it developed through the late 1800s and into the 1900s. There are costumed Docents throughout to provide a take on the history of the times of the schoolhouse, bakery, and other buildings. A journey that begins with Muskoka’s first people. There are hundreds of artifacts, features, and even a self-guided scavenger hunt that would challenge all ages.
Heritage Place Train Station
It takes a great deal of skilled manpower and resourcefulness to keep a historic antiquated railway in operation. Just imagine yourself back in 1904, heading toward South Portage and Lake of Bays.
You can take a scenic trip that takes about 30 minutes along the Muskoka River onto Fairy Lake Station to see the technical aspects of the railway. There is an oral presentation inside the train.
The Lions Lookout Trail can be accessed at the Forbes Hill Dr and Camp Kitchen Road intersection behind the Active Living Centre at the Canada Summit Centre. The trail follows Camp Kitchen Road along the Muskoka River to Fairy Lake. It then crosses the Portage Flyer railway tracks and heads up a steep slope to the top of the sports track.
The trail continues around the track and along the roadway to Forbes Hill Dr. The view from the top of the track across Fairy Lake is magnificent and the trail is 1.5km long and has steep inclines. So be sure that you can tackle this one before you arrive, and strap on some good hiking shoes.
Canvas Brewing Co.
Canvas Brewing Co. was born out of a love for the local landscape and a passion for fresh, well-made craft beer. Their debut brew is a German-inspired lager ale with the flavour of an ale and the crisp finish of a lager. With a sweet, malty aroma and flavour, Canvas Kolsch finishes dry and refreshing with a subtle hint of German hops.
The home of Canvas Brewing Company, the newest craft brewery in the region, was established in downtown Huntsville in late 2018. Located just east of the swing bridge, their brewery will boast two outdoor patios, a taproom with 20 taps and a 3200 sq. ft. event space.
Arrowhead Provincial Park
Arrowhead Provincial Park offers many winter activities to choose from including cross country skiing, snow tubing, snowshoeing and an ice skating path in the forest. There are some spectacular views from the Big Bend Lookout and Stubbs Falls. They also have plenty of trails for Huntsville hiking and some for biking. You can also see moose, deer, beavers, otters, and all sorts of birds in their natural habitat.
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Best Huntsville Ontario Restaurants
While you’re in Huntsville, treat yourself to the best cuisines the town has to offer. Even better than their food is the wonderful, welcoming atmosphere of these restaurants, chocolatiers and bakeries. You’re sure to walk away with a smile on your face.
That Little Place By The Lights
Located downtown Huntsville, a family-owned restaurant resides. That Little Place By The Lights showcases a European vibe in Huntsville and was even featured on a food network show “You Gotta Eat Here”.
Serving you a variety of authentic Italian dishes such as Italian pasta, gnocchi, and pizza. According to previous customers, the most recommended order here is lasagna, gelato, and ravioli.
The Huntsville brewhouse is known for its brisket sandwich, and the best veggie and turkey burger in town. With street-facing windows that draw up to welcome in the fresh air, this is the spot to be in the downtown core.
Its extra-small batch brewing facility includes a full kitchen with a seated capacity of 100+ people. A cozy ambiance will encourage you to grab their best-selling trout tacos, and fish and chips while sipping your favourite beers and wines.
The Nutty Chocolatier
I was first introduced to this delicious chocolate on a day trip to Port Perry.
The Nutty Chocolatier is an adventure into a time when life was slower and sweeter and the customer was King. Each of its stores throughout Ontario, Canada is charmingly old-fashioned. Offering the finest, richest Belgian chocolate, truffles, and hand-crafted chocolate specialties available.
The Nutty Chocolatiers’ incredible assortment of imported candies and an amazing variety of treats will please all ages. The homemade fudge and “Create Your Own Flavour” yogurt cones, in particular, are to die for.
Every since I tried one during a weekend getaway in Ottawa I’ve been a huge fan.
At this little spot, their specialty is in the name. A BeaverTail is often described as a flat donut. It can be dressed with a variety of themed toppings, including Apple Pie, Oreo, and Strawberry Cheesecake.
If sweets aren’t for you, there are a few savoury options to choose from as well, like the Poutail, poutine on a BeaverTail; and the SayCheese, a giant mozzarella cheese stick with a BeaverTail pastry coating. The restaurant has some classic touches including a vintage canoe hanging in the seating area to bring you back.
Seng’s Authentic Thai Cuisine
Honest food and honest drinks set the foundation of Seng Thai Cuisines menu. Established in August 2018, SengThai’s menu is inspired by northern Thailand cuisine, which Soukhaserm (owner) says is quite different from the food in southern Thailand.
The food is healthy and made fresh to order. Their best-selling dishes are pad thai, a stir-fried rice noodle dish, as well as green curry, and spicy tom yum hot and sour Thai soup.
