“I’m not going outside, until the temperature is above my age”
Believe it or not, I actually prefer winter cottaging to summer cottaging… GASP – say it ain’t so?! It is “so” my friends, it is VERY so! Contrary to popular opinion, I find there to be so much MORE to do up North during the winter months in comparison to your quintessential hot “Cottage Season” that us Canucks have grown oh so very fond of – but honestly, it was literally SO freakin’ hard to narrow the below list down to just 10 winter activities I swear to you! So I challenge you all to switch up your mindset just a little bit & embrace all that winter season up North at the cottage has to offer! You won’t regret it…
10 Activities That Will Change Your Perspective on Winter Cottaging
I have to admit, I initially thought that snowshoeing would be a complete & utter BORE however I am proud to announce that I am now unbelievably obsessed with this activity! It’s a GREAT way to exercise outdoors in the winter & you do eventually work up a bit of a sweat! If you’re in Halibruton check out the trails over at Sir Sam’s, Muskoka has a TON of trails to choose from which you can find here, & if you cottage in the Wasaga or the Georgian Bay area you should absolutely check out these awesome snowshoe & wine tasting packages here!
2. Brewery Tours
I cannot think of anything more perfect than cozying up at the local brewery & tasting an endless variety of beers or wines with your besties on a crisp, cold day. The travel & adventure company Yours Outdoors offers a 4hour guided tour of three of Haliburton’s wineries & breweries which you can read about here, & If you’re not looking for a full-blow tour, you could always just visit Boshkung Brewery in Minden or Haliburton Highlands Brewery separately! The Muskoka Brewery offers free tours Fridays to Sundays – read all about it here!
3. Cross Country Skiing
PSA: Cross country skiing is hard! Fun… but hard! I think I spent the good majority of my first time cross country skiing on my arse. *** Silent reminder to never make fun of this sport again! *** Challenge yourself & do a little bit of cross country skiing up north at the cottage this winter! You can find Haliburton Trails here, Georgian Bay Trails here, & Muskoka Trails here!
4. Snowboarding or Skiing
Now I realize that cottage country is not necessarily the first destination you’d think of when looking for a snowy ski getaway… well think again my friends! There are hills in Haliburton, Muskoka AND near Georgian Bay – Mind BLOWN! Not to mention, if you’re looking to ski at Blue Mountain – renting a cottage in Wasaga is definitely cheaper over a chalet at the bottom of the hills. Sure, you may have to drive a little bit but it may be worth the extra money in savings!
5. Visit the Spa
For those of you that appreciate more of an “après ski” than “ski” situation – which is me for like 96.78% of the time. Sir Sams Inn in Haliburton has a great water spa; I love going for a massage & then relaxing in the pools & sauna afterwards. The pool has a fantastic view of the lake which is made all the more pretty when it is covered in ice & snow!
6. Dog Sledding
I remember just being SO surprised that dog sledding was even a thing here in Ontario! I had always envisioned it be exclusive to more Northern Canadian Regions which is obviously quite possibly the most naive & ignorant thing ever. Nonetheless there are actually a couple of places right here in cottage country & it is so freakin’ FUN! Try Winterdance in Haliburton or North Ridge Ranch in Muskoka!
7. Ice Climbing
Ice climbing is a bit of a butt clencher but WORTH it! It is a serious bucket list moment & I am so glad that I mustered up the courage to actually go out & do it. I’ve never tried any of them in Ontario (we went in Tremblant), but both the Muskoka & Haliburton region offer up tours which you can find here & here respectively.
8. Winter Camping
This is honestly something that I would absolutely never do. I seriously HATE camping. However, I can appreciate that this is totally some people’s absolute jam. Yours Outdoors in Haliburton offers a two night, traditional winter camping tour! The outline & itinerary does look pretty darn cool so if you’re up for the challenge you can check it out here!
9. Sleigh Rides
My brother gifted me a horse drawn sleigh ride for Christmas this year – which side note is just the cutest thing ever – & it was such a blast & a total “pinch me” moment. The scenery was simply exquisite! For Haliburton, click here & here! Muskoka – here!
Snowmobiling makes me just a tad nervous, but once I’m on the back of one of those everything disappears & it’s just literally the most fun EVER! You can practically find snowmobile trails & rentals all over cottage country, however be sure to check out Haliburton Forest for SURE!
Where to Stay
Okay so now that my list has successfully gotten you all wildly obsessed with winter cottaging, we have to figure out a place for you to actually stay! If you don’t have a cottage or you have one that is not winterized, not to fret! Because there are seriously like a gazillion & one options for you to consider.
- PineStone Resort – Haliburton
- Oakview Lodge – Haliburton
- Windemere – Muskoka
- Bonnie View Inn – Haliburton
- Clevelands House – Muskoka
- Deerhurst – Huntsville
- Sandy Lane Resort – Haliburton
- J.W. Marriott – Muskoka
What are some of your favourite winter activities up north?!