Muskoka (Ontario) is renowned for its thousands of lakes and also has thousands of islands, large and small, that visitors can enjoy exploring. While some are privately owned (and some are home to stately mansions), many others are readily accessible to the public. The following is information regarding the most intriguing set of islands in Muskoka: the 30,000 Islands of Georgian Bay, which can be discovered most easily by guests of luxury rentals residence Muskoka Cottage.
What are the Georgian Bay's 30,000 Islands?
The 30,000 Islands of Georgian Bay together comprise the largest freshwater archipelago to be found anywhere in the world. In a time long past, they were once (it is believed) part of a prehistoric mountain range. The numerous assorted islands provide an array of habitats inhabited by fauna and flora, both common and rare, making them of great interest over the years. This ecological diversity earned the archipelago World Biosphere Reserve status from the UN. Here and there, lighthouses arise, adding a human touch to these ancient islands. Over the years, the evocative islands have inspired artists, including the Group of Seven.
The islands are to be found (mainly) on the east coast of Georgian Bay, which is itself part of the Great Lakes in Canada. Huntsville is a short drive to the north, with Toronto a similar distance to the south, while the border with the USA is close in both the western and southern directions. Accordingly, many visitors come from both countries (and further afield) every single year.
Best Place to Stay for Exploring Muskoka's Islands
Exploring the unique islands of Muskoka is an enticing prospect, and Muskoka Cottage muskokacottage.com is the ideal place at which to stay when doing so. What's more, renting this luxury cottage could scarcely be more convenient, as it's just a quick one-hour drive away from the renowned Georgian Bay's 30,000 Islands. Better still, this luxurious property is located on Lake Vernon, a body of water with its own islands. Big Island is perfect for visitors thanks to the activities they can experience (including kayaking, fishing, and boating, making it great for those who enjoy aquatic adventures).
History of Georgian Bay's 30,000 Islands
Created in eons past by the Ice Age and glacial movements, the 30,000 Islands are the remnants of an ancient mountain range. More recently than the titanic geological movements already mentioned, the 30,000 Islands (and the mainland of Georgian Bay) were home to long-term settlements by aboriginal people whose descendants remain in the area. The first hunter-gatherers are believed to have arrived more than ten thousand years ago in the area. The largest island, Beausoleil Island, was named after a 19th-century settler but was inhabited by multiple different aboriginal peoples in the dim and distant past. (It is also the only island within the Georgian Bay Islands National Park that permits camping). In the modern era, visitors can best explore this one-of-a-kind archipelago from Muskoka Cottage, one of the finest luxury rentals available in the area.
How to Get Here
Visitors can reach the 30,000 Islands from Huntsville (close to the luxury rentals residence Muskoka Cottage) by driving south and then west along the highway. This journey should take around an hour, traffic permitting. Once by the waterside, visitors can access Georgian Bay Island National Park using the DayTripper shuttle service (reservations are required, however). An alternative means of reaching the islands is to opt for a private water taxi. While unlikely to be used by holidaymakers, taking one's own boat is also possible. The DayTripper operates from 2611 Honey Harbour Road. A better option for visitors may be to enjoy the islands on a cruise ship.
Type of Cruises Available to Explore Georgian Bay's 30,000 Islands
Due to the astonishing array of habitats and a huge number of islands, many visitors choose to explore them through a cruise. One cruise ship built specifically for the 30,000 Islands is the 132' and 550 passenger capacity Island Queen. The shallow draft makes it ideal for moving through smaller waterways, with large viewing windows and observation decks making it easy for passengers to enjoy the sights. Recently, a quartet of tours has been added for the 40-passenger vessel the Islander, which goes to Frying Pan Island, McLaren Island, Huckleberry Island, and Wreck Island.
In addition to the bespoke cruiser option above, visitors to Muskoka can visit the 30,000 Islands by general sightseeing vessels that spend around two or three hours in the area. These can be taken from the morning to sunset or in between. Prices are usually around the $40 mark (but may be higher in some circumstances).
The 30,000 Islands draw visitors to Muskoka annually and offer a compelling combination of cultural history and environmental variety. Staying at Muskoka Cottage is the perfect place from which to embark upon a cruise to see this unique archipelago.