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Our Guide to Renting the Perfect Cottage in Ontario!

Whether you’re travelling with friends, taking the family on an adventure, or looking to get away with your partner, renting a cottage in Ontario is a great choice. Ontario, as you might already know, is a huge province that is geographically diverse wherever you go.

The landscape is beautiful and offers something for everyone -whether you’re looking for the beach, the pristine wilderness, waterfalls, or small town settings. That said, choosing an area to rent in can be a difficult task given how much the key areas (Muskokas, Kawarthas, etc) differ in price and in geographical distance to get to!

To help you with your search for that perfect cottage rental in Ontario, we’ve developed this guide to help you understand the different cottage areas. We’ll walk you through the pros and cons of renting in these areas, as well as direct you to the resources and websites you’ll need to rent your perfect cottage or cabin. Are you travelling to Canada for the first time? Then perhaps read that and then come back to figure out how to rent your cottage! Ready to get started? Here we go!

How to Rent a Cottage in Ontario

There are lots of things to consider when renting a cottage property. You’ll need to know the needs and wants of your group and be able to look for these details on each cottage listing. You’ll also need to choose the website or source to find and book your rental with.

Since there are lots of different websites and sources to find listings, we’ve created a master list of all the ones that we could find in the bottom of this post. Our advice is to read through the following questions to ask yourself before booking. Remember: research the areas well and then decide on which company to book with, if any.

Property Details to Ask Yourself Before Booking

There are lots of details to consider when you’re renting a cottage in Ontario. Some of these details are small, while others, like location, are critical to consider before booking anything. Some websites listed in this post let you filter the search results to find the type of rental property you’re looking for. Common considerations before you rent a cottage in Ontario are:

  • Rental season? Summer and winter cottages are very different in Ontario. See below “Winter Cottage Rentals”.
  • Is the property smoking/non-smoking?
  • Are bed/bath linens included in the price of the rental?
  • Is there wifi at the property?
  • What about parking spots available at the property?
  • Does the property have air conditioning in the summer months? Do you need air conditioning?
  • Is there cell service at the cottage/a landline at the property?
  • Is there a working fireplace? Is it gas, electric, or real? How about a barbecue?
  • Is the property right on the water or a short walk to a public beach?
  • Do I get access to water toys/accessories? e.g. life jackets, fun inflatables or “floaties”, boat, canoe, etc.
  • What’s the closest town and how far is the drive from Toronto?
  • Is the property pet-friendly? One of the biggest questions is around whether pets are allowed in properties.

Pet-friendly Cottage Rentals Ontario

When it comes to pets, they can be considered members of the family. As such, many people would rather have their furry friend along for the vacation. Among booking sites, there are generally three categories of “pet allowance”:

  • Pet-Friendly – means that pets are allowed on the property and inside the rental. However, just because pets are allowed, owners can still impose restrictions on the amount of animals. For example, “only one large animal” can be a rule for some rentals.
  • Pet-Restricted – means that certain kinds of pets are allowed on the property. For example, “only cats”  or “dogs only” can be a stipulation for properties. Usually this is because the owners have an allergen against certain pet dander and as such they keep their rental tenants to the same rules.
  • Pet-Forbidden – means that no pets are allowed on the property or in the cottage. Different websites/listings specify what “pet-forbidden” means but one website explained that these properties have not had an animal in/on the property in the past 12 months minimum. Typically, these restrictions are due to severe allergies or strict personal preference and should be obeyed by renters at all costs.

Most websites make it very clear which “level of pet” the property allows for. Furthermore, the owner has the option to determine if your furry friend can stay at the cottage while you’re renting even if it’s “pet friendly”. It’s best to check with the rental property owner/ for the exact stipulations of the property before you book anything.

Winter Cottage Rentals in Ontario

A Winter Cottage Rental in Ontario seems like a great idea – but there are certainly a few things you’ll need to consider. First of all, many rental properties aren’t winterized – this means that the cottages are not able to function properly in the winter. This could be due to having insulation unfit for the colder climates or that the water supply is from the lake which often freezes in the winter.

