Published on September 23rd, 2014 | by Guest Contributor

Have you visited Gravenhurst, Ontario? Here’s why you need to.

Crisp mornings, gorgeous foliage, fall fairs, apple picking, cozy sweaters, and ideal running weather make autumn my favorite season.  It’s also my favorite time of year to enjoy a weekend getaway with my family and reconnect after the whirlwind start of another school year, not to mention enjoy some of our favorite fair-weather activities while we still can.

Although there are so many lovely spots throughout Ontario from which to enjoy fall colours, fairs, farmer’s markets and family-friendly activities, there are a couple of spots in particular that I return to again and again. One of these is Gravenhurst, Ontario, where in every season we enjoy staying at the Marriott Residence Inn on Lake Muskoka. We’ve been staying at this gem of a hotel since discovering they welcome pets and since we can’t imagine a getaway without our golden retriever alongside. We also love that a buffet breakfast comes with our stay and that the hotel has an indoor pool and a fitness centre with treadmills and weights.

Our fall getaways to Gravenhurst always include hiking at Hardy Lake Provincial Park, just off Hwy 169 east of Torrance. The park offers a 3 km trail of moderate difficulty and a more challenging 8 km trail that circles the lake with stunning views of the shoreline. If you enjoy trail running, give these trails a go and enjoy the varied terrain and views. For cyclists,

We also love the Gravenhurst Farmer’s Market which operates on Wednesdays until the end of October. If you have the chance to enjoy a longer autumn stay, be sure to browse the market and to pick up some fresh produce and locally-made butter tarts and crafts; the locally-made goods are great gift ideas over the holiday season. Nearby, Bala is also home to the Bala Cranberry Festival the weekend after Thanksgiving, and welcomes over 20,000 visitors for the occasion.

If you’re looking for a more restful way to enjoy the autumn colours, consider one of the many cruises offered aboard the R.M.S. Segwun, a steamer with over 100 years of history; wander around Muskoka Wharf, stopping in for tea at a café; or rent a canoe or kayak from Muskoka Wharf Marine and enjoy a last paddle of the season. Gull Lake Rotary Park and Muskoka Bay Park also offer public tennis courts which we enjoy summer and fall.

If you can’t bring your bikes with you, consider renting from The Bike Shop in Gravenhurst. The friendly staff can help you plan a local ride or if need be, service your bike. If you’re out on the trail and hit a snag, check the CAA Ontario Bike Assist App for helpful bike repair videos and one-touch access to CAA Bike Assist!

Finally, if you make Gravenhurst your fall getaway destination and stay at the Marriott Residence Inn, be sure to bundle up in a cozy sweater with a hot tea or hot chocolate in hand while lounging in a Muskoka chair on your balcony. An hour or two of this, while taking in the autumn air, stunning vistas and view of the lake, and you’ll feel like new. I just may see you there!

Bio, Catherine Cameron
Catherine is a senior communications and social media professional and accomplished writer with a passion for fitness, health and wellness. Her informative and inspiring work has been published in many Canadian digital and print magazines and newspapers, as well as by Tweenhood, CBC, ParticipACTION, Sun Life Financial, and Sears Great Canadian Run. To learn more, visit her website at or follow Catherine on twitter @cate_cameron.







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