Muskoka, one of the best places for many things

Muskoka: Fun For Everyone

We love Muskoka and we know that you do, too! Part of its attraction, beyond natural beauty and friendly people, is that there’s something for everyone to do here. Families and singles, young and young-at-heart, two-legged and four-legged friends… there’s an attraction, event or activity to please everyone.

We’re not surprised that National Geographic Magazine included Muskoka in its newly-released book, “100 Places That Can Change Your Child’s Life,” adding to Muskoka’s earlier National Geographic designations as one of the 10 Best Summer Trips in 2011 and one of the Best of the World in 2012. It’s an amazing place for kids to explore, play or just hang out.

Signs of Spring

Spring may have arrived on the calendar but there’s still some winter left in Muskoka. With Easter weekend falling at the end of March this year, conditions are perfect for a long weekend full of snowy activities that normally aren’t possible at Easter

Our recent cold nights and warm days mean another sweet treat is on its way. The maples that provide such a beautiful show in the Fall begun to offer up the beginnings of yummy maple syrup. The best place to buy maple syrup is right at the farm gate of local producers. You can find a list here.

We hope you’re out enjoying the spring weather, no matter what it looks like right now. And summer will be here sooner that you think. Whether you plan to visit Muskoka an April weekend or once summer weather arrives, we hope you’ll choose to stay with us! You can view the availability of our waterfront cottages here.


Bruce, Nicolle, Addie, Ben and Luke

Colonial Bay Cottages


Family Day Weekend - Muskoka Style

Family Day Weekend Fun in Muskoka Winter Fun at Colonial Bay

Family Day Weekend is February 16-18.

Here are 10 ways to get outside and celebrate with family and friends in Muskoka:

1. Alpine Skiing – Hidden Valley Highlands Ski Area is a truly family-friendly ski hill with slopes for all ages and abilities. The Algonquin Outfitters Winter Carnival is back on Sunday, February 17with fun outdoor activities and demos. Plus, there’s face painting in the chalet by Painted Kids.

2. Cross Country Skiing – Arrowhead Park has 29 km of track-set, cross-country ski trails and 12km of skate skiing trails. Each trail is rated for difficulty and ranges from beginner to expert. You can rent both classic and skate skis at the fully stocked Park Pro Shop

3. Skating – Arrowhead Provincial Park’s skating trail is open late Saturday, February 16 and Sunday, February 17. Skate under the stars until 9:00 p.m. (with some added light from tiki torches along the path). A campfire will be roaring to warm fingers and toes or roast some hotdogs and marshmallows.

The Cann Lake skating rink, at the corner of Brunel Road and Forbes Hill Drive in Huntsville, will also be open, weather permitting, all weekend for outdoor skating.

If you prefer your fun indoors, the Canada Summit Centre has indoor public skating – check the link for the schedule.

4. Family Gold Rush Challenge at the Canada Summit Centre – “This Family friendly outdoor game will have you searching for gold all around the Canada Summit Centre. Be careful though, we've heard that gold bandits have been seen in the area!” Fee of $3.00 per person and minimum requirement of one adult per group.

5. Shopping – When you get tired of playing in the snow, check out some of our local businesses, cafes, and restaurants. Historic Downtown Huntsville has something for everyone: sporting goods, clothing, home décor, candy, toys, art and more!

6. Snowshoeing – Arrowhead Provincial Park There are over 6km of marked snowshoe trails . Travel along Mayflower Lake or stomp your way to Stubb's Falls. Snowshoe rentals are available at the Park Pro Shop.

7. Biking – Biking in the winter? Yep! You can rent a snowbike from Algonquin Outfitters and tackle snowy trails on two wheels.

8. Art – The Group of Seven Outdoor Gallery never closes! That’s because most of the installations are hung outside in public spaces. Wander the streets of Huntsville on foot, or hop in your car to find more art in Algonquin Park, Dorset, Dwight, and Baysville.

9. Winter in the Wild Festival in Algonquin Park A full day of indoor and outdoor events on Saturday, February 16, 2013. All activities are free with the purchase of a daily vehicle permit (except for food). There’s a guided winter bird walk; a snowshoe winter wildlife excursion; skating with a campfire, and barbecue; winter camping demonstrations; and a night hike wolf howl. Check the link for locations and schedule.