Another limiting factor to renting a cottage in Ontario in the winter is that many smaller roads that lead into smaller lakes become inaccessible by car when there is significant snowfall.

Whatever the reason, the number of rentals available in the winter will be reduced drastically. Rentals that are available are typically made to withstand people in the winter time and as such, you’ll find winterized cottages by filtering specific websites for the correct month. No property that isn’t winterized should be listed for a winter rental.

Here is a very large and detailed guide if you are looking for more information on the best time of the year to visit Canada!

Finding a Cottage Rental in Ontario for Your Budget

Since there are just so many properties available for rent in Ontario in so many different areas, there’s a huge difference between the prices for the top-end cottages and the lower, budget-friendly cottage rentals. We help you determine what cottage, and what price, might be best for you and your group.

Luxury Cottage Rentals in Ontario

If you’re in the market for a luxury rental cottage in Ontario, there are specific websites that can help you with that. Generally, some of the most expensive properties are located in the Muskoka region on Lake Muskoka, Lake Joseph, Lake Rosseau, Lake of Bays, and Georgian Bay, among other areas.

Having said that, there are lots of great luxury and super elite properties within the different regions around Ontario. If you’re curious, an average rental for a luxury cottage in these areas will cost you around $15,000-25,000 CAD… or easily more.

Booking a luxury rental property should be easy with Jayne’s Cottages: Luxury Rentals and Concierge Services.

Cheap Cottage Rentals Ontario

If you’re still catching your breath from the last paragraph, let’s talk about finding cheaper rentals in Ontario. There are generally three pieces of advice for finding a deal when you’re renting a cottage: book early, book with a larger group, or book in an area that is not as popular in the summer months.

If you book early, you’ll avoid the summer markups that can occur when the season is hot and cottages are being rented to the point where there is limited to no availability remaining for the summer. Renting with a larger group will dilute the costs per person, allowing everyone to pay that much less.

That said, booking with a large group can come with limitations for space/availability but there are certainly lots of properties that cater to groups of 10 or more people.

Finally, booking a cottage in an area that’s not one of the hottest and most popular areas can help save you some money. The drive to the cottage might be a little longer or you might not be right on the waterfront – but there are compromises that you can make and still have an amazing week/weekend in your rental.

Last-Minute Cottage Rentals Ontario

While it’s definitely possible to secure a last-minute rental in Ontario, it probably won’t be cheap. Booking a last-minute is also only possible when you aim to book for shorter duration. Booking for a weekend is different than booking for a whole week when it comes to booking a cottage last minute in Ontario.

Our tip: Cottages get booked up early. Book early.

It’s January now and we’ve already found bookings in place for cottages in July ! While you might get lucky with a last minute cottage rental, there is a strong chance that the ones still available aren’t the best (or even the 10th best) properties for that area. Overall, doing thorough homework of the properties and booking early is simply the best to avoid disappointment!

Where to Rent a Cottage in Ontario

For this post, we’ve divided Ontario into smaller geographical areas. There are “Ontario cottage hot spots” that are searched more than others. We’ve done our best to highlight all areas of the province while providing specific details about the most popular destinations for cottage renters.

Muskoka Cottage Rentals

muskoka chairs looking out over beach and blue sky shoreline
Grab a famous “Muskoka Chair” and enjoy your rental in Muskoka.

Ah yes, the Muskokas. When you think of going to a cottage in Ontario many people immediately believe you’re heading “to the Muskokas”. While this is largely true for many people, it’s a bit of a stretch. So why is the area so famous with cottage goers? The unique combination of lakes and towns makes the area the heart of cottage country.

Muskoka is over 4,000 square kilometres, 14,000 km of shoreline, and 17 towns and villages dotted throughout. Among the most popular towns are Huntsville, Gravenhurst, and Bracebridge.

