Cottage getaways from Toronto are a summer tradition. For many, Muskoka is the default destination when imagining cottage country, but there's 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 is every bit as rugged and beautiful as Muskoka, but with fewer major resorts and a quieter vibe in general, 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 taco joints or massive pubs.
You can get to the Kawarthas in about an hour and a half from Toronto in decent traffic, all while avoiding the dreaded tip up the 400. This quiet cottage area boasts lovely little towns like Fenelon Falls and affordable cottage rentals throughout the area. With lots of quiet back roads, this is an excellent region for cycling.
The name is entirely forgettable, but this is one of Ontario's hidden gems when it comes to cottaging. Anchored by the little town of Havelock, which hosts a massive jamboree every summer, cottage rentals around here go for roughly 30 per cent less than Muskoka. With so many pristine lakes, this is an area to take advantage of if you've never been.
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.
If you're willing to extend your drive to the area north of Kingston, you'll be treated to a wonderland of rugged lakes and quaint small towns, all of which are cheaper to rent on than Muskoka. In fact both regions look quite similar landscape wise (once you get far enough north from the 401), but Frontenac county is much less developed and that makes it feel like an even more genuine escape from city life.
Did I miss a great cottage region? Add your suggestions in the comments.
Photo by Peter Morgan on Flickr.
by Derek Flack via blogTO