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These opening lines of Allan Sherman’s massive 1960s hit, Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah (A Letter From Camp), were supposedly based on notes sent to the comedian from his son during a stay at fictional Camp Granada. Apart, perhaps, from the alligators and malaria mentioned later in the song, the tune strikes a chord even today with its recognition of the apprehension and uncertainty many children still feel regarding summer camp.

Fortunately for 21st-century kids, camps today are nothing like Camp Granada. In fact, camp owners and staff expend a great deal of energy ensuring their temporary wards are kept happy and busy, regardless of the weather.

Nowhere are summer camps as important a part of the fabric of summer as in Muskoka. With dozens of choices available ranging from camps catering to various religious affiliations to those specializing in particular sports, Cottage Country offers the quintessential summer camp experience for kids, many of whom travel from as far as the US, South America, and even Europe, all drawn to Canada to experience the fun of the outdoors.


Muskoka Summer Camps are Wild!


Whatever a camp’s particular focus, they have one thing in common: the wonderful wilderness they’re set in. Muskoka’s vast tracts of forests and lakes have helped kids deepen their appreciation of nature for decades, providing a picture-perfect (and perfectly safe) backdrop against which to spread their wings and have an adventure all of their own.

From a parent’s perspective, camp experiences teach youngsters to push a little harder, reach a little higher, and dig a little deeper to master a particular task, all the while learning about teamwork.

Choosing the right camp for your child is key to ensuring they get the very best out of the experience. If it’s adventure that gets them excited, there are camps offering activities such as whitewater rafting, rock climbing, high ropes courses, or wilderness survival… even paintballing. Still others focus on watersports such as wakeboarding and waterskiing, and a number of camps have well-established arts and culture programs for budding painters and actors.


The Best Summer Camps in Muskoka

Let the Kids Go Wild at Camp Arowhon

One of the most immersive wilderness camp experiences is offered at Camp Arowhon located deep in the heart of Algonquin Park. Kids are encouraged to interact with nature and each other inside what is Ontario’s largest provincial park, home to stunning scenery and a vast array of wildlife.

Arowhon sits on its own lake and places a great deal of emphasis on nurturing and challenging youngsters in a variety of disciplines, whether sailing, horseback riding or wilderness survival techniques, in order to build self-esteem. Camp Arowhon offers a camper-to-staff ratio of 2:1, ensuring each child benefits from individual attention whenever needed.

Campers can choose their own activities daily, and are encouraged to try their hand at as abroad a range of activities as possible, including sailing, swimming, canoeing, windsurfing, horseback riding, tennis, kayaking, arts and crafts, nature, drama, climbing, high ropes, archery, guitar and drums, basketball, baseball, volleyball, and soccer… the list is endless.


Expert Support at Camp Arowhon


Expert support is provided by experienced counsellors, many of them former campers themselves, who will spend the majority of their time with your young campers, even sharing cabins.

A definite highlight at Camp Arowhon – and an important factor for developing bodies – is the food. While the usual kid’s fare is available, it’s always nutritious and dished up with healthy servings of fruit and vegetables. For newbie campers, a one-day Mini Camp offers kids aged six to nine an introduction to camp life and builds a comfort level for future overnight camp experiences.

Want to check in on the kids? If you want to be close at hand, a handful of great wilderness resorts are located close by that offer a fun experience for adults, too. Learn more about these fun experiences in our article, Enjoy Rustic Luxury @ The Best Resorts in Algonquin Park.


Deep in the Woods… at Muskoka Woods

Located on the shores of Lake Rosseau, Muskoka Woods is one of the largest (if not the largest) kids’ summer camps in the Muskoka region, with over 300 camp counsellors to watch over their young guests. A non-denominational Christian sports resort, Muskoka Woods prides itself on providing youngsters with life-changing experiences.

Campers get to choose from water sports and athletics, media and arts, leadership, and team-building programs. For those looking to immerse themselves in one or two particular activities, options are available that allow campers to enjoy as much time as possible pursuing their particular passion, whether sports, arts, or any of the countless other disciplines available.

Campers are welcome from age seven upwards, and with a ratio of two campers per counsellor, there’s no need to concern yourself regarding whether or not your child is getting the level of care and attention you feel appropriate.


Important Life Skills


Speaking of counsellors, Muskoka Woods has even introduced programs geared to help campers acquire the skills needed to become counsellors themselves. Older teens will also be interested in activities that allow participants to get down and dirty on motocross bikes. Suitable for beginners and experienced riders, space is always limited in this extremely popular program.

Meals (always important) are served buffet-style three times a day, with additional snack times, and feature a variety of options to suit the most finicky of eaters, including a vegetarian option and salad bar. Camp runs from Saturday to Saturday, and while families are welcome to drop their children off, a deluxe shuttle bus service is available from the Vaughan Mills shopping centre in Toronto.

If you do drop them off, you’ll be invited to get your child settled into their cabin, meet their counsellor, and take a tour. Afterwards, you can sample a ‘Muskoka Woods Signature Burger’ at the family BBQ followed by the fun ‘Opening Day’ show.

If you do decide to stay awhile in Muskoka, be sure to check out our content about the best luxury hotels and resorts in Muskoka for ideas and inspiration.


Muskoka Summer Camps… the Kids Will Thank You!


So, now you know what really goes on in a Muskoka summer camp, you might not be surprised to learn even Allan Sherman’s son, in the end, didn’t want to leave:

Wait a minute, it’s stopped hailing, guys are swimming, guys are sailing! Playing baseball, gee that’s bettah, Muddah, Faddah kindly disregard this letter!




kim Kerr is a luxury lifestyles writer  and Co-Founder of Riley and LuxuryOntario and is proud to call Muskoka “home.”

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