Recharge this summer with an Ontario cottage escape

Renting a cottage this summer? Here are some hidden hotspots in three of Ontario’s most popular destinations.

Muskoka

As the most popular cottaging destination for Ontarians and tourists alike, Muskoka is jam-packed with resorts, events, festivals and activities. If you’re looking for a quiet spot to relax and commune with nature, head north to Algonquin Park.

You don’t have to set up camp to enjoy this sprawling and remote provincial park. You can hit a number of bike trails, take advantage of a number of interpretive walking trails or slip into the water for backcountry or whitewater canoeing. Another  off-the-beaten path spot in the area is Limberlost Forest and Wildlife Reserve not far from Huntsville just off Hwy. 60. It offers unspoiled waters and 70km of hiking and biking trails. Can’t you smell the green?

Prince Edward County – Lake on the Mountain

If you’re cottaging along the shores of Lake Ontario in ‘The County,’ you’ve caught on to the allure of this quaint area which boasts plenty of wineries, shops, art galleries and restaurants. One destination you don’t want to miss is Lake on the Mountain.

Just outside the town of Picton, a winding road travels up, up, up to reveal one of Ontario’s natural wonders—a lake— on a mountain. No one can quite explain how it ended up there, but it’s worth seeing to consider for yourself. Stunning views of the Bay of Quinte offer Instagram-worthy photo opps and an on-site inn, restaurant and brewery provide plenty of fuel as you mull over the mystery. 

The Thousand Islands

If you’re lucky enough to own or rent a cottage along the shore or on an island, you have access to lush green foliage that simply screams “Canada”. But to truly take in the more than 1,800 islands that straddle the US-Canadian border on the St. Lawrence River, you have to take to the water. Leave the speed boat at the dock and rent a house boat for an adventure that’ll let you put eyes on hundreds of islands in just a few days.

There are a number of house boat rentals available from the town of Gananoque, a central spot to sightsee the Thousand Islands. You’ll quickly get up to speed on how to avoid the massive ship liners that navigate the channel and gently chug between destinations like Boldt Castle, the Thousand Islands Bridge, Singer Castle on Dark Island and Thousand Islands National Park. After a few nights on the open water, you’ll have a new appreciation for the hidden treasures all over Ontario.