Starts and ends in Gravenhurst
Approx. 126 km / 78 miles
About 5 1/2 – 7 hour drive depending on number of stops
Muskoka has a wonderful shopping scene, with a variety of pop-up marketplaces, gift shops, vintage stores, and trendy home and cottage decor stores. This driving tour takes you around Lake Muskoka, stopping in at great stores along the way. Each of these stores has a #CRANROUTE feature for you to try, making your shopping adventure as delicious as it is fun!
Directions and Tour Highlights:
- Start at the Muskoka Wharf to stroll the boardwalk with a hot drink from The Shipyards Wheelhouse Coffee lounge and Starbucks. While you’re there, browse over 15 different pop-up vendors. You will definitely find something you can’t live without (besides their amazing cranberry white chocolate butter tarts).
- From the Wharf, walk or drive up to the main street of Gravenhurst to Sawdust City Brewery Co. Stop at their new, on-site food truck to try the cranberry maple chicken sandwich. A tender, 5 oz breaded chicken breast, tossed in locally-sourced bourbon maple cranberry sauce and topped with zesty cranberry slaw, will make for a quick, delicious lunch.
- Looking for more of a luxurious dining experience for lunch? Stop by the Muskoka Bay Resort, located just steps away from the Wharf, to enjoy their delicious cranberry route offerings. The cranberry sumac cocktail with cranberry-sumac syrup and fresh lime is an elegant choice, as is their cranberry chicken served seared with fresh cranberries and heirloom carrots.
- Get back in the car and drive on Hwy 169 towards Bala. After a quick but scenic drive, you’ll arrive at the Bala Bay Freshmart. Pick up a package of their made-in-store pure pork sausages, infused with local cranberries, to bring home to BBQ.
- From there, head north on Hwy 169 to the Muskoka Lakes Farm and Winery. If you’re the adventurous type, and you’re visiting the farm during the cranberry harvest season (September 26-October 31), you’ll want to have booked a spot on their famous Cranberry Plunge. Suit up in a pair of farm-supplied hip waders and plod into a sea of floating cranberries to discover how it feels to be a cranberry-grower. Don’t forget to bring your camera to snap a photo of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! While bookings must be made during the weekday, this experience is included as a part of their All-Access Weekend Pass. The Pass also gives you access to a guided wagon tour, tutored wine tasting, and full access to the Cranberry Hiking Trails. Afterwards, stop in at the farm’s cozy gift store to bring home a bottle of their cranberry-instilled wine.
- Head east on Hwy 169 to the Huckleberry Rock lookout trail. Take in the very best of what Muskoka has to offer on this easy-going (but uphill) hike. If you time it right, you’ll catch a view of the gorgeous sunset over Lake Muskoka.
- After a day of touring, go for dinner in Bracebridge with a berry good selection of delicious restaurants! Enjoy an elegant dinner of spinach salad with local cranberries and whole brook trout with cranberry almond sauce at the Patterson Kaye Resort, where you’ll finish off with their exquisite cranberry pavlova. Or, if you’re looking to try some local craft beer along with your dinner, visit one of Bracebridge’s newest additions, the Bracebridge Barrelhouse by the Lake of Bays Brewing Company. Sip on Red Sky at Night, their smooth cranberry-peach radler, while you nibble on a Warm Brie Wheel, complete with spiced cranberry compote and caramelized walnuts.
- Later, visit the cozy, family-run Kitchen’s Pastry and Catering cafe to stock up on some of their quality baking. The vanilla cranberry tart, cranberry pecan crumble pie, and cranberry pecan sticky bun are all tasty cranberry-inspired options.
- Finally, head back to Gravenhurst to the Residence Inn by Marriott for a relaxing stay in one of their lavish lakeside rooms. They’re offering a special Cranberry Route package that is sure to leave you feeling pampered and ready to explore the rest of our Muskoka cranberry tours. The two-night package includes a bottle of cranberry wine, a bag of chocolate-covered cranberries, continental ‘Grab and Go’ breakfast, and accommodation in one of their upscale suites, complete with a walk-out balcony and Muskoka chairs.
If you want to gain a true appreciation for cranberries, make sure to include the Muskoka Lakes Farm & Winery on your driving tour. Their Bog to Bottle Tour is the only one of its kind in the world, and has been designated a Canadian Signature Experience.