Stretching from Algonquin Park in the north to Georgian Bay in the west, there is an incredible network of lakes and rivers that cut through the Canadian Shield (the geological rocky landscape that covers a majority of Northern Ontario).

Muskoka is the home to lakes like Lake Muskoka, Rosseau, Joseph, Six Mile Lake, and many more. Since it’s only a short 1.5 – 2 hour drive north of Toronto, Muskoka is easily accessible by car. If you’d like to learn more, you can visit the tourism website for Muskoka.

To begin your adventure in Muskoka, you can find a reasonably priced Muskoka rental cottage here.

Huntsville Cottage Rentals

As the largest town in the Muskokas, renting a cottage in or near Hunstville shouldn’t be a challenge – assuming you book in advance of the busy summer season. Huntsville itself is a great little town where you can get all your supplies before heading into the cottage.

Huntsville is also great for a bite to eat and a little shopping as the “downtown core” is full of shops that cater to food, clothing, gear, and more for the summer visitors. Huntsville is a great place to spend some time in the summer, so check out the website for Huntsville tourism here.

Renting a cottage in Huntsville can begin by clicking the following link. You’ll find Huntsville-specific rentals.

Bracebridge Cottage Rentals

Staying in the heart of Muskoka is easy if you choose Bracebridge. Located a short 1.5 to 2 hour drive from Toronto, Bracebridge was built around a waterfall- making the downtown core a heavily visited spot in Muskoka. The areas surrounding Bracebridge is also known for exploring waterfalls.

If you’re interested in craft beer, there are quite a few breweries in the area. One of the most famous craft breweries in Ontario, Muskoka Brewery, is located in Bracebridge and is definitely worth a visit. For a longer list of things to do and why Bracebridge is awesome, you can check out the tourism website for Bracebridge.

If you’ve got your heart set on Bracebridge, you can find a rental cottage by checking out this link for Bracebridge cottages.

Gravenhurst Cottage Rentals

As a community defined by arts and culture, Gravenhurst is a unique town for the Muskoka region. Located just south of Bracebridge by about 15 minutes, the downtown core is lined with smaller shops that emphasize locally-made goods and crafts.

With the banner signage over the highway reading “Gateway to the Muskoka Lakes” as you enter – you can certainly see why Gravenhurst has lots to offer renters looking to experience classic small town Ontario cottage country. Here’s a great website if you’re looking to explore more about Gravenhurst.

Renting a cottage in Gravenhurst is a great way to experience Muskoka. You can find cottages for rent in Gravenhurst here.

Lake Rosseau Cottage Rentals

Lake Rosseau is one of those gems tucked away in the Muskokas. With a variety of celebrities owning properties over the years, it’s easy to see why the Lake, and the village of Rosseau, has gained so much prestige. Lake Rosseau has many cottages dating back to the 19th century, with a general store in town from the same timeline.

Some of the original resorts in Ontario were situated on Lake Rosseau, and the JW Marriott Resort finds its home there to this day. While Lake Rosseau can be thought of as a higher-end lake for rental properties, it’s still very possible to find a rental on the lake for an affordable price per week.

You can begin your search for Lake Rosseau Cottages here at HomeAway.

Georgian Bay Cottage Rentals

blue water lake with island and green trees in the middle
Georgian Bay is known for its islands.

Since Georgian Bay is so large, it can be difficult to generalize what the experience will be like. Each town on the shores has a different geographical area as well as its own unique size and charm. The differences between the towns are outlines below. If we had to generalize, renting a cottage on Georgian Bay might be pricey – and it’s definitely for those who have a boat or have rented a boat as well.

The water can be rougher since the Bay connects to Lake Huron so often times it’s for more experienced boaters. To learn more about Georgian Bay, you can visit the website for Georgian Bay tourism.

Click here to find a rental in Georgian Bay Area with Canada Stays.

