7 activities to enjoy outdoors—even if the bugs are out

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Swimming, boating, drinking beer dockside—these are the activities that make cottaging in the summertime the best part of the year. But we’re not the only ones who love the water. Pests like mosquitoes and flies hover around open waters, hunting for their next feast. But even when the bugs are out in full force, you can still enjoy these seven cottage activities.


Set up a badminton net by the water and organize a round robin tournament over the course of a weekend. Play singles or doubles, or ditch the net altogether and make a giant circle and play keep up. Mosquitoes are attracted to movement and heat, meaning they’re going to be staking out the players diving for the birdie. Protect yourself with an insect repellent like OFF! Active®.


Nothing says summertime at the cottage like fishing at dawn. Unfortunately, the best time to catch the big one is also the worst time for mosquito bites. To protect yourself from bugs, be sure to wear loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts and pants in light colours.

Regatta games

While the adults are drinking, the kids can take out the canoes and paddleboats for some all-ages fun. There are plenty of regatta games, but some of our favourites include hurry-scurry fours, a riff on the traditional canoe race, and pedal-push pennant, where the person who comes in last place is actually the winner. Kids over three can use DEET-free OFF!® familycare® Botanicals lotion, which repels mosquitoes and black flies.

Outdoor movie night

Who says you can only watch movies at the cottage on rainy days? Build an outdoor theatre and view your favourite flicks under the stars. Since the bugs will be especially nippy at night, use an OFF!® PowerPad® Mosquito Lantern.


For many Canadians, the only time to see the stars is at the cottage, where bright streetlights and skyscrapers are non-existent. If you want to ramp up your stargazing game, download an app like SkyView, which will identify any constellations near you.

Ladder Toss

Personalize this classic cottage activity by building your very own set. It will take an afternoon to build, but will provide hours of entertainment. You can find detailed instructions here.

Make a margarita bar

Although some may argue that every hour is Happy Hour at the cottage, we still believe the best time to enjoy a margarita is on a Saturday at 3 p.m. Transform your outdoor patio with an MYOM—Make Your Own Margarita bar. Set out a variety of tequilas, some liqueurs like Cointreu and Grand Marnier, homemade sour mix, a bucket of ice, and salt. Be sure to include a cocktail shaker so guests can shake up their own creation!