10. Play in the snow! Build a snow family. Build a snow fort and have a snowball fight. Make snow angels. Or make yourself a snow Muskoka chair to sit and enjoy the view.

We hope you have a fantastic long weekend no matter how you choose to enjoy it. And if you need a place to stay, there’s always the waterfront cottages at Colonial Bay! You can view our availability here.

Here’s to winter fun!

The Howell Family


Kearney Dog Sled Races

Dog Sled Races and Adventures.

There’s no end to the fun you can have in the snow in Muskoka. We often talk about skiing and snowshoeing and snowmobiling, but this weekend you can experience winter with some four-legged friends.

It’s the 19th annual Kearney Dog Sled Races,just a short drive north of Huntsville. In addition to sledding and skijoring races, there’s a whole bunch of family fun happening: kid and mutt races, face painting, an antique snowmobile display and parade, chainsaw carving, musicians, and tons of food!

To get you in the spirit, here’s some history and info on dog sledding and skijoring:

“Sled dogs have coexisted and cooperated in partnership with humans for many thousands of years in the northern regions of North America and Siberia. Archeological evidence puts the earliest date at over 4,000 years ago. Some anthropologists suggest that human habitation and survival in the Arctic would not have been possible without sled dogs.” (International Federation of Sled Dog Sports.)

“The first written account of a race was an informal challenge between travelers on the route from Winnipeg to St. Paul in the 1850s. In 1886, the first Saint Paul Winter Carnival featured sled dog races and ski competitions as part of the festival to glorify the attractions of winter in Minnesota.”

The most common dog-sledding commands are: Hike (start pulling), gee (veer right), haw (veer left), easy (slow down), whoa (stop) and on by (pass another team or other distraction).

Skijoring is Norwegian for ski driving. In this sport, a dog (or dogs) pulls a cross-country skier using harnesses and a rope.

You don’t need to have a Husky to skijor! Any enthusiastic breed that can follow commands will do, including Pointers, Setters, Golden Retrievers, Labs, American Bull Terriers, and Mastiffs.

If you aren’t coming to Muskoka this weekend or want to try dog sledding and skijoring for yourself, check out these local businesses:

Call of the Wild Adventures

Snow Forest Adventures

Voyageur Quest

Wilderness Adventures

Chocpaw Expeditions

The Bike Shop in Gravenhurst

There’s still lots of winter left in Muskoka! If dog sledding and skijoring aren’t your speed, join us at Colonial Bay for other winter activities.

You can view the availability of our North Muskoka family waterfront cottages here

Embrace winter, we hope to see you soon.

The Howells
Colonial Bay Cottages
Huntsville, Muskoka, Ontario, Canada


Thanksgiving and Fall Colours

Thanksgiving weekend is just around the corner. Nicolle and I look for forward to seeing new guests and many returning families at Colonial Bay this weekend. We are fortunate to be able to share this wonderful weekend with so many of you.

Sept 28 fromColonial Bay Dock   

Algonquin Park, as of this morning is still reporting PEAK colours. With the wind expected on Friday there may be a fair amount of leaf drop but you will still see some spectacular scenery.

There are a few lovely driving tours around Huntsville and Muskoka that you will find stunning reds, oranges and yellows mixed into the landscape. Traveling around Lake of Bay you can discover the villages of Dwight. Dorset, Baysville and return to Colonial Bay via Huntsville. While in Dorset don't miss the view from the Fire Tower. Another easy route is around Lake Vernon. Leaving Colonial Bay, you travel to Huntsville and continue west on Ravenscliffe Road to the end of Lake Vernon. Connect to East Fox Lake Rd., then Hoodstown Rd. (#45), Etwell Rd., and then Aspdin back to Huntsville. While in Huntsville visit the Pioneer Village and a drive to the top of Lion's Lookout.

This is also a nice time to visit some of the local waterways including Ragged Falls , Marshes Falls, and Oxtounge River Rapids. They are all within 15 minutes of Colonial Bay.

Looking for something fun - find and identify as many Group of Seven murals in and around Huntsville.

Happy Thanksgiving,


Bruce and Nicolle


Fall in (love with) Muskoka

Fall in (love with) Muskoka

You love Muskoka, don’t you? We know that if you’ve visited us once before (or many times), then you must. We don’t think it’s possible to come here and not be touched by Muskoka's natural beauty, charming towns and fabulous people. 

