Hey Fido, You Worried About What to do with Your Owners While on Vacation? We’ve Got You

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Are you a forward thinking dog considering bringing your human on your vacation to Muskoka? Try our custom itinerary that highlights dog and human-friendly spaces.

It’s getting a bit easier to find a vacation rental that welcomes both you and your owners. However, when you get there, what’s your plan for activities? Dog owners are not usually content with your preferred hobbies of walking, sniffing, running and laying in the sun all day. Here are some seasoned tips (yumm, by the way) for bringing your owner on vacation and still being able to enjoy your 4-legged time.

An Owner-Friendly Itinerary for Fido’s Muskoka Vacation

Day 1 Adventures:

  •  Downtown Espresso
  • Arrowhead Park
  •  Food truck or restaurant in downtown Huntsville
  • Lion’s Lookout
  • Rivermill Park – rent a kayak or canoe
  • Big Daddy’s for the BBQ

Start the day off with a cuppa from Downtown Espresso, right in the heart of Huntsville. Generous lounging chairs are right outside so you can people watch and dog watch while your pup while your person enjoys an espresso or coffee and a freshly baked treat. When you’re ready to roll, stick your head out the window and take a short 10 minute drive out of downtown Huntsville to our closest provincial park.

Arrowhead Provincial Park is located right outside of Huntsville off of Highway 11, on the Big East River. You’ll need a park pass to enter and park there. The Limberlost Vacation Rental options all offer a free park pass with your stay. On holiday weekends and in the height of the summer and winter seasons it’s a good idea to book your spot online, using the pass. This park has multiple 4 season offerings for activities. Some of the highlights in season include the hiking/biking/snowshoeing trail system, beautiful sand beaches on the Big East River, a groomed ice skating trail, snowshoe and nordic ski trails in season. You’ll have to be on leash on the trails and roads and when you’ve finished with the human activity, take advantage of the leash-free pet exercise area at the north end of Arrowhead Lake, as well as the swim area near the main beach designated for dog swimming. You’ll love the water and beach run area.

Ontario Provincial Parks Season Pass 2024
Arrowhead Provincial Park - Huntsville, Ontario
Arrowhead Provincial Park has Dog-Friendly Year Round Activities

By the time you finish up at Arrowhead please keep in mind that owners have to eat often; they’re pretty high maintenance. There are myriad food trucks and restaurants with unique and delicious offerings. On your way out of the park you’ll see Artizza’s pizza truck with to-die-for homemade pizza which is more than worth the stop. If you’re making your way back into downtown Huntsville you’ll find many dog-friendly dining options. On-the-Docks Pub offers a large selection of draft beers, as well as a full bar, and no-fry menu, right on the river. Humans can dine and watch the action on the water while you snooze on the lower deck patio. Across the river from the pub, there’s Canvas Brewing Co for a great selection of locally brewed beer (not sure if they have dog treats but for sure I would give them a howl to ask). You’ll be surprised how many businesses have water bowls out for you and sometimes a treat.

Algonquin Outfitters Canoe and Kayak Rentals in Huntsville

After lunch take a short stroll around Rivermill Park in the heart of Huntsville and on the river. This is the perfect spot to experience one of the many events the Town of Huntsville supports at this riverside park all year round, sooo much sniffing to be done here. Or your human can rent a canoe or kayak from Algonquin Outfitters and paddle around with you on board. Alternatively, take a short drive along Brunel Rd and above the Summit Centre to take in the gorgeous panoramic views at Lion’s Lookout. Take advantage of the 1.3 km trail that follows along the Muskoka River to Fairy Lake and crosses the Portage Flyer railway tracks.

Each of the small towns in Muskoka has its own independent, well stocked pet store. If you need to pick up treats or anything else (seriously there is a huge selection) before heading back to your cottage, in Huntsville Gus and Gigi’s is conveniently located right on Highway 60. Their staff are always friendly and approachable and will find you what you need and have you on your way in no time.

If you and your owner have any energy left consider stopping in at Big Daddy’s Fresh Meats to pick up something for the BBQ from their extensive selection of fresh offerings. *Hint: try the Muskoka Burgers; they’re incomparable.

Day 2 Adventures

  • Olivers Coffee
  • Huckleberry Rock Lookout Hiking Trail
  • El Pueblito Mexican Restaurant
  • Downtown Shopping
  • BRMC (Bracebridge Resource Management Centre)

Head to Olivers Coffee in downtown Bracebridge. Your human may need a  locally-brewed coffee or their favourite tea and a home baked delight. They can enjoy it on the dog-friendly patio while you mentally prepare for the day ahead.

Huckleberry Rock Lookout Hiking Trail is a short drive up Hwy 118 towards Port Carling. It’s just off of this meandering highway that follows the northeast shore of Lake Muskoka. The trail itself is an easy 2.9km walk for you. You’ll need to be on leash for this one but there’s lots for you to explore even so. The year round trail offers gorgeous vistas out over Milford Bay and Lake Muskoka, plenty of squirrels and birds, and is popular with 2-legged hikers for mountain biking, hiking and cross country skiing.

Huckleberry Rock Lookout Trail Milford Bay. Photo credit: AllTrails.com

Experience this 2.9-km loop trail near Milford Bay, Ontario. Generally considered an easy route, it takes an average of 50 min to complete. This is a very popular area for cross-country skiing, hiking, and mountain biking, so you’ll likely encounter other people while exploring. The trail is open year-round and is beautiful to visit anytime. Dogs are welcome, but must be on a leash.

After this scenic hike if you’re hoping for a rest and a treat head back into downtown Bracebridge. If you enjoy fine Mexican food we recommend visiting the outdoor patio at
El Pueblito. This is a vibrant outdoor dining experience with lots to smell and watch, some available treats for you and freshly made Mexican food for the humans. 

El Pueblito Mexican Restaurant in Downtown Bracebridge

Sometimes it’s necessary to let the humans enjoy some of their own activities; a necessary evil to get you to your next walking excursion. Downtown Bracebridge has a diverse collection of independent shops and services all available at walking distance. Many shops will welcome you in on leash, just have your owner check at the door. At the lower end of the Manitoba St stretch of shops, pick up a Kawartha Dairy ice cream cone (they have pup cones!), walk across the street and enjoy your treat at the foot of the impressive Bracebridge Falls, complete with picnic tables and a walking stretch along the Muskoka River.

The Falls in Downtown Bracebridge Photo credit Bracebridge.ca

If you’re ready for another hike, (and of course we mean if your owner is up to it!)  the Bracebridge Resource Management Centre is set in the woods right off of Highway 11 outside of Bracebridge. 16.5 leash-free trails immersed in the woods offer a variety of wildlife habitats, bird watching and gorgeous views of the Muskoka River. The Centre offers hiking and mountain biking trails in the summer and fall and groomed cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and fat biking trails in the winter. This truly is a naturally immersive experience for both you and your human that will leave you both invigorated and refreshed. Download the trail map here. 

Bracebridge Resource Management Centre Trails 
Photo Credit: Bracebridge.ca

Having an itinerary available is a great way for you and your owner to pick and choose which of the available venues and activities fit into your plans as you spend time in Muskoka.
Keep your nose to the ground for your next bunch of adventure options for Dwight (gateway to Algonquin Park), Dorset, Baysville and Gravenhurst. 

Travellers to Muskoka (and globally) are seeking sustainable travel options that preserve the environment and elevate guest experiences. <Learn more here.>

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