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Updated November 26th, 2023 / Commissions may be earned from LuxuryMuskoka‘s affiliate partner links
The Muskoka area is renowned for its natural beauty. But there’s so much more to the area than just the incredible lakes. The surrounding towns also play an important part in making the perfect Muskoka experience.
Our guide to luxury living in Huntsville Ontario will tell you the best places to wine and dine, the hidden-gem activities and events, and the best times to shop to avoid the crowds. In fact, here you’ll find everything you need to know about the town in order to get you out and walking around like a local in no time.
Whether you’ve lived in the area for years or are just thinking about coming for a weekend, we’ve got you covered in our special guide to luxury lifestyles and living in Huntsville Ontario.
Luxury Living in Huntsville Ontario
Welcome to Huntsville – The ‘Capital’ of Muskoka
Huntsville is the largest town in Muskoka, with a year-round population of almost 20,000. As a result, it has tons of attractions and amenities that make it the perfect home base for your time in Ontario’s cottage country.
Just a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Toronto, Huntsville is located at the meeting point of two major Canadian highways: the north-to-south highway 11, and the east-bound highway 60 which offers a scenic drive through popular Algonquin Provincial Park.
The town of Huntsville is situated on the Canadian Shield, so it’s surrounded by beautiful rock features and dense forests. It sits in between Lake Vernon and Fairy Lake, which are connected by a set of narrows – this means not only some beautiful views from town but also tons of public and private waterfront property.
For all things Huntsville, check out the town’s official website at www.huntsville.ca/en/index.aspx.
What You Need to Know About Huntsville Real Estate
Being in the heart of cottage country, Huntsville is a great place to start looking for a cottage. There are a few larger lakes close to town that offer some amazing luxury Muskoka real estate, but there are also dozens of smaller lakes that can offer a more private cottaging experience.
It’s not all about the cottages though. With more and more people making the move to the Muskoka region, Huntsville also has lots of options for year-round living. There are usually lots of houses for sale in Huntsville and the surrounding areas, as well as some great options for lake-side condos if you’re looking for something a bit smaller or maintenance-free living.
Find out more about real estate in Huntsville.
The Serious Stuff – Huntsville Schools, Healthcare, and Services
If you’re thinking of making the move to Huntsville, you’ll want to know all about the services and supports this great town has to offer. In terms of healthcare, Huntsville has a fully equipped hospital right in town. This first-rate facility offers a 24-hour emergency department and in and out-patient care. There are also a number of family doctor clinics for all your other care needs.
If you’ve got kids, the town of Huntsville has got lots of options for schooling. There are several public elementary schools as well as options for Montessori and Catholic schooling. There is also a public high school which offers a lot of great programs like French immersion and co-op and has partnerships with several local colleges.
In terms of community safety, Huntsville has two fire stations as well as a police station that is a detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police, so help is nearby if you need it.
Find out more about Huntsville’s services here.
The Fun Stuff – Things to do in Huntsville
With such easy access to the surrounding beautiful landscape, it’s no surprise that there are a ton of fun things to do in Huntsville. There are plenty of lakes around that are perfect for swimming or taking a boat out – you can even rent a boat from a Huntsville marina if you don’t have your own.
Away from the water, there are plenty of great hiking trails in the area, including sections of the Trans Canada Trail – a mega-trail which runs from coast to coast – that run through Huntsville. For some great swimming spots in and around Huntsville, click here.
And, of course, the town of Huntsville is just a short drive away from Algonquin Park, which is packed with trails, camping areas, wildlife, and opportunities for outdoor fun. Better still, use the services of professionals like Algonquin Outfitters to set up a camp for you.
There’s still plenty to do when things turn snowy for the season as well. Check out the Muskoka Ski Club in Hidden Valley for some great local skiing and snowboarding, or head over to Arrowhead Park to experience their iconic skating trail through the scenic forest.
Huntsville Sports & Recreation
As Muskoka’s largest town, Huntsville has lots of options for residents to get involved with organized sports and fitness. There are a variety of clubs and organizations running all kinds of different activities, from curling and hockey to swimming lessons, many of which are hosted in the state-of-the-art Summit Centre, built for the G8 World Summit in 2018.
If organized sports aren’t a part of your fitness agenda, you might be interested in taking a class at one of Huntsville’s yoga studios. There’s even hot yoga available if you really want to sweat it out.
