Starts and ends in Gravenhurst
Approx. 91 km / 57 miles
About 4 1/2 – 7 hour driving tour depending on number of stops and length of time spent at each
Muskoka has a wonderfully unique shopping scene, with a variety of marketplaces, gift shops, vintage stores, and trendy home and cottage décor stores. There are also some delicious stops on the way for you to experience cranberries in nearly every single way! This driving tour takes you around Lake Muskoka, with stops featuring a cranberry specialty for you to try.
Directions and Tour Highlights:
- Start at the Gravenhurst Wharf and stroll the boardwalk while taking in the changing colours of fall surrounding Lake Muskoka. Downtown Gravenhurst is walking distance from the Wharf and has loads of local shops, eateries and one fantastic brewery.
- Just before the outskirts of the downtown core you’ll see a comically large, bright yellow Muskoka Chair – this is where Sawdust Brewing Company is located. This brewery is a must-stop for its wide selection of craft beers, impressive dining experience and amazing staff with in-depth knowledge on their brews. During the Cranberry Route Sawdust will be serving up some cranberry beer as well as the cranberry inspired menu options.
- Looking for more of a luxurious dining experience for lunch? Stop by the Cliffside Restaurant & Terrace at Muskoka Bay Resort, located steps away from the Wharf, and enjoy their delicious cranberry route offerings.
- Onwards to Bala! Take Hwy 169 west until you hit Torrance. This tiny, charming town is home to a number of attractions including restaurants, a spa and a brewery. For this tour, you’ll definitely want to stop in at Torrance General where you can pick up some cranberry snacks and pastries, try their peameal on a bun with local cranberry mayo and browse the charming new store. Turn right, near the giant bull statue, and you have arrived!
- After a quick but scenic drive, you’ll head through Bala to the Bala Bay Freshmart. Pick up a package of their made-in-store pure pork sausages, infused with local cranberries, for barbequing at home. Take some time to walk and explore the downtown core and pick up a Cranberry Apple Herbal Tea from Muskoka Wake’s Coffee Trailer.
- From there, head north on Hwy 169 to the Muskoka Lakes Farm and Winery. If you’re the adventurous type, and visiting the farm during the cranberry harvest season (September 24-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 snap a the iconic photo of being hip deep in cranberries! 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 some of their cranberry wine and cider.
- Hit the road towards Port Carling’s town core, but not before stopping at Field of Greens located just before the downtown limits. This market styled space is serving up pastries with a cranberry twist as well as hot beverages that taste like fall and will leave you feeling cozy as you continue on the route. Be sure to stop in the central area of Port Carling and check out the small boutiques for some seriously good shopping!
- Head east on Hwy 169 for about ten minutes to arrive at Huckleberry Rock lookout trail. Take in the very best of what Muskoka has to offer on this short (uphill) hike. If timed precisely, you can catch a gorgeous sunset like no other overlooking Lake Muskoka.
- After a busy day of touring, go for dinner in Bracebridge at Touchstone Resort where their seasoned Executive Chef is serving up elegance through a variety of different cranberry inspired items on the menu. Enjoy dinner paired with the Grand Muskokan Martini and famous Touchstone Salad. If you’re looking for a more casual dining experience and love craft beer, visit one of the Bracebridge Barrelhouse by the Lake of Bays Brewing Company. Sip on their cranberry inspired beverage, Cranberry Trail, as you feast on their in-house smoked turkey breast sandwich with cranberry mayonnaise, brie, prosciutto, lettuce, tomato on a toasted ciabatta bun.
- In Bracebridge, walk the downtown street and visit the many local shops in the area. Be sure to visit the cranberry route stops along the way. Muskoka Olive Oil Co. is offering up Cranberry Pear Olive Oil along with a Cranberry Fudge from North Country Fudge; both share the same building. The tasting room at Muskoka Olive Oil Co. is filled with other local products you cant help but take home! Another great stop en route is Unique Muskoka where you will find Yummies in a Jar cranberry jam, perfect for breakfast spread over toast!
- Eating cranberries isn’t enough for you? Luckily, Rich Hill Candles has a plethora of amazing smelling aromas…including cranberry scents! If you’re looking for a straight up cranberry scent, vanilla cranberry scent or even a citrus cranberry scent look no further. Smells and memory are so closely linked; lighting a Rich Hill Cranberry Candle will undoubtedly bring you back to the fun had on the cranberry route!
- As you make your way back to complete the loop around Lake Muskoka, take Muskoka Beach Rd for a scenic, winding drive. On the way and if time permits, stop at Muskoka Brewery and visit their retail space where they have merch and beer for purchase to take home. A must-try is the Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout, perfect for sipping on a fall day. (See the Craft Beer driving tour for a more in-depth look at Muskoka Brewery).
- Finally, head back to Gravenhurst to the Residence Inn by Marriott for a relaxing stay in one of their lavish lakeside rooms. They are ready to welcome you with a cranberry inspired package as well as cranberry options during the continental grab-and-go breakfast.
If you want to gain a true appreciation for cranberries, make sure to include the Bog to Bottle Tour at Muskoka Lakes Farm & Winery on your driving tour. This tour is truly one-of-a-kind, and has been designated a Canadian Signature Experience.