Accommodation in Huntsville, Ontario
Staying in a lovely space can really add to your trip to Huntsville. There are gorgeous log cabins, stone houses, and luxurious guest houses to rest your head and recharge for another day of adventure. You could even set up a tent in one of the great Huntsville campgrounds. Take your pick – you won’t be disappointed.
Cedar Grove Lodge
An eco-friendly cottage resort located on beautiful Peninsula Lake, Cedar Grove Lodge is stretched along 1500 feet of picturesque Muskoka shoreline. Many of their log cabins have wood-burning fieldstone fireplaces. Packages include three meals per day which are served in our dining room. Must try here is to experience “A Muskoka Tradition”.
Muskoka Guest Nest
Here you can find a luxuriously appointed spacious queen bedroom with a garden view, overhead ceiling fan, and tastefully decorated four-piece ensuite bath. Relax and enjoy your luxury accommodation with a private entrance.
The beautiful sunken living room with a wood-burning stone fireplace opens onto a delightful garden, stone patio, and the Muskoka River. Fully equipped kitchenette with a selection of gourmet teas, coffees, and bottled spring water provided. Enjoy Muskoka, paddling in the guest canoe, swimming, watching the ducks off the dock, or reading in the hammock.
Morgan House Bed and Breakfast
This historic stone house offers up a unique country experience from its surrounding 80 acres of ponds, meadows, and forest. Morgan House has been beautifully restored and the old-fashioned kitchen provides a hearty home-cooked breakfast in an inviting setting. The gardens and ponds entice guests to wander or just hang about with a good book.
Things to Do in Port Sydney
Port Sydney is a lovely little town just 12km south of Huntsville. If you find yourself having done all of the Huntsville activities that interest you, head to this picturesque spot. You won’t regret it.
History of Port Sydney
Although the Port Sydney area had been visited many times in the early 1800s, it was not until Stephenson Township was surveyed in 1861 that settlers began to trickle into the area. Settlers had to come to the area up the arduous Muskoka Road or Muskoka River that led northward from Bracebridge to Huntsville. They were encouraged by free (with some stipulations) land grants.
Over the intervening years, these visitors developed roots in the village that mingled with those of the original settlers. They helped to preserve the century-old homes and now their great-grandchildren enjoy the area throughout all four seasons.
The village has developed a unique quality of history and beauty that is both cherished by those who have settled here and by the many who visit Port Sydney.
Port Sydney Beach
The sandy beach in Port Sydney offers close to 80 metres of shoreline on Mary Lake. Venture south down Muskoka Road 10 and take a look at the beautiful waterfalls. The beach offers swimming, boating, and fishing in Mary’s Lake, one of Huntsville’s best fishing spots.
Fish on this peaceful lake, swim, and stay overnight at Marys Lake campground or lodge. The lake is stocked with rainbow trout in the spring and fall and catches brown and lake trout, and kokanee salmon.
A campground is right next to Mary’s Lake with space for RVs and tents and is open May-October. Swimming is also one of the best things to do in Mary’s Lake but the town of Huntsville is advised that a swimming advisory has once again been issued for Port Sydney Beach. Swim lessons will be relocated from Port Sydney to Hutcheson Beach.
Jamieson’s General Store
Jamieson’s General Store was started as a means to make locally sourced products more accessible within the community. Located in the heart of Port Sydney, Jamieson’s General Store is a local variety store designed to be a one-stop-shop with good coffee, baked goods, groceries, and perogies. Everything you could possibly need for heading to the cottage is here. Jamieson’s General Store is known for its best-selling Kawartha ice cream and pizza.
Port Sydney Falls & Port Sydney Dam
Bring tubes and enjoy sliding down the rapids. Surrounded by cottage country, next to Mary’s Lake you’ll find the Port Sydney Slide just below the dam. There is a strong current down from the falls and wearing life jackets is recommended.
The river spills over a large incline of bedrock and alongside large sections of exposed bedrock just below it. It is more of a natural “water slide” than a cascade or plunge “Waterfall”. Parking is located near the slide and offers a very nice view of Mary Lake and the dam.
Sugarbush Hill Maple Farm
Sugarbush Hill is a “State of the Art” sugaring operation in the heart of Muskoka, a district of 1,600 lakes and endless forests. It is situated just 10 minutes south of the picturesque town of Huntsville.
Sugarbush Hill is family-owned and operated by Tom Stehr, family, and friends. Aside from their authentic maple syrup, they also serve the best ice cream to die for.
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Last Thoughts on Huntsville Canada Points of Interest
Huntsville has plenty to see and do, from wonderful restaurants to exciting trails and easy sightseeing, Huntsville offers the perfect escape for any soul, regardless of age or interests.
So pack your bags, and get ready for a fantastic weekend away. If you have any questions or just want to gush over your experience of Huntsville’s attractions, please leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you!
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