Have you ever removed yourself from your comfort zone?  Have you ever tried something completely different and made some amazing memories that lasted for years?  Well here are some totally zany ideas to explore with the family this year before you book your cottage rental, and before you even pack one item:

1.  Throw a dime for your time!  Depending upon your budget and length of time for your cottage rental stay, pull out a map of the province (any one in Canada will do).  Take a dime out of your money jar or purse and toss on the map.  Where it lands is where you book! Don’t follow the crowds, follow fate.

2.  Book a cottage rental with another family and share everything that costs.  Is a hard to afford the higher rates, yet you still want to have that gorgeous luxury cottage rental?  Talk to another family or couple, sit down with them and make a list of what is an expense, and share them.  50% costs of a more upscale cottage rental may prove to be in your budget.

3.  Wax ON!  Wax OFF!  Remember “The Karate Kid” movie when the student offered his services for landscaping in exchange for learning the art of Karate from his teacher?  If you have very little in your purse but still want to enjoy the outdoors, don’t be afraid to “swap” services for a short stay.  I’ve hosted it in my own cottage and have had some great work done.  Chances are it will be tougher to find the right place, but it’s still an option.  Start early.

4.  Try a local ferry cruise.  Some of the lakes in the province of Ontario i.e. Island Queen, Parry Sound or “Millionaire’s Run”, Brace bridge have some amazing features that provide a very educational and enjoyable experience for the entire family.  They are romantic and usually provide for food and beverages, some of them even offer a dinner package with alcohol beverage all for one price.  You do not always have to rent a cottage to enjoy them, but it’s a nice little added on tour to your cottage rental vacation.

5.  Camp for the kids, peace and quiet for YOU two!  Many cottage rental destination are within driving distance to some great kids summer camp programs like the YMCA, Muskoka Woods, Camp Brebeuf, Camp for the Blind, Tim Hortons Camp….the list is long.  IF you and your spouse can swing it in the budget, you could book the kids at a day camp during the week while you and the spouse enjoy some well needed R&R.

6.  Host a “Corn Roast” with the neighbours.  You may want to look into this in advance with through your owner or booking agent.  Introduce yourselves through the internet in advance of your arrival (you may need some aid through the locals) and host a pot luck upon your arrival and invite some of the locals and everybody brings something to the menu.  It’s a great way to make new friends and break the ice, especially if you’re new and really don’t know much about the area.

7.  SING.  Have you ever song campfire songs with the kids around the campfire?  It’s so much fun.  Research some traditional Canadian campfire songs and bring along copies of the lyrics.  What a great way to spend quality time with the kids and enjoy cottage life.

TRY SOMETHING NEW!  Cottage renting can be a very unique experience if you pull you and the family out of the comfort zone and do something you’ve never done before…here are some really creative suggestions.

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