If there were ever a best time to fall in love with Muskoka, Autumn is probably it: warm days (mostly…), cool nights, a show of colour that gets better with each passing day and lots to see and experience without the crowds of summer. 

If you're planning to visit this month, here’s a taste of what’s happening for the rest of September in Muskoka:

  • The display of gorgeous fall color has started but isn’t at its peak yet (that means there’s still time for you to get here to see it). In Muskoka, most areas are reporting  5-20% change  while Algonquin Park is reporting  40% change . If you’re on Facebook, watch  our page  for photos or check out  Algonquin Park’s photo stream  for theirs.
  • Film North , the Huntsville International Film Festival, presents a selection of Canadian and international films at the Algonquin Theatre from September 20-22.
  • The  Muskoka Autumn Studio Tour  runs the next two weekends, September 22-23 and 29-30. Visit with local artists in their studios and see them in action!
  • Culture Days celebrates the arts and cultural life in communities across Canada on September 28-30. There are creative events and activities happening across Muskoka. Check out the  calendar of events  to see what’s on.
  • Northwords Muskoka Literary Festival runs from  September 28-30 with author presentations, workshops and special events. If you love books, this event is for you!
  • For all you cyclists out there (of both the road and mountain variety),  The Muskoka Bicycle Festival  celebrates all things bikes on Saturday, September 29.

As always, we’re happy to see you any time of year but if you’ve never come for a visit in the Fall then  check out the availability  of our waterfront cottages and experience what some call Muskoka’s most spectacular season.

The Howell Family


Fall Promotions from Explorers Edge

From the Globe and Mail September 15, 2013

Roots co-founder Michael Budman and champion kayaker Adam van Koeverden figure in a campaign from Cloud AdAgents for Ontario Regional Tourism Organization 12, also known as Explorers’ Edge, to promote Algonquin Park and the surrounding region in the fall. The campaign includes radio, online, out of home and social media and focuses on an atypical fall colour — blue.“The thousands of sparkling blue lakes that carpet this region really amplify the fall colours,” said James Murphy, executive director of Explorer’s Edge. “If you look at a photo of our region in the fall, mostly likely you will see a lake in it, and blue will be the dominant colour amongst the red, yellow and orange.”

Video produced by Explores Edge, the regional marketing area in Ontarion which includes Muskoka, Huntsville, Algonquin Park, Lake of Bays and of course Colonial Bay Cottages

You Tube Video Links

Adam van Koeverden

Michael Budman



Fun and Fuel Promotion $100 Gift Cards

Experience the best autumn ever with the FALL Fuel & Fun! Package from Explorers’ Edge!

Book 2 a two-night or more night stay at COLONIAL BAY COTTAGES before September 15th, 2012 for the period between September 4th to November 15th, 2012 and you could be one of 500 travelers to get a $50 Gas Card and $50 worth of vouchers to use at the participating businesses listed below – a $100 total value package to travel this Fall!

Book early before these packages are gone. Once you have booked your stay, register online with your Accommodations Confirmation # to receive 1 of 500 available FALL Fuel & Fun! Packages.

Full details at Explores Edge

Colonial Bay Cottages, Peninsula Lake


Summer - Welcome to Muskoka

The unofficial start of summer is here! The May long weekend (celebrating the Victoria Day holiday but also affectionately known as May two-four) has almost arrived. We’ve been enjoying summer-like temperatures and although the water is still cool it’s not too early for a dip in the lake. If that thought gets your teeth chattering, here are some other activities to try out this weekend at Colonial Bay and in Muskoka:

Get out on the water – we have a fleet of canoes, kayaks and paddle boats for our guests and the waterskiing boat is ready to go. Or maybe you’d like to trysurfing?

Take in some local history – The pioneer village and train at Muskoka Heritage Place open for the season on May 19.

Go for a hike – Muskoka has an abundance of trails and world-renowned Algonquin Park is just a short drive away from Colonial Bay

Go for a spin – For two-wheel enthusiasts - the pedal-powered kind! – you can find maps of some local cycling routes and trails here. (And don’t forget about the Spin the Lakes Tour the following weekend on May 27th with 20k, 50k, 110k and 170k routes around beautiful Lake of Bays.) If driving is more your style, check out our previous post of local driving tours - beautiful any time of year!