Muskoka is also known as one of the top golfing destinations in Canada, so be sure to make time to check out some of the local courses. Some favourites include the championship course at the Deerhurst Highlands, as well as the courses at Grandview Golf Club (which includes an academy course if you’re just starting out). Other notable Huntsville golf courses include North Granite Ridge and Huntsville Downs.
Find out more about recreation in Huntsville here.
Arts & Culture in Huntsville
Huntsville has historically been a hub for artists, many of whom are inspired by the beautiful landscapes of the Canadian Shield, and the town continues that tradition by partnering with local organizations to sponsor all sorts of artists. The town itself is covered in works by The Group of Seven in a massive outdoor gallery that can’t be missed and is also home to several great galleries downtown.
One great way to see how the landscape is reflected in the work of local artists is to check out the Muskoka Autumn Studio Tour. As the region’s trees change colour, artists all over the region open up their studios for visitors to come to see what they’re working on.
For live shows, check out what’s playing at the Algonquin Theatre. Their season usually has an array of events from local and touring theatre productions to concerts and art shows. Be sure to also check into the latest offerings from the excellent Huntsville Festival of the Arts, the region’s largest arts organization.
And if you’re craving some live music, many of the restaurants downtown have local artists playing throughout the week. While you’re at, be sure to enjoy a great meal, too.
Find out more about the art scene in Huntsville here.
The Huntsville Food & Drink Scene
There is no shortage of great places to eat and drink in Huntsville, from grabbing a quick bite to a full-blown night on the town. Downtown Huntsville has tons of places for a nice sit-down dinner with the whole family – there’s actually a restaurant called The Family Place which has some great comfort food that’s sure to hit the spot.
For something a bit fancier, you might want to check out Allora Muskoka for their authentic Italian menu, or even head out to Deerhurst Resort for a great steak and scenic view.
In need of a great place for a coffee and a sweet treat (be sure to try a Muskoka butter tart!)? Our favourites (and there are many!) include Affogato Café + Gelato and That Little Place By The Lights, both easy to find in the downtown core near the water and parks.
If you’re looking to grab a drink with friends, there are some great local breweries that have taprooms with their full line-up of brews. Check out the Huntsville Brewhouse by Lake of Bays Brewery or try out the rooftop patio at Canvas Brewery.
Find out more about the best Huntsville restaurants here.
Where to Shop in Huntsville
If you’re someone who likes to spend an afternoon shopping, downtown Huntsville is the place for you. Main Street has all sorts of unique and locally run stores, from jewelry and clothing to antiques and toy stores, and a lot in between. It’s also an amazingly picturesque area. So much so, in fact, that Hallmark has even used Huntsville’s downtown as a filming location for a Christmas special.
Huntsville has more to offer than just great window shopping, though. There are also all the essentials you could need to set up and maintain your house or cottage, like hardware stores and pharmacies. There are a few large grocery stores, and also a great food cooperative with tons of locally grown produce.
There’s only one LCBO in town, though, so you might want to plan ahead on picking up drinks or else you might get caught in the dreaded Friday-afternoon line-up.
For more on shopping in Huntsville, click here.
Try Before You Buy – Where to Stay in Huntsville
If you’re somehow not yet sold on moving to this great cottage country gem of a town or want to do some in-person research, then a trip to the area might be just the thing. Luckily, there are plenty of great places to stay in Huntsville.
If you’re looking to get a feel for small-town life, you might want to check out one of the hotels in Huntsville itself. And if staying in town isn’t for you, there are plenty of resorts in the area that offer all kinds of perks which can turn even a short stay into a memorable one. Many Muskoka resorts also have lake access so you can get something closer to the cottage experience.
LuxuryMuskoka recommends the following first-rate Muskoka resorts for those wanting to linger longer in Huntsville cottage country. Check on each link for the latest reviews, rates, and reservations from our preferred accommodations partner:
When it comes to cottages though, nothing beats the real thing. Fortunately, there are plenty of luxury cottage rentals available in the area. This is a great option for trying the cottager lifestyle on for size, as well as scoping out potential lakes or areas where you might be interested in buying.
For more information and the chance to experience cottage life firsthand, be sure to read through our article on the best luxury Muskoka cottage rentals.
Kim Kerr is a travel writer and Co-Founder of Riley, a leading source of news and information about the world’s leading luxury destinations.
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