Parry Sound Cottage Rentals

Parry Sound is a town on the northern shores of Georgian Bay. As a place to stop in and get supplies if you’re heading up to Sudbury or North Bay, the town can get quite busy in the summer time! Don’t let that stop you from looking at Parry Sound for a cottage rental.

There is plenty to do and see: hiking, culture, boating, and ferry sides to explore the shores are just a few of the activities. It’s popular as an entry point to Georgian Bay and beyond as it’s connected via lakes to the surrounding wilderness areas. Let the tourism website for Parry Sound tell you more.

If you’re looking for a cottage closer to Parry Sound, here’s a site specific to rentals in the Parry Sound District Area.

Collingwood Cottage Rentals

While Collingwood is known for its ski hill and resort, Blue Mountain, the town situated on the shores of Georgian Bay is known for rental cottages as well. Because of its proximity to Blue Mountain, and all the summer activities you’ll find there, you can expect to find these rentals going for a slightly higher grade than in other region of Ontario.

The extra money won’t go wasted, however, as downtown Collingwood is full of shops and the surrounding area is some of the most sought after nature in driving distance from Toronto. Here’s a handy website for exploring what all there is to do in Collingwood.

Check here for Collingwood specific rental properties both in the Village at Blue Mountain and outside the town along Georgian Bay.

Wasaga Cottage Rentals

Even if you’re new to discovering Ontario, it’s likely you’ve heard of its famous beach: Wasaga Beach. Located just an hour and a bit drive from Toronto, Wasaga is arguably the longest freshwater beach in the world, according to varying lists and tourism agencies.

During the summer, Wasaga is a VERY popular spot for beach goers and cottagers alike. With shops and stalls lining the boardwalk for as far as the eye can see, it’s easy to lose your friends here!

Wasaga is popular with younger crowds as a popular spot to enjoy a day or weekend in the sun after school ends in June. There is a TON do to and see in Wasaga from boating and other water sports to shopping, and enjoying a night out on the town. We cannot do it justice – so please read up on what to do in Wasaga!

If you’re looking for a cottage rental in Wasaga, rent early before the season starts through a website like Cottages in Canada.

Cottage Rentals Algonquin / Haliburton Highlands

Renting a cottage in the Haliburton Highlands that connect to Algonquin Park can be a great idea if you’re looking to include any camping into your vacation in Ontario. The surrounding areas include places like Minden, Dorset, and Bancroft just to the southeast.

These areas have prime wilderness for getting out there and enjoying Ontario’s beauty without the hustle and bustle of the busy lakes in the Muskokas. Located about 3 to 3.5 hours northeast of Toronto, these areas are certainly accessible by car.

Haliburton Cottage Rentals

Haliburton can be considered one of the main gateways to Algonquin. The town itself is small but packed with information for adventurous cottage seekers. As a supply town, you’ll have no problem grabbing groceries and gear before completing the drive to your rental cottage.

With Algonquin so close, and hiking and treetop trekking in places like Minden close by, there is no shortage of adventure in Haliburton. You can read more about this town that becomes a popular destination in the summer at their tourism website.

Here’s a website dedicated to finding a cottage in the Haliburton Highlands region.

Algonquin Park Cottage Rental

As one of the largest Provincial Parks in Ontario, it’s no wonder many cottage goers look to rent a place close to or in the park. Fun fact – you’ll find moose driving along Highway 60 (cuts through the park) since the moose are attracted to the salt laid down in the winter time! While the park is more for camping and RVing, there are cottages for rent along the highway and surrounding the park.

Algonquin is nice because it touches each of the key cottage areas in Ontario – like Muskoka, Kawartha, the Ottawa Valley, and North Bay.  If you’d like to learn more about the park, here’s the official website for Algonquin Provincial Park.

If you’re keen to rent a cottage very, very close to Park, here’s a resort that has about a dozen smaller cottages for rent near Algonquin Park.

