Bracebridge, Ontario, overlooks stunning waterfalls and the fast-flowing Muskoka River. It’s one of the best spots to visit in Muskoka for a retreat or vacation, and it’s close enough to Toronto for a delightful day trip.
Canada’s waterfall capital has plenty of enjoyable activities for people of all ages and is a premier destination for cottage purchases and rentals.
Our guide includes our top travel recommendations for Bracebridge, Ontario, helpful information on the town, and Nightscapes exclusive tips on maintaining your impressive cottage.
Bracebridge is the true heart of Muskoka, not only because it is the heart of the Muskoka District but also because of the vibrancy and energy it gives to the region.
As long as you’re not driving during a long weekend, Toronto is a two-hour drive away, and Ottawa is four hours away. It’s right off Highway 11 on the Muskoka River, which goes through the town’s famed Bracebridge Falls. You also have the option of flying directly to the town.
The town is well-known for its historic main street, stunning waterfalls and wilderness, and, most importantly, its welcoming community of residents, cottagers, and visitors.
Why should Bracebridge, Ontario be your next destination?
Homeowners and cottage-owners are attracted to Bracebridge because of the sensational views around the town and nearby neighbourhoods. It’s a highly sought-after location and has (understandably) competitive prices.
Bracebridge waterfront cottages that are for sale show an average sale price of slightly over a million dollars, whereas non-waterfront cottages have an average sale price of $669,000.
If you’re looking for waterfront property, consider one of the less known lakes instead of the ‘Big 3’ (Lake Muskoka, Lake Rosseau, and Lake Joseph). There are 1,600 lakes in the area, with many great spots to settle.
Even though the property prices are competitive, the current real estate market (2022) is in demand for buyers. Since you have the edge in negotiation, it might be a perfect time for an investment property or to buy a family cottage.
When you buy property in a highly competitive and desirable location, you have less risk with your investment. There are only so many “best locations” in the world and Canada especially.
These locations are likely to recover if there is a backlash on your luxury real estate investment, but it can be a long game. In some cases, you won’t see a turnover for 10-15 years, which can ultimately have a better result than selling under pressure.
Bracebridge has plenty of activities to do and places to visit, thanks to the surrounding natural beauty. The town is famous for its spectacular Bracebridge Falls, but there are several other falls in the area that you should see, such as High Falls and Wilsons Falls.
Many of these are accessible via the Great Trail, over 27,000 kilometres of multi-use trails that run throughout the Muskoka region and are ideal for hiking and biking in the summer and Nordic skiing and snowshoeing in the winter.
In addition to the many ways to appreciate nature, Bracebridge has some fascinating sites and events to check out. The Santa’s Village theme park opens in the summer. You and your children can ride roller coasters, go-carts or visit the aerial park. And, of course, you can meet Santa in his Muskoka house.
Bracebridge hosts its famed Fire and Ice celebration in the winter, where the entire main street is transformed into a large sledding hill.
Also, there are endless sports and outdoor activities in the winter and summer months: kayaking, canoeing, rock climbing, mountain biking, skiing, etc.
From fine dining to pubs, Bracebridge has all of the options.
Craving handcrafted sushi? Wabora is your place. Mexican food? Check out El Pueblito on Main Street. Need a brewery or taphouse? Muskoka Brewery has local pubs nearby. Lunch or brunch? Fine Thymes or Main St Deli are both great options.
Visitors and residents have all of the same amazing dining and drinking options that are in major cities.
It doesn’t take long to feel at ease once you arrive.
The town’s retailers, distinctive local businesses, and specialized service providers will make you feel at home with their warm welcome and exceptional customer service.
Every time you turn your head, you will be greeted by an exceptional view; there is beauty surrounding you in every step you take in Bracebridge.
These two benefits alone have thousands of travellers committed to annual trips to Bracebridge, Ontario, and even more people planning their retirement around the destination.
Before you commit to a cottage or full-time move, make sure you know the ins and outs of the town.
Bracebridge is known for its three main waterfalls: Bracebridge Falls, High Falls, and Wilsons Falls.
Other popular waterfalls are nearby, but Bracebridge is the most notable one. It’s on the Muskoka River, which is in the centre of the town.
The cost of living is 18% lower than in other Ontario cities, plus, the crime rate is 2,785 per 100,000 people, which is 36% lower than the Canadian average.
People around the world favour Bracebridge (or Muskoka in general) as a tourist destination.
There is no lack of amenities or trendy events; the natural environment offers endless outdoor activities; the crime rate is low, and the cost of living is on par with other major cities. All in all, how could you complain about living in Bracebridge?
Santa’s Village was established in 1955 as a tourist destination by a group of local citizens when Highway 11 was built and bypassed Bracebridge. The goal was to attract tourists that were visiting nearby towns and areas.
An estimated 6.5 million people have visited the park since its opening day.
Yes! Bracebridge is halfway between the equator and the North Pole, on the 45th parallel.
Bracebridge’s downtown area is full of retailers for clothing, accessories, gifts, art, etc. The town has ample grocery stores, national brands, gas stations, health care needs, and more! Check out their full business directory
Bracebridge experiences snowfall from October to April, which is about five months out of the year. The most snowfall happens in December, with an average of 171 millimetres.
Over the year, the temperature in Bracebridge typically varies from -15 °C to 25 °C and is rarely below -27 °C or above 29 °C.
Approximately 17,851 people are living in Bracebridge as of 2021. That’s a 1.6% annual population change from 2017.
Real estate is always an investment. You either want a return on your investment or for the property to stay in your family for generations to come.
Maintaining and increasing the value of your cottage is highly important for your investment and longevity.
For an extraordinary property and outdoor space, try out some of these tips!
Nightscapes works exclusively on upgrading lighting systems and creating custom outdoor lighting designs for cottages in the Muskoka region. Whether you’re in the building stage or transforming your current cottage, we’re happy to offer a complimentary consultation for landscape lighting.