Soak up some sun – sink into a Muskoka chair, dig your toes into the sand and enjoy the sunshine!

We still have a few waterfront cottages available for the long weekend. Check out our availability on our website. For our American friends, Memorial Day is May 28 – call us for a Canadian lakeside get-away!

Here’s to summer in Muskoka! We hope to see you soon.

The Howell Family


It's Spring In Muskoka

Mother Nature was sure in a hurry to be done with winter this year. Spring

arrived with a week of summer-like temperatures that melted the snow so

fast it seemed to vaporize. We’ve since returned to more seasonable

temperatures but there’s hardly a patch of snow to be found anywhere and

the ice is gone from most of the lakes already.

In this in-between season, after the winter sports are done and before the

lakes are warm enough for watersports, you might wonder what there is to do

in Muskoka in the Spring. (Hint: there's lots!) Check out some of the

activities below for some ideas to get you started.

Golf – With the early arrival of spring, some area golf courses are already

open. You can find a list of local courses here.

Muskoka Golf Courses

Contact them for their Spring hours of operation.

Cycling - Get out your bike and take advantage of cooler temperatures and

lighter traffic! Check out the Bike Muskoka website for

routes and maps

Hiking – Spring is a fabulous time to go hiking! Less foliage means more

wildlife viewing opportunities. Click here for our list of suggested trails.

Art – The Group of Seven Outdoor Gallery is

open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year!

Downtown Huntsville – After you’ve explored all of the murals in the Group

of Seven Outdoor Gallery, why not check out some of historic downtown Huntsville's shops and cafes?

Local History – Head just south of downtown and learn about Muskoka history

at The Muskoka Museum at Muskoka Heritage


It’s open Monday to Friday from 10-4 (The Pioneer Village and train open

for the season on May 19).

The Easter long weekend is just around the corner. It’s the perfect

opportunity to explore Muskoka in the Spring. If you decide to visit, make

sure you take advantage of this special offer from Explorers’ Edge:

Explorers’ Edge Fuel & Fun package

Book a 2-night minimum consecutive stay before March 31, 2012 for a getaway

in Explorers’ Edge between April 3, 2012 and May 17, 2012 at participating

Accommodation Providers and YOU COULD BE 1 OF 500 TRAVELERS TO RECEIVE A


We are one of the participating accommodations! You can see the

availability of our waterfront cottages


We hope you’ll visit us this Spring

The Howell Family
Colonial Bay Cottages


Winter is still here! Fresh snow today.

Playing in the snow at Colonial Bay

It’s Still Winter in Muskoka! (March Break activities)

Winter hasn’t left us yet. Southern Ontario may be experiencing spring-like conditions, but here in Muskoka we still have lots of snow (and the fun

that goes with it!). With March Break only two weeks away, it’s the perfect time to get your winter fix. Here are just a few of activities you can try

out over March Break:

Hidden Valley Highlands Ski Area is open every day of March Break for downhill skiing. Tuesday, March 13 is

their annual Boogie With Your Boots On, an all ages dance party and BBQ.

Arrowhead Provincial Park has 29 km of groomed track set cross-country ski trails and 12 km of skate skiing

trails. Plus, they have over 6 km of snowshoeing trails, a terrific tubing hill and, new for this year, a skating trail. Ski and snowshoe rentals are

available and tubes can be borrowed free of charge (a day-use park permit is required).

Limberlost Forest Reserve is just 10 km north of Colonial Bay. Access is free to the public and they have 70 km of trails for backwoods skiing or snowshoeing.

Rockridge Tubing Park is open from 10 am to 10 pm every day of March Break. They have 7 groomed runs and a lift to pull you back to the top.

Dogsledding adventures are available at North Ridge Ranch<http://www.huntsvilledogsled.com/>. Advance registration is required.

There are still lots of snowmobile trails open. Check the Trail Conditions before you head out.

Come and visit us for one more winter adventure. You know you want to! Our Ontario cottages offer gorgeous views of the winter landscape and we’re

just a short drive away from tons of winter fun! View our Muskoka Cottage availability here.<https://www.pronto2.com/colonialbay/>

We hope to see you soon!

The Howell Family