Bruce Peninsula Cottage Rentals

The Bruce Peninsula is the Peninsula that formed to separate Georgian Bay from Lake Huron at the southern edge. Towns in the nearby area include Owen Sound, Tobermory, Lion’s Head, Wiarton, and Sauble Beach (in the section “Lake Huron” right below).

These towns make up Bruce County which is very popular with hikers, divers, beach goers, and adventure seekers in the summertime. To find out more about the Peninsula and the surrounding area, here’s the website for Bruce Peninsula Tourism.

Finding a cottage on or near Bruce Peninsula is a great summer idea. Here’s a website for just Bruce Peninsula Cottage Rentals.

Tobermory Cottage Rentals

rocky shoreline and blue lake water in tobermory
The beautiful shoreline at Tobermory, Ontario.

There is a lot to say about Tobermory. We can start with “it’s beautiful”! Right on the tip of the Bruce Peninsula, this small harbour town is known for quite a few things. First, there is Bruce Peninsula National Park which is known for the Bruce Trail hiking trail that connects to another famous geological feature of Ontario: the Niagara Escarpment.

Tobermory has been rated as having “the best fresh water SCUBA diving in the world”. This is because of the numerous shipwrecks that lie in the waters around the Peninsula connecting Georgian Bay to the very choppy Lake Huron.

If you’re looking for things to photograph, there is the Grotto, which is a beautiful wave-carved hole in the cliffs of Georgian Bay and the Flowerpot Island sea stacks, another grouping of formations formed to shape tall stacks towering out of the rock. We could go on longer, but we’ll let you read more about all that Tobermory has to offer that the tourism website.

You should book early if you’re looking to stay in Tobermory over the summer months. Click here to check out Tobermory cottage rentals!

Lake Huron Cottage Rentals

Lake Huron is the lake connected to Georgian Bay – and the one that most visitors don’t necessarily think of first. It’s beautiful! We could have included places like Bayfield or Grand Bend since they are on the shores of Lake Huron, but they are quite a bit further south. You’ll find them included in the section of Southwestern Ontario.

Towns at the base of the Bruce Peninsula are in this category. As such, you’ll find Sauble Beach under the next header! For now, here’s a helpful website to tell you about the Lake Huron Region.

Here’s a website if you’re looking specifically for Lake Huron cottage rentals.

Sauble Beach Cottage Rentals

Rated as Canada’s # 1 freshwater beach, there is a reason Sauble Beach is such a popular destination. The beach itself carries on for 14 kilometres, making it one of the longest freshwater beaches in the world (next to Wasaga Beach!) What makes Sauble unique is the sandbar deposits that keep the water close to the beach very shallow and quite warm.

Cars are actually able to drive right up and onto the beach in places to park – something not usually seen in Ontario. With a west facing view, the beach has some of the most sought after sunsets in Ontario.

Sauble Beach and the surrounding community have a ton of activities from water sports to actual sports like volleyball. There are many restaurants and shops to check out near the beach as well. To learn more about what makes Sauble Beach a great summer destination to rent a cottage, you can visit the official website for Sauble Beach tourism.

For a link to get started researching your Sauble Beach cottage rental, here is a website specific to the area.

Cottage Rentals Toronto Area

To rent a cottage in the Toronto area, you’d be looking north of the city. The lakes in Ontario don’t really begin until you drive about an hour and a half north of Toronto to Lake Simcoe.

Lake Simcoe Cottage Rentals

Lake Simcoe is sort of the first real significant body of water north of Toronto. You’ll find places like Bradford, Georgina, Keswick, at the south end with Barrie sitting to the west of the lake and Orillia at the north end. There are a variety of properties around the lake all with the pros and cons.

The pros are that you can usually find a cottage rental with waterfront access/view, and the cons would be the size of the towns they are closest to. This can impact you getting supplies for the weekend or the week.

Eric once rented a cottage in Keswick right on Lake Simcoe with a group of friends and it was great. The place was clean and spacious, with a large backyard and a private dock for swimming. To learn more about what Simcoe County has to offer, you can check out the website.

