There’s no better way to take in Ontario’s abundant natural beauty than on foot. Whether you want to be surrounded by trees, gazing out over high white cliffs, or taking in an expansive lake view, there are hiking trails a-plenty. Even better? Staying in a cottage that’s less than a half an hour’s drive from those awesome trails. Here are some of our top picks available for rent through CanadaStays.
A quiet Tobermory retreat from $100 per night
This cozy three-bedroom cottage at Indian Harbour offers gorgeous views over Georgian Bay from the main living areas, which boast whitewashed pine walls and loads of natural light. A manmade sandy beach leads to a flat, rocky approach to the water—perfect for swimming, but the rocks can get slippery, so pack your swim shoes. Curl up in front of the wood-burning stove after a day of hiking the Bruce Trail—the Lion’s Head Loop, which you can access from the town of Lion’s Head, is a challenging, scenic route. The cottage is also a short drive from Bruce Peninsula National Park’s visitor centre, with its 60-foot observation tower and access to the famous grotto.
New post-and-beam cottage on the Bruce from $250 per night
This brand-new custom-built home features gorgeous post-and-beam construction, open-concept living spaces, and beautiful views of Lake Huron and Youell Island. A screened-in porch is perfect for bug-free al fresco dining or simply watching the sunrise and sunset. Swimming or kayaking is easy; the flat-rock shore makes for smooth water entry, and the island keeps the water calm. For an extra fee, you can relax in the hot tub, which overlooks the water. For great hiking, check out the trails at Bruce Peninsula National Park, or take a boat over to Flowerpot Island and hike the loop trail there.
Rustic comfort in Lake of Bays from $642 per night
This rustic chic charmer combines the casual comfort of the cottage with the warmth of home, giving you the complete Muskoka experience. Curl up in a Muskoka chair on the dock and watch the sunset (glass of wine optional, but recommended), relax in the hot tub, or curl up on the large sectional couch in the living room and get lost in a good book. There’s even a handy outdoor shower. If you’re up for some water adventures, a canoe, three kayaks, and a paddle board are ready and waiting at the dock. And if you’re aching to go hiking? Algonquin Park is a quick trip, or you can go for a slightly longer drive to Arrowhead, both of which have plenty of trails to choose from. (If you’re staying in the winter, check out Arrowhead’s 1.3-km skating trail.)
360-degree views in Tobermory from $171 per night
This newly renovated cottage is one of the original fishermen’s houses in the area, it’s across the road from Little Tub Harbour, and it’s within walking distance of Tobermory. Climb to the cottage’s crows nest or “widow’s watch” for 360-degree views of the harbour—complete with the Chi-Cheemaun ferry docking—and Georgian Bay. For swimming and snorkelling, follow the boardwalk across the road to a public access point, or head to Dunks Bay or Singing Sands beach in Bruce Peninsula National Park. Looking to get some hiking in? The Bruce Trail’s Burnt Point Loop, accessible from the parking lot for Bruce Peninsula National Park, offers lovely views of the islands of Georgian Bay. Make sure to leave time to check out the park’s Visitor Centre as well.
Traditional Muskoka style in Huntsville from $255 per night
This century-old cottage sits on the shores of Peninsula Lake and was originally used by loggers. Now, the only logs in sight are the ones that hold up the roof for the screened-in porch that overlooks the lake, perfect for al fresco dining and bug-free outdoor reading. Furnished with comfy antiques, this four-bedroom cottage boasts a natural stair path that leads down to the waterfront and dock, as well as the fire pit. If you’re in the mood for some hiking, head to Algonquin Park for spectacular day hikes, like the popular Centennial Ridges trail. The park also offers a series of interpretive walks, complete with trail guide booklets that allow you to learn about different aspects of the park while you walk.
Lakeside oasis in Haliburton from $300 per night
This four-bedroom waterfront paradise can accommodate two families (with enough space for everyone to enjoy some private time). Enjoy the view of the trees and the lake out of the bright south-facing windows, or gather on the large patio overlooking the lake for pre-dinner drinks and snacks. On rainy days, there’s a pool table and ping-pong, as well as a Wii system for the younger folks (and the young-at-heart). On sunny days, two docks accommodate both deep-water and shallow-water entry—perfect for boaters and swimmers alike. Hikers should check out the Queen Elizabeth II Wildlands (formerly the Dalton Digby Wildlands) for a chance to walk through one of the least disturbed natural areas in Central Ontario. Just be warned—while there are lots of great opportunities to explore at the provincial Ganaraska Trail’s Wilderness Section, which runs through the wilderness area, there are no facilities available.
Visit rentals.cottagelife.com to view all rental properties and find your perfect stay. Plus, we have a special discount code for Cottage Life fans—use CLSUMMER50 at checkout for $50 off booking fees until September 30th.