Cruise the Lakes
Take a cruise for splendid views.
The history and tradition of Ontario’s cottage country is tied entirely to the waterways that define our very character. Water is everywhere in the wilderness north of Toronto, and what better way to experience this freshwater paradise than to take a cruise on one of the fantastic boats that cross our rivers and lakes?
Consider an extended stay in Ontario’s cottage country and explore our stunning waters (with map below):
Day 1 – Muskoka Steamships: Gravenhurst (“A” to “B” on Map)
After driving north from Toronto, stop in Gravenhurst and hop aboard the RMS Segwun, a 130-year old steamship, for a two-hour cruise past stretches of natural scenic shoreline and views of grand summer homes. Enjoy lunch on the ship and learn about the rich history of Muskoka as you go along. Afterwards head next door to the one-of-a-kind Muskoka Discovery Centre, where the traditions of the steamships, classic wood and antique boats, and the resorting industry are highlighted. Experience the fascinating new “Watershed Wonders” Exhibit while you’re there too – all of this located at the magnificent Muskoka Wharf.
Day 2 – The Lady Muskoka: Bracebridge (“B” to “C” on Map)
Head a bit further north to Bracebridge, a charming place known for its incredible waterfall in the centre of town. Take a walk through the historic downtown, visit local shops and dining establishments, and then take a trip down the Muskoka River aboard the Lady Muskoka to explore this major regional waterway and Lake Muskoka itself. Enjoy great food and drink on board as well. You can also try paddling the river with a SUP or kayak rental from LivOutside – located across the road from the Lady Muskoka pier.
Day 3 – The SS Bigwin: Dorset (“C” to “D” on Map)
From Bracebridge , travel north-east to the beautiful Lake of Bays and cruise aboard the historical SS Bigwin, which departs from the dock in the historic Village of Dorset. Arrive early and tour the Marine Museum, where you will find artefacts, photographs and historical recollections about the marine history surrounding the area. After your cruise, refresh yourself at the Lake of Bays Brewing Co., one of Ontario’s fastest-growing craft breweries, to sample delicious ales in the little beer garden.
Day 4 – Sunset Cruises: Port Carling (“D” to “E” on Map)
It’s a morning of driving across Ontario’s cottage country to the historic town of Port Carling – the heart of Muskoka and the hub of the Muskoka lakes. Join Captain Potts and the crew of Sunset Cruises for a tour on the Peerless II – a 1940s supply boat that has been lovingly restored. Enjoy the informative commentary by Captain Potts and his crew as they regale you with local history. Be sure to stop at the Muskoka Lakes Museum (also at the locks in town on James Bartleman Island) for a further look into the region’s past, or perhaps a refreshing picnic. Lots of great dining and patios are close at hand for lunch in Port Carling as well.
Day 5 – Island Queen or MV Chippewa III: Parry Sound on Georgian Bay (“E” to “F” on Map)
Visit Parry Sound next to explore the UNESCO Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve, a unique 200 mile stretch of coast that’s also home to the world’s largest freshwater archipelago.
The 30,000 Island Cruise Line in Parry Sound departs in the afternoon for a three-hour cruise aboard their flagship vessel, the Island Queen, to Georgian Bay’s outer islands, and you’ll visit historic sites like the Hole in the Wall, Killbear Provincial Park and the Rose Point Swing Bridge along the way.
New in 2018, check out their Islander Adventure Tours offered on their new 40-passenger boat that will take you places in the archipelago bigger boats can’t go.
You can also cruise on a replica schooner – the MV Chippewa III, which moors at the Parry Sound harbour as well.
Interested in a locally made craft brew while you cruise? Check out the new Trestle Brewing Company for details on their Craft Beer Cruise events in partnership with the MV Chippewa III offered during the summer months.