Renting a cottage on Simcoe is a great option for those looking to book closer to Toronto. Here’s a website for Lake Simcoe specific cottages.

Kawartha Cottage Rentals

lift lock with autumn trees and steaming lake water
The Peterborough Lift Lock connects the Trent-Severn Waterway in the Kawarthas.

Aside from the Muskokas, the other recognizable area in Ontario for cottage country is the Kawarthas. With a network of lakes and the famous Trent-Severn Waterway passing through, the Kawartha Lakes region is roughly defined by Peterborough to the south, Lindsay to the west, Algonquin Park in the north, and Ottawa to the east.

You might have heard (or even tried) an ice cream brand called “Kawartha Dairy” while you were visiting Ontario. If you have, you’ll now know where the name comes from! To learn more about the Kawartha Lake region, you can check out the official website of Kawartha.

To find a cottage in Kawartha and to eat delicious ice cream while you’re there, check out this Kawartha-specific cottage rental website.

Stoney Lake Cottage Rentals

One of the most famous and well-known lakes in the Kawarthas is Stoney Lake. While Stoney (also spelt Stony) is actually made up of three interconnected lakes, this body of water forms the eastern end of the Kawarthas. Such a large body of water is sure to attract boaters and cottagers year after year.

Connected to the Trent-Severn Waterway, the lake is known for boating and fishing to both permanent and temporary cottagers alike!

Since Stoney is located about two hours northeast from Toronto, it’s easy to see what such a beautiful lake has become so popular! It’s also famous since a property was featured in the movie Cheaper by the Dozen: 2! You can find that perfect Stoney Lake cottage rental through HomeAway.

Cottage Rentals Eastern Ontario

Eastern Ontario seems to have an underrated value when it comes to finding a cottage rental in Ontario. In fact, this regions is a huge part of Ontario (and Canada’s) history, given that the St. Lawrence connects to Lake Ontario along the shores here and served as a shipping and exploring route for centuries.

As such, there is lots of water, scenery, and history to enjoy if you’re in the eastern end of the province – from Kingston up to the Ottawa Valley and ending at the Quebec border. You can read more about this area on the official website for tourism Eastern Ontario.

Cottage Rentals in the Thousand Islands

The famed Thousand Islands can be accessed through Kingston or Gananoque. The distinctive island chain that flirts with the American Border along the St. Lawrence River boasts some of the best boating in the province.

The island layout is unique to the River making the rental properties more pricey but well worth the amount of shoreline available per property. You can learn more about this incredible area by visiting the official website for the Thousand Islands.

To find cottages for rent, you can visit this website that is specific to the Thousand Islands Area.

Cottage Rentals Near Ottawa

While there might not be too many cottages for rent in the city of Ottawa, renting close by is a great idea if you’re interested in checking out our nation’s capital. The Ottawa Valley and the surrounding area is more likely where you’d be looking to rent a cottage. This area sits as the transition area between the Canadian Shield (rock) and the Saint Lawrence Lowlands (grass).

As such, it’s a great area for outdoor activities like hiking, riding recreational vehicles, and more. With the Ottawa River close by, there is white water rafting on the river.

All in all, the Valley and nearby inland towns like Almonte are great areas to discover new sides of Ontario. They are only 3 hours from Toronto and a 1 hour drive from Ottawa. Ottawa and the surrounding area have a lot to offer. Learn more about the Ottawa Valley area here.

If you’re looking for cottages near Ottawa or the Ottawa Valley, visit this website for Ottawa-specific listing.

Northern Ontario Cottage Rentals

Ontario is huge. What many visiting renters might consider as “Northern Ontario” is very south for the residents of places like Thunder Bay, Dryden, Kenora, or even higher… Pickle Lake, Ontario.

Pickle Lake is as far as you can drive north on a provincial highway in Ontario. You can get there – if you drive for 24 hours straight. Go Google it – we dare you. Shout out to Pickle Lake and Mishkeegogamang First Nation – keep well up there!

