cottage in ontario

5 essential cottage country getaways in Ontario

Ontario cottage country is a beloved summer escape for Toronto residents, where they'll flock en masse every weekend for a few peaceful days of boating, fishing off the dock, or lounging by the fire in a big Muskoka chair.

You might be lucky enough to have a family or friend's cottage of your own to escape to, but if not, you can still embrace the tradition by renting one or staying at a lakeside retreat.

From Parry Sound to Bancroft, there's no shortage of dreamy destinations to embrace the short but sweet summer season at.

Here are some essential cottage country getaways in Ontario.


Muskoka is quintessential cottage country, with striking rugged beauty, charming small towns, and ritzy resorts. Boasting 1,600 lakes in the region, you'll find everything from rustic properties in the woods to multimillion-dollar waterfront properties dotting its sparkling waters.

Also a popular celebrity hangout, cottages here are notoriously expensive; if it's within budget and you want a taste of how the area's wealthiest spend their summers, Jayne's Cottages offer a range of super luxurious properties rentals on the Muskoka Lakes.

If you don't need the bells and whistles, check out Muskoka Waterfront Retreat, a historic 100-year-old lodge nestled in the Lake of Bays, which has since been transformed into an idyllic modern escape.

The Kawarthas

Just around a two-hour drive from Toronto, The Kawarthas in south-central Ontario is a great alternative to Muskoka for city folks looking for a quick escape. It's also an incredible destination for those who love to be active, with lovely back roads for cycling, hiking trails, golf courses, and horseback riding.

For everything you need in one place, Elmhirst Resort is a family-owned and operated cottage resort with an onsite spa, dining, and recreational activities, right on the shores of Rice Lake just 20 minutes from Peterborough.

Blue Pigeon Resort is another great option in the charming town of Bobcaygeon, with a selection of cottages to choose from as well as water equipment like seadoos and pontoon boats for rent.

Thousand Islands

Composed of over 1,800 islands straddling the U.S.-Canadian border along to St. Lawrence River, the Thousand Islands boasts gorgeous blue waters and lush foliage to explore - and even multiple castles you can visit or stay overnight in.

Overlooking a sheltered part of the river, the Watermark Cottages are a luxe option which rent by the week, complete with their own barbecue areas, hot tubs, and firepits.

Pinecrest Resort in Gananoque also has cottage rentals steps away from the St. Lawrence, as well as its own private sandy beach for guests to enjoy.


With the same rugged beauty you'd find in Muskoka, Haliburton bustles in the summer months, just with fewer lavish resorts and shiny speedboats zipping past. It's also sits on part of the Canadian Shield, featuring vast expanses of forests, clear lakes and rivers.

Sir Sam's Inn and Spa is a relaxed adults-only retreat sitting on Eagle Lake, offering a wide array of year-round activities, dining, and of course the onsite spa.

If you have little ones, Miners' Bay Lodge caters to families, with a historic lodge that has been in operation since 1938. There's also two sandy beaches, tennis and shuffleboard courts, and a big waterslide off the dock.

Georgian Bay

Georgian Bay may have some of the coldest water to swim in of the above options, but the turquoise waters are hard to resist jumping into during sweltering summer days. Ranging from the Bruce Peninsula to Tobermory, you'll find some of the most stunning scenery in the province here.

Rockwood Resort is a welcoming destination with assortment of unique cottages on the water for rent, complete with a sandy beach, woodland trails, and water equipment for guests.

With a prime location to get to the Grotto or Flowerpot Island, Big Tub Resort in Tobermory is minutes away from the action, and even rents out kayaks, canoes or paddle boats if you want to paddle to the shipwrecks.

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5 essential cottage country getaways in Ontario

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