cottage getaways toronto

5 cottage getaways from Toronto better than Muskoka

Cottage getaways from Toronto are a summer tradition. For many, Muskoka is the default destination when imagining cottage country, but there are so many other areas worthy of consideration when renting a lakeside retreat for a weekend or more. As nice as Muskoka is, it's also busy, expensive, and a nightmare to get to on a Friday afternoon.

Here are five other cottage destinations that'll make you forget all about Muskoka.

Haliburton

Haliburton is every bit as rugged and beautiful as Muskoka, but with fewer major resorts, it can be a superior destination for those who want to soak up natural life on a lake rather than hear powerboats and jet skis zooming by. Minden, the area's central town, is kind of like the anti-Port Carling with no huge touristy businesses or massive pubs.

The Kawarthas

You can get to the Kawarthas in about an hour and a half from Toronto in decent traffic, all while avoiding the dreaded trip up the 400. This cottage area boasts lovely little towns like Fenelon Falls and mostly affordable cottage rentals throughout the region. With lots of quiet back roads, this is an excellent region for cycling.

Havelock-Belmont-Methuen

The name is entirely forgettable, but this is one of Ontario's hidden gems when it comes to cottaging. Anchored by the railway town of Havelock, which hosts a massive jamboree every summer, cottage rentals around here usually go for way less than Muskoka, despite the beautiful scenery.

Huron County

From party towns like Grand Bend to lakeside communities like Bayfield, the east side of Lake Huron offers sunsets, sandy beaches, and a rural landscape that's nothing like Muskoka. Cottages here tend to be far less wooded, but significantly cheaper and with stunning views across the major lake.

Frontenac County

If you're willing to extend your drive to this area north of Kingston, you'll be treated to a wonderland of rugged lakes, all of which are cheaper to rent cottages on than those in Muskoka. Both regions look quite similar landscape-wise, but Frontenac County is less developed and that makes it feel like more genuine escape.

Lead photo by

Derek Flack. Written by Derek Flack. 


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