Deerhurst Resort: Family Fun in Ontario Cottage Country

Deerhurst lake views, Huntsville, Ontario, Canada

Getting away to the cottage is a summer tradition in Ontario. But what if you don’t have a cottage of your own — or friends to invite you to their lakeside getaway?

North of Toronto, in the region known as “Cottage Country” around the Muskoka Lakes, is a lakefront resort that will trump most ordinary cottages: the Deerhurst Resort, near the town of Huntsville.

Here’s the scoop: Deerhurst Resort entrance, Huntsville, Ontario, Canada

Things to Do

Whether you’re planning a family holiday, a couple’s getaway, or just a weekend with some friends, you won’t be bored at the classy Deerhurst Resort.

In warm weather, activities center around Peninsula Lake, which has sandy beaches for swimming and sunning, with water slides and water trampolines to entertain the kids. All kinds of watersports are available, too, from canoeing to kayaking to stand-up paddleboarding.

Deerhurst by the lake, Huntsville, Ontario, Canada

The resort has an indoor swimming pool with a wading pool for the little ones and three outdoor pools that are open throughout the summer.

You can tee off at two 18-hole golf courses or work on your game at the resort’s golf academy. There are tennis courts, an indoor rock climbing wall, and a stable, offering trail rides and kids’ pony rides.

Deerhurst Resort golf, Huntsville, Ontario, Canada

For hikers, there are trails around the property. You’re also less than an hour’s drive to Algonquin Provincial Park, one of Ontario’s top outdoor destinations, with loads of hiking trails. Even closer is Arrowhead Provincial Park, with nine miles (15 kilometers) of hiking paths and three sandy beaches along Arrowhead Lake.

Deerhurst has partnered with a local adventure company, Treetop Trekking, a few minutes’ drive from the property, which has seven zip lines and multiple aerial ropes courses, ranging from ten to 70 feet (3-21 meters) high. A highlight (or terror-inducer) is the Tarzan Jump, a controlled leap from a platform high in the trees.

Deerhurst Resort exterior, Huntsville, Ontario, Canada

Guest Rooms and Amenities

With so many things to do, it almost doesn’t matter what the rooms look like, since you probably won’t spend much time in your accommodations. You could, though — the rooms are modern and comfortable.

Guest rooms are spread around the Deerhurst property, with some in or near the main lodge building, others in hotel-style units near the lake, and still others in condos with one, two, or three bedrooms and full kitchens.

Deerhurst Resort guest room, Huntsville, Ontario, Canada

If you (or your kids) are planning to spend most of your time by the lake, you might choose one of the lakeside units. Though the buildings are older, they were renovated in 2013, so the interior feels quite contemporary.

If you’d rather be closer to the main building, where the dining room, indoor pool, fitness center, and games room are located, consider the Summit Lodges, modern one-bedroom units with kitchenettes.

Deerhurst Resort lobby, Huntsville, Ontario, Canada

Eclipse, the main dining room, is open for breakfast and dinner, serving contemporary fare with local ingredients, including an ample hot and cold breakfast buffet. The more casual Compass Grill & Lounge is also in the main lodge building, and two other seasonal eateries overlook the golf courses. It’s a short drive into Huntsville, which has additional dining options.

A high-energy musical show, performed at the resort several nights a week, is great fun.


Rates at the Deerhurst vary significantly with the seasons and type of accommodations. Springtime double rates start at CAD$120/night, while summer rates begin at CAD$279/night. Check rates and make your reservation at the resort website. You can also compare rates and book with Expedia, Travelocity or Priceline.

A daily resort fee of $29.95 per room is charged on top of the regular room rates. The resort fee includes Wi-Fi, parking, use of the pools and fitness room, the waterpark at the lake, canoes, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, beach towel service, and access to the golf practice green, the tennis courts, and hiking trails.

In winter, the resort fee covers cross country ski trails and equipment, snowshoe trails and equipment, ice skates, and access to the outdoor skating rink.

As I said, in whatever season you visit, you won’t be bored at the Deerhurst Resort. And for this Cottage Country getaway, you don’t have to invest in your own cottage.


Hotel review by Vancouver-based travel, food, and feature writer Carolyn B. Heller, author of the books, Moon Handbooks: Ontario and Living Abroad in Canada. Photos © Carolyn B. Heller. I paid a discounted media rate for my stay at the Deerhurst Resort.


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