Understanding the scale of Ontario is very important when renting a cottage so as to not commit to something you’re not able to drive to.

“Northern Ontario” to cottage renters is likely referring to places that might include Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie, Espanola, Temagami, Kirkland Lake, Kapuskasing, Elliot Lake, Spanish, Chapleau, and Wawa. These are all between 4 and 7 hours from Toronto.

Up around Lake Superior (and Lake Superior Provincial Park), you’ll find some of the best fishing and camping in Ontario. The more north you go, the better the fishing and the wilderness. The bugs will be worse, though!

To find cottage rentals in the southern part of “Northern Ontario” you can visit this website for Algoma Country.

North Bay Cottage Rentals

Known as the unofficial gateway to true Northern Ontario, North Bay can offer renters some of the best cottages the Ontario wilderness has to offer while still being within driving distance from Toronto. Mind you, that’s about a 3.5 hour drive from Toronto (without traffic), but still – it’s within driving distance if you’ve got the car and the gear!

As one of the largest lakes in Ontario, Lake Nipissing offers shoreline cottages with great fishing, great boating, and plenty of nature to take in. You can read more about what North Bay has to offer.

To find that perfect cottage in or around North Bay, here’s a helpful website for the North Bay area.

Cottage Rentals Southwestern Ontario

If you’re looking for an area that doesn’t get a ton of tourist attention compared to the corridor directly north of Toronto (Muskokas) then finding a rental cottage in Southwestern Ontario is for you! This area has a surprising amount of lake front availability due to the proximity to both Lake Huron and Lake Erie, depending on where in the area you are.

Within this region, there are cottage hot spots that are a great option for renting a cottage. Here’s a great website on Southwestern Ontario that helps you understand how big the area is and what there is to do and see.

Grand Bend Cottage Rental

orange sunset over lake and beach
Catching the sunset over Lake Huron.

One of the most sought after areas in Southwestern Ontario is Grand Bend. Understandably so. Grand Bend has some of the best and longest stretches of natural beaches in Ontario. The community is also located close to neighbouring towns that have a variety of cultural or arts-based events throughout the summer months.

The Grand Bend area includes a variety of Provincial Parks – a famous one being Pinery Provincial – and great restaurants and shopping in the downtown core. You can even go skydiving if you’re looking for adrenaline. To learn more about this area, you can read the tourism website for Grand Bend.

Cottage rentals specifically in the area can be found on this website catering to Grand Bend.

Bayfield Cottage Rentals

Bayfield, Ontario is a tiny town on the shores of Lake Huron. Known for autumn colours in the fall, and winter activities when it’s cold, the town balloons in size in the summer months because of its location on the lake.

There are kilometres of hiking trails, a huge network of streams for fishing, and golfing nearby for those interested in hitting the links over the sandy beaches. The website for tourism doubles as a helpful guide if you’re looking to rent a cottage in Bayfield.

Cottage Rentals Southeastern Ontario

For this post, we are defining Southeastern Ontario as the “Niagara Region” and not the southern part of Eastern Ontario, which would include Picton, Prince Edward County, Kingston, Ottawa, and basically until you hit Quebec. The Niagara region includes Niagara-on-the-Lake, St. Catherines, Twenty Valley, South Coast, and closer to Niagara Falls.

Obviously, visiting Niagara Falls is a must-do, but the region has so much to offer cottage goers like visiting wineries on tours, beaches, biking, and wine. Did we mention you’ll find wineries? Read more about the Niagara on the Lake wineries here.

Niagara Cottage Rentals

This area is great if you’re looking to enjoy the wine region of Niagara-on-the-Lake or you’re driving up from the United States as the border crossing is very close by. The water in Lake Erie is also a nice change from that of Lake Ontario as it’s generally warmer.

Since there are a few communities in the Niagara Region, each with their own character, you’ll have to do a bit of homework as to which area works best for you and your group.

Finding a cottage for rent in the Niagara region can be done at this website.

