It’s always a little depressing when summer ends and you say goodbye to your favourite warm weather activities—especially the ones tied to the cottage. As winter drags on, you mope about the cold weather and wish there were a way you could recapture the spirit of summer.
With just a little creative thinking and some simple modifications, you can enjoy a ton of summer’s pleasures during the darkness of winter. So the next time you’re craving a summer activity, try these winter variations on for size.
1. Build a campfire
Campfires may be a summer tradition but they’re even cozier during the frosty months. When you build a fire in the middle of winter, you’re not just huddling around the flames for fun and companionship. You’re battling back against the chilly temperatures and (hopefully!) staying toasty while enjoying the great outdoors. While there may be some added challenges to starting a fire in the wintertime, it’s more than doable. This article will help you choose a location, find the right firewood and keep the flames burning long into the night.
2. Toast some s’mores
Now that you’ve learned campfires are an all-season pleasure, it should be easy to add authentic s’mores to your winter menu. If you’re not up for an outdoor cookout, there are countless other ways to experience that the special summer flavor. We compiled a list of inventive twists on the classic chocolate and marshmallow masterpiece—no firewood necessary. From s’more cupcakes to s’more-stuffed french toast, these recipes will have you singing the praises of the off-season s’more.
3. Sleep outside (or at least in a yurt)
Winter camping isn’t just for hardcore outdoorsman anymore—there are also great options for those who crave a little more comfort. With the proper equipment, a sub-zero sleeping bag, and some helpful tips on using snow for insulation, tent camping in the winter months can be a satisfying experience. But less rugged campers can choose year ‘round camping grounds with cabins and yurts available for rent. Their days will be filled with fun frozen activities like skating, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing, but their nights will be warm and heated inside solid walls. This article outlines the best places across Canada to take advantage of the growing yurt trend.
4. Decompress with a few pints
With so many beers that practically scream summer, it’s easy to feel disappointed when you’re sipping brews indoors on a snowy day instead of quenching your thirst down on the dock. But you may not realize that there is a whole world of specially crafted winter beers just waiting to be discovered! For the colder months, breweries create heavier beers that are creamy and dark. Porters, dark ales, stouts, and other hearty brews, often infused with fruits and spices during the brewing process, are perfect cold weather beverages. Choose from any of the great options highlighted in this article.
5. Try tubing
When the boats are docked for the winter, your lake rides may be over, but the thrill of tubing is just a snowy slope away. Snow tubing is similar to sledding and tobogganing, with riders zipping down steep snowy hills. But the tubes are slightly more complex than your typical sled, specially crafted to spin around in both directions for a more exciting ride. There are also specific snow tube slopes you can visit. Much like ski slopes, they are designed for the optimal downhill experience. This list highlights a bunch of places you can go snow tube in Ontario Cottage Country, including Deerhurst Resort and Arrowhead Provincial Park.
6. Pack a picnic
Eating outside in the winter can be intimidating, but you don’t have to fear al fresco when the temperature drops. With a few adjustments to your picnic plans you can enjoy a delicious lunch in the fresh air anytime you want. Firstly, be sure to bundle up enough to stay warm and comfortable. Secondly, make your picnic an active affair to keep the blood pumping. Mix some hiking or snowshoeing in with the eating or play around with goofy winter activities that you couldn’t replicate at a summer picnic. Why not build snow benches to sit on or snow friends to share in the festivities? But most importantly, choose portable, warming foods, and keep them well insulated for the journey. We compiled a list of mouthwatering toasty recipes that are perfect for winter picnics.
7. Go birding
While summer offers a greater variety of species for bird enthusiasts, winter bird watching can be surprising and rewarding. There are lots of interesting water birds, birds of prey, game birds, and perching birds to be spotted and Bird Canada has compiled a list of species you can seek out in the Canadian wilderness. Owls are perhaps the highlight of the season and Amherst Island in Ontario is home to the famous “owl woods” where birders can spot up to five different species in one day! Also, because of winter’s unpredictable weather, birds are often flown off course and it’s always exciting to spot a wayward winged creature you weren’t expecting to see.