Whether it’s a day of golf on the Canadian Shield where the ‘shield’ is not your friend, an early morning paddle with your fishing rod as an excuse, a walk through mature forest or an afternoon of fun with the kids at the water’s edge, Ontario’s cottage country is bursting with experiences that will stay with you for a lifetime. It’s easy to see why lakefront holidays on any of the province’s 250,000 lakes has been and continues to be a passion for families. One of the reasons we all love cottage vacations is to share and create experiences for our children.

Here are a few recommendations on how to make all of this happen for you and your family.


Attractions & Activities

Your children will always be reminding you of the time you took them to the lookout tower, watched a movie at a drive-in theater, learned about insects or maps, saw some wolves or learned how to ride a horse or simply had fun jumping into the lake. There are countless venues in cottage country where you can educate and entertain your children while enjoying the family time together. Create a lifetime of memories while experiencing Ontario’s cottage country.

Here are a few great activities that the kids will enjoy.

The Lookout Tower at Dorset for awesome views.

There’s still a drive-in theater in Muskoka!

Lots of activities the kids will like at the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve.

Ever see a wolf in real life? They’re awesome and you can see them at the Haliburton and Wildlife Wolf Center.

Learn to ride a horse in beautiful south Algonquin Park.



Golf in Ontario’s cottage country can be a unique experience. Spectacularly designed courses routed over and around granite outcrops not only offer a challenge for the average golfer, even the most accomplished may see their ‘game’ suffer from unusual bounces (I always take a few extra golf balls!), they offer a connection to nature not often found elsewhere. There are many great golf courses within easy reach of Parry Sound, Haliburton and in the Muskoka and Kawartha regions.

Here are a few resources to make golf part of your family’s cottage vacation experience.

Golf Muskoka – links to 26 Muskoka/Parry Sound area golf clubs.

Golf Advisor’s Haliburton Golf Guide

TripAdvisor’s Kawartha Lakes Golf Courses



If you’ve ever been fishing, I’m sure you remember your first fish. Mine was a 5” speckled trout from a small pond in southern Ontario just enough to motivate me to get back out the next day and catch the next fish – maybe a bigger one. Since then I’ve spent countless hours walking streams, paddling canoes and in a boat on a lake. Sometimes the fishing has been good. Many times, I came home having caught no fish but I always came home satisfied, having enjoyed my day outdoors. Kids love fishing!

Ontario’s lakes and rivers offer some of the best fishing experiences anywhere in the world. A wide variety of species including walleye, pike, large and smallmouth bass, trout and crappie can often be found right off your dock. Most Ontario fishing is a DIY affair however, for the inexperienced there are outfitters that can provide you with all you’ll need to have a great day. Get out on the water, drop in a line and enjoy the peace and quiet. Here are a few resources to get you started.

Whether you are planning a fishing specific vacation or just want to dabble a little with the kids, here are a few resources that will help you get the most out of your time on the water.

Ontario Government Fishing page with everything you need to know before fishing in Ontario

Here’s a fish identification chart that covers all the species potentially caught in Ontario’s waters.

Cottage Life’s Fishing Guide for Beginners.



At a time when we’re all trying to get out from behind our computer or off the couch, finding the inspiration to do so can sometimes be difficult. The sheer enjoyment of a walk through a forest of mature hardwood and evergreen trees should be enough to break the rut. Get on your feet, increase your step count for the day and enjoy the winter snow, the emergence of spring, escape summer’s heat under the forest canopy or experience beautiful fall colours. Get your children away from their phones, tablets and video games and share the experience!

Here are some ideas that will prove helpful in planning your walk.

Ontario Trails can be invaluable in sourcing and researching the most suitable trails for your holiday hike.

In Haliburton, the Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Reserve is a must-see destination for all things outdoors.

While in Muskoka, try treetop trekking for a change of pace.



Yes, we all must eat and for many of us it’s an important daily activity – sometimes the highlight of the day. Whether its a great steak, a vegetarian dish that we’ve been trying to find the time to prepare or a candlelit dinner at a local dining room, you’re not going to be disappointed with the spectacular setting overlooking the lake in cottage country. Fire up the grill or make a reservation at the trending local hotspot. Eat and be merry!

If avoiding meal prep and cleanup at the cottage is in the plans, here are a few of the many outstanding dine-out opportunities that await in cottage country.

In the Haliburton area? Try Rhubarb Restaurant

When in Huntsville, 3 Guys and a Stove comes highly recommended.or try any of the great eateries noted at Discover Muskoka Dining

Here are TripAdvisor’s 10 best restaurants in the Kawartha Lakes.


At CottageRental.com we can find you the perfect cottage rental in any part of Ontario’s cottage country. Visit our site at www.cottagerental.com to find you perfect vacation get-a-way.