Cottage Rentals Prince Edward County

The other wine country of Ontario. Located only about 2 hours from Toronto and on the way to Kingston/Ottawa, Prince Edward County and the surrounding area like Picton hug the shores of Lake Ontario.

In the area, you’ll find a variety of Provincial Parks like Sandbanks, a personal favourite for campers and beach goers as there are rolling sand dunes as far as the eye can see.

As for wine, the area is rich with vineyards and wineries are popping up everywhere to offer renters a unique mix of culture and lakefront. You can read more about the region by checking out the official website for Prince Edward County.

For rentals in the “undiscovered” area of Prince Edward Country, you can check this website for amazing places.

Cottage Rental Agency – Who to Choose?

Spending a few thousand dollars for a weekend or a week rental can seem daunting. We understand that. Lots of cottage renters want to know that the websites they are using are secure and reputable from having good properties to processing payments fairly and easily. Here are some of the better websites that we could find that focus on Ontario cottage rentals.

Please note that this is not intended to be a list of all the cottage rental booking sites out there. We’ve personally used Airbnb and trust it for our travels.

We can’t speak to the reputability of these websites – so please do your homework on any properties booked through these links. Check the ratings thoroughly, check to see if the websites/agencies are T.I.C.O. accredited, and don’t be afraid to ask your questions to company contacts or cottage owners!

Canada Stays
This website sort of looks like Airbnb but caters to Canada properties only. We’ve preloaded the link to show Ontario when you arrive on the place.

Cottages in Canada
This website does a good job of listing the details about the properties. For example, you will know when you hover over the listing whether pets are allowed, if there is wifi, whether smoking is permitted, fireplace, etc.

Ontario Cottage Rentals
This site cuts right to the chase and provides a nice table format for finding the perfect rental. They list the price, wifi, pets, and the body of water the property is on, among many other details.

Cottages Canada
Another good all-around property booker. The listing for Ontario cover quite a few locations – both the ones that are popular and some of the smaller areas you might not think to check right away.

Yes, people list their rentals on Kijiji. It’s not a bad idea if you’re looking to search every platform or website available to find the perfect rental.

Cottage Portal
Choosing Cottage Portal will bring you to a map of Ontario and you can then decide on the area you’d like to look at for rentals.

We use Airbnb quite a bit and have never had an issue with hosts, payments, or the properties. Like with any other booking site – check the ratings and do your homework on the properties.

Cottage Rental
Cottage Rental is already catering towards renting a cottage in Ontario only so that’s a nice and easy website to find what you’re looking for.

HomeAway and VRBO
HomeAway is a larger search engine for properties and VRBO is a smaller version (but similar listings) as HomeAway. For your purpose of finding a place to rent, we’ve listed both so you can check. The websites look nice and searching is easy.

Holiday Homes
This is a website that shows the listings across multiple websites (like VRBO). You can use it to get a general sense of the properties for rent in an area.

Rent By Owner
This is another larger booking site that gives you an overview of sites like VRBO and Airbnb. Think of it as a “Trivago” for cottage rentals.

There you have it – a complete guide to booking a cottage in Ontario. We hope this has been a helpful starting point for finding and booking the perfect getaway for you and your group. Do you have experiences renting that you’d like to share? Did we cover your favourite area to rent or did we miss it completely?

Have you had experiences with a certain website that was good – or not so good? Please comment below – we’d love to hear your stories, thoughts, and any tips you might have! If you have any additional questions, here is the Government of Ontario Website for the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Sport and the Official Site for Ontario Travel.

As always, Happy Waddlin’,
– L&E

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Renting a Cottage in Ontario, Canada - Everything you need to know


Eric is a Canadian & Hungarian content writer with over 45 countries under his belt. From volunteering in Australia to studying his Master's degree abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland, his travel experiences have taken him across the globe. Next to writing on Penguin and Pia, he has also contributed to companies in the travel space such as Matador, GoOverseas, and Spot.

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