Muskoka—Canada’s Diamond in the Rough
Just two hours north of Toronto, you’ll find the breathtaking region of Muskoka, Ontario, aptly nicknamed “Cottage Country” for its propensity of charming property design. Not as popular a destination as the Grand Canyon or Niagara Falls, Muskoka is every bit as remarkable. Crystal clear air and ample privacy have beckoned several A-listers like Steven Spielberg, Kate Hudson, and Tom Hanks to purchase their own piece of solitude amidst the beauty of Canada’s rugged wilderness.
A brilliant display of the four seasons, Muskoka’s weather varies throughout the year, from approximately 6 degrees to 77 degrees fahrenheit. With no real dry season to speak of, the climate leans toward humid with warm summer months that are perfect for hiking, swimming, biking, and general outdoor enjoyment. A stark contrast to the concrete jungle, Muskoka is made up of expansive lakes, vivid landscapes, peace, and serenity; it is the very definition of natural beaut…beau…b…CHOO! Did we forget to mention allergies? Ahhhh yes, while undoubtedly picturesque, Cottage Country has earned itself a staggering 8 out of 10 on the Pasha Allergy Scale. But don’t unpack your bags just yet, Muskoka doesn’t have to be off limits; in fact, simply knowing what to expect can go a long way in allergy-proofing your next Canadian vacation.
Pollen, Mold, and Ragweed—Muskoka’s Allergens and What to Do About Them
So, let’s learn more about the three offenders. These allergens are best known for causing inconvenient nasal congestion, sinus pressure, a runny nose, itchy/watery eyes, a scratchy throat and cough, bags under the eyes, a decreased sense of taste and smell, asthmatic reactions, and poor sleep quality. So when should you expect the onslaught of symptoms? Pollen wreaks the most havoc in the morning hours of April and May, especially after prolonged periods of drought. (Luckily for you travelers, droughts are not a regular occurrence in Muskoka.) Mold makes its debut mid-July, generously affecting not only the great outdoors, but making its way into your indoor sanctuary as well. Ragweed materializes toward the end of the year, mainly during the months of August to October. Weather.com has a great allergy tracker tool which provides daily breakdowns for your destination of choice, so you’re never left guessing. For the most part, symptoms caused by these pesky allergens are simply managed with your existing anti-allergy regimen. As long as you have a plan in place, you should be able to take in all that Muskoka has to offer.
Now That Your Allergies Are Under Control, Let’s Have Some Fun
Maple. Need we say more? If ever there were a time for indulgence, vacations are prime—and with maple sugar bush tours, maple breakfasts, maple beer, maple wine, maple sweets, and maple-inspired cuisine, Muskoka is definitely the place. In fact, Discover Muskoka offers a custom maple tour itinerary builder to help you cater to your taste buds’ wildest desires.
If sugary confections don’t quite satisfy your palate, no worries! Cottage Country has plenty more to offer. Rising in the ranks for their quality craft beer and wine, you’ll find a myriad of brewery, winery, and roasters tours. (If you don’t like coffee, this last one is not for you.) For a truly mesmerizing fall vacation, take a driving tour down Muskoka’s winding roads and experience nature’s annual masterpiece as it transforms from vibrant green to brilliant shades of rust, copper, and scarlet. For the more daring adventurer, Heli Muskoka and Georgian Bay Airways offer a spectacular bird’s eye view from their fleet of helicopters and float planes.
Traveling with the kids? Then head on over to the Summer Water Sports floating water park for a sliding, bouncing, jumping great time. Or, check out the Muskoka Discovery Center, North America’s sole in-water exhibit of working antique boats. Plus, experience the popular KidZone, filled with multi-sensory, hands-on activities, designed to encourage development of your little one’s critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills.
So you’ve gotten this far and you like what you hear…but there’s something missing. Maybe you just want to lay out, soak up the sun, and relax to the gentle sound of water as it laps at the shore. Muskoka has a beach for that. Several of them, actually.
What to Know Before You Go—A Guide to Medications in Muskoka
Luckily for you, Canadian drugstores offer familiar over-the-counter medications so you’ll never have to worry about going without your tried and true remedy. If your weapon of choice is a prescription medication, however, it’s advisable to take a copy of your prescription and a doctor’s note with you, including details of your condition and the medication prescribed, just in case. Lastly, you may also want to ask your doctor for personalized recommendations to combat allergy triggers native to the area.
If you find yourself feeling helpless against your allergies, you may want to look into immunotherapy treatment. The majority of people will run for over-the-counter medication at the first sign of symptoms, but these medications are ultimately a guessing game. Some people pick a pill and voila, they feel cured; others will jump from medicine to medicine, finding little to no relief. Immunotherapy starts with a skin test that accurately identifies your specific allergen trigger and then a customized treatment program is outlined for you, conveniently designed to be administered at home.
Muskoka may not be on top of the list of the world’s hottest vacations, but we’re pretty confident that if you give it a chance, you’ll see that the top is exactly where it belongs. So get to packing! With the right insight and preparation, Muskoka is at your fingertips. Bon voyage!
Be sure to check out the Pasha Travel Guide to see this year’s top 12 travel destinations, and learn tips for traveling allergy-free. Next week, we’re featuring Cape Town, South Africa, and covering allergens to watch out for, fun activities to do while you’re there, and important medicine restrictions for travelers. Stay tuned later this week to learn how climate change can make your allergies go haywire. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest for more updates!