Canada's Best Cottage Region: Lake of the Woods

Haliburton Highlands, Bras d'Or Lake, The Kawarthas and Muskoka in top five

One of Canada's most popular summer pastimes is planning a trip to a lakeside cottage for a bit of R&R. While the province of Ontario is most closely associated with cottage country, stunning cottage regions have sprouted from coast to coast, offering a blend of relaxation and outdoor recreation. We asked a panel of Canadian travel writers to nominate their favorite cottage regions in Canada, and then we turned it over to our readers to pick a winner.

  • Sunshine Coast
    British Columbia

    The Sunshine Coast of British Columbia is an outdoor lover's paradise, stretching along 112 miles of coastline with many quaint, coastal communities along the way. Mossy rainforest and beautiful beaches meet in this artists' haven, laden with oceanfront cottages & seaside charm.
    Photo courtesy of Sunshine Coast Tourism / Regan Hately

  • Shediac
    New Brunswick

    Shediac, known as the Lobster Capital of the World, sits on New Brunswick's beautiful eastern seashore. A cottage vacation here means basking in the sun on stunning saltwater beaches, golfing, hiking, boating or windsurfing. The water temperatures here are the warmest north of the Carolinas.
    Photo courtesy of Canadian Tourism Commission

  • Cavendish
    Prince Edward Island

    A favorite summertime destination on Prince Edward Island, Cavendish offers stunning white sand beaches, rolling green hills, charming coastal communities and loads of family-centric attractions. Lovers of literature can pay a visit to Green Gables to dive into the world of L.M. Montgomery`s beloved red-headed heroine. 
    Photo courtesy of Tourism Cavendish Beach

  • Georgian Bay
    Ontario

    Georgian Bay on Ontario's Lake Huron is nicknamed "the sixth Great Lake" thanks to its immense size with over 1,200 miles of shoreline. The towns dotting the bay, including Midland and Penetanguishene, attract summer cottage stayers looking for easy access to the water and Georgian Bay Islands National Park.
    Photo courtesy of Ben Jaworskyj

  • Shuswap
    British Columbia

    Centered on Shuswap Lake, the Shuswap region of British Columbia attracts cottagers to its warm waters and abundant outdoor activities. The area also has an exciting calendar of events, including the Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival in August and the annual sockeye salmon run during September and October.
    Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

  • Muskoka
    Ontario

    Thousands of freshwater lakes dating back to the last Ice Age dot the rustic Muskoka region of Ontario – an area that's been attracting summer vacationers since the mid 19th century. Today, the region is home to some of Canada's most extravagant cottages, particularly along Millionaire's Row on Lake Muskoka.
    Photo courtesy of Sherwood Inn

  • The Kawarthas
    Ontario

    The wooded Kawarthas region is a popular weekend getaway from Toronto. This cottage region in Ontario offers a mix of natural and cultural attractions, including the outdoor 4th Line Theatre, free Peterborough Musicfest, Warsaw Caves Conservation Area, Canadian Canoe Museum and Petroglyphs Provincial Park.
    Photo courtesy of Peterborough & the Kawarthas

  • Bras d'Or Lake
    Nova Scotia

    The shores of Bras d’Or Lake set the scene for one of Nova Scotia's best cottage regions. This island sea – the only one in Canada – in the heart of Cape Breton Island is a popular base for exploring the surrounding UNESCO biosphere reserve or the famous Cabot Trail.
    Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

  • Haliburton Highlands
    Ontario

    Known for its pristine forests, Ontario's Haliburton Highlands are home to more than 600 lakes and hundreds of miles of scenic trails for hikers, bikers and (in the winter) skiers. While outdoor adventure shines, the area also features a thriving arts and cultural scene, complete with festivals, live performances and crafting classes.
    Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

  • Lake of the Woods
    Ontario

    Cottaging on Lake of the Woods means ample opportunity for recreational activity, including fishing, boating and wildlife watching. The 1,700-square-mile lake includes some 14,500 islands and a grand total of 65,000 miles of shoreline – more than Lake Superior.
    Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

The top 10 winners in the category Best Cottage Region in Canada are as follows:

  1. Lake of the Woods - Ontario
  2. Haliburton Highlands - Ontario
  3. Bras d’Or Lake - Nova Scotia
  4. The Kawarthas - Ontario
  5. Muskoka - Ontario
  6. Shuswap - British Columbia
  7. Georgian Bay - Ontario
  8. Cavendish - Prince Edward Island
  9. Shediac - New Brunswick
  10. Sunshine Coast - British Columbia

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Gregory B. Gallagher (Michelin Green Guide Canada 2017), Janet Gyenes, Maureen Littlejohn, Jody Robbins (25 Places in Canada Every Family Should Visit), Jenn Smith Nelson (travelandhappiness.com) and Nadine Sykora (Hey Nadine) were chosen based on their knowledge and experience of travel in Canada.

Congratulations to all these winning cottage regions!

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Gregory B. Gallagher

Gregory B. Gallagher

Janet Gyenes

Janet Gyenes

Maureen Littlejohn

Maureen Littlejohn

Jody Robbins

Jenn Smith Nelson

Jenn Smith Nelson

Nadine Sykora

Nadine Sykora