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Your guide to Lake of Bays
All About Lake of Bays
The Lake of Bays region in the northeast of Muskoka, Ontario, is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. The township’s 100 lakes have a variety of appealing names — including Blue Chalk Lake, Porcupine Lake, Teapot Lake, and the Lake of Bays itself — and they’re alive with anglers, sailors, stand-up paddleboarders, and an array of local wildlife. In wintertime, the region transforms into a white wonderland for snowmobiling, ice fishing, and other seasonal activities. On land, you’ll discover walking and cycling trails, beaches, and parks to explore. Little hamlets and cottages dotted around the area promise indulgent bakeries and independent stores and restaurants. And if you visit one of the regular farmers’ markets, you’ll surely be able to sample the local maple syrup.
Lake of Bays boasts a thriving creative scene with many art shops and galleries showcasing all manner of crafts, including pottery, photography, painting, and woodturning. The region lies conveniently near several provincial parks to explore, and the Oxtongue River, which has both easy and difficult classes of rapids, is also within easy reach, as is the eco-tourism destination Limberlost Forest and Wildlife Reserve.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Lake of Bays
For sun and warmer temperatures, the best time to visit is between May and September, as the days are pleasant for hanging out on the waters, and the evenings are just cool enough for a sweatshirt or light jacket. But if ice fishing for lake trout or taking fat tire rides on the snowy landscape are your favorite ways to enjoy the freezing temperatures, then you’ll want to opt for a fall or winter trip.
As Lake of Bays is a year-round destination, there’s always something happening in one of the hamlets, villages, or areas of natural beauty. During each weekend in February, the villages hold winter festivals, whereas in August, you can enjoy visits to the artists’ studios. If you’re planning to take the Lake of Bays Scenic Drive, book your Lake of Bays cottage rental in autumn to take in the vibrant colors of the fall leaves.
Top things to do in Lake of Bays
Lake of Bays Scenic Drive
You can enjoy this 50-mile route by car, cycle, boat, or even snowmobile (weather permitting). Baysville, Dwight, and Dorset are a few villages along the way, and each one has a self-guided heritage walk, so you can stretch your legs and discover the local town before taking the scenic route to your next destination.
When visitors first started traveling to Lake of Bays over 100 years ago, the main method of enjoying the lakes was on a wooden steamship. Today, one original vessel remains — the SS Bigwin — which was renowned for ferrying international political figures and famous personalities across the waters. The boat was lovingly restored to its former glory in recent years and today offers cruises to the public. Departing from Dorset, you can take in the imposing cliffs and white pines as you glide across the lake in style.
Dorset Lookout Tower
Climb up to the 142-meter high observation deck at the Dorset Lookout Tower for 360-degree views across the incredible Muskoka landscape. The 90-year-old tower originally used as a fire lookout now welcomes visitors to take in the changing colors of the Lake of Bays region. Those with less of an appetite for heights can try the treetop viewing platform or just enjoy the cafe and gift shop on the ground.