Muskoka is no doubt Ontario’s ultimate summer playground, but the premiums for Muskoka cottage rentals or resort stays prevent many of us from heading to cottage country. Enter the Bala Bay Inn. This budget hotel gets by without skimping on quality. Rooms are decorated in fresh, funky decor and go for as little as $79 per night while the hotel offers free Wi-Fi to hotel guests and boasts a psychedelic lounge right out of a Mike Myers movie. The Bala Bay Inn may not be five star, but the cuisine in their dining room, Ghosts, certainly is. You can get the same menu on their popular patio, where many Muskoka boaters drop by. If you’re wondering about the origin of the name, Ghosts, the Bala Bay Inn is known for harbouring a few. Guests have reported hearing footsteps and laughter, and seeing orbs of white light in rooms. For those eager to hit the water, there is a public beach on Lake Muskoka about a two minute walk from the hotel while boating enthusiasts can rent watercraft at the Bala Cove Marina for $200-$300 per day.
If you feel like doing the tourist thing, head over to upscale Port Carling, a swanky Muskoka resort town for shopping or dining, or take a cruise of Lake Rosseau or Lake Muskoka on the Peerless II boat cruise. If you want to stay in town, the Kee to Bala concert hall is a two minute walk from the hotel. In 2013, the Kee will be hosting Blue Rodeo, Kim Mitchell, Matthew Good, Everlast and David Wilcox. Be prepared though for noisy inn guests on concert nights.