The Ultimate Cottage Packing List
Cottage country in Ontario has a serene and peaceful atmosphere, and is a great place to kick back, unplug, and escape the grind of the city. With cool, clear lakes, lush green forests, charming towns, and a plethora of activities and attractions available, the region is a wonderful place to visit for everyone. Having everything you want and need ensures a vacation without interruption or issues, so packing well is a priority. To make sure you didn’t forget anything, and give you some tips on things you wouldn’t have thought to bring, we at Cottage Vacations have compiled an extensive cottage packing list, to ensure you have the best and most relaxing cottage vacation possible.
The goal for packing clothes is to have the perfect balance between comfort and practicality, without sacrificing any luxuries, but also without overpacking. The first step in packing for any trip is to check the weather from a reliable source. Northern Ontario can have unpredictable weather, and your clothing is a way to control your temperature and stay comfortable throughout a day that fluctuates in temperature. Secondly, think of any specialized gear you may need for activities you intend to partake in, such as hiking, fishing, or boating. Will you get wet and need rain boots? Will you get sweaty and appreciate having a moisture wicking fabric like merino wool? When purchasing clothes, it is worthwhile to consider garments with multiple functions, such as pants that convert to shorts, and specialized fabrics with different benefits, like Gore-tex for water resistance and breathability. Here is a packing list for cottage clothes:
- Long-sleeved shirts
- Sweaters or hoodies
- Pants and shorts
- Underwear and socks
- Rain jacket or poncho
- Rain boots
- Hat or cap for sun protection
- Hiking boots or sturdy shoes
- Flip-flops or sandals
- Warm jacket or coat (if visiting during colder months)
- Gloves, scarf, and hat (if visiting during colder months)
If you find yourself at your cottage and you’re missing some clothing, there are several local stores you can visit to bridge the gap.
Outdoor Specialized Clothing
- Algonquin Outfitters is an outdoor clothing, camping, and gear store with everything you need to be weather-ready. There are several locations throughout the Muskoka region, including Huntsville, Bracebridge, and Oxtongue Lake.
- Muskoka Bear Wear in Gravenhurst, Port Carling, Huntsville, Bracebridge and Bala has clothing such as hoodies, sweaters, and accessories.
- The North Face in Huntsville is a popular brand with high-quality outdoor apparel.
- Liv Outside in Bracebridge has outdoor clothing and gear for activities like hiking, camping, and paddling.
- Lululemon in Port Carling for athletic every day wear items
- Reynolds Boatworks in Port Carling has nautical-themed clothing for boating enthusiasts.
- SportChek in Huntsville is a sporting goods store with a variety of athletic clothing and footwear.
- Tommy Bahama in Port Carling has casual and comfortable clothing with a tropical vibe.
- Muskoka Reflections in Huntsville has trendy and casual clothing for men, women and children.
- The Muskoka Store in Gravenhurst has Muskoka-inspired clothing, including t-shirts, hats, and accessories, great for wearable gifts and souvenirs.
- Daughters of Indie in Bracebridge has a some of Muskoka’s largest selection of vintage clothing and accessories
Outdoor and Recreational Gear
A big part of a vacation to Ontario’s cottage country is enjoying the outdoors, whether it be in the forest, on the lake, at the beach, strolling through town, or even just relaxing in your yard or on your front porch. Here’s a comprehensive packing list to be prepared for a wide range of activities, where you can be sure you’ve packed what you need for the things you intend to do.
- Insect repellent
- Beach umbrella
- Folding chairs or camping chairs
- Picnic blanket
- Fishing gear and licenses (if applicable)
- Backpack or daypack
- Hiking boots or sturdy shoes
- Life jackets
- Outdoor games (frisbee, volleyball, etc.)
- Specialty items for specific activities
If you forgot any gear, or need a new piece, here is a list of stores that sell outdoor equipment and clothing for camping, hiking, paddling, fishing, hunting, and water sports
- Algonquin Outfitters in Huntsville, Bracebridge, and Oxtongue Lake for camping, hiking, and paddling.
- Liv Outside in Bracebridge for hiking, cycling, and paddling.
- MEC in Barrie (near the Muskoka region) sells camping equipment, clothing, and footwear.
- SportChek in Huntsville is a sporting goods store that sells outdoor and recreational gear, including equipment for hiking, fishing, and water sports.
Beach Cottage Packing List
While there are an abundance of beautiful beaches to enjoy in cottage country Ontario, packing for a fun, sunny day at the beach can be a bit daunting, especially if it’s for a large group or family. This beach cottage packing list should make that task much easier.
- Beach towels
- Sun hat or cap
- Beach umbrella or sunshade
- Beach chairs or portable seating
- Cooler or insulated bag for drinks and snacks
- Beach bag or tote to carry essentials
- Beach toys (e.g., buckets, shovels, beach balls)
- Beach blanket or mat
Swimwear and Clothing
- Cover-ups or beach dresses
- Light and breathable clothing for hot weather
- Extra clothes for changing after swimming
- Flip flops or sandals
- Water shoes (if needed for rocky beaches)
- Snorkeling gear (mask, snorkel, fins)
- Inflatable water toys (e.g., floats, tubes)
- Water sports equipment (e.g., kayaks, paddleboards)
- Life jackets or floatation devices (if required)
Food and Drinks
- Bottled water or reusable water bottles
- Snacks (e.g., fruits, granola bars)
- Picnic lunch or sandwiches
- Plates, cups, and utensils
- Cooler with ice for keeping food and drinks cool
- Foldable table
Safety and Health
- First aid kit
- Medications (if needed)
- Insect repellent
- Beach-friendly baby or toddler supplies (if applicable)
- Ziplock bags for storing wet items or collecting shells
- Beach read or magazines
- Portable Bluetooth speaker
- Waterproof phone case or pouch
- Camera or GoPro for capturing memories
- Beach games (e.g., frisbee, paddleball)
For any last minute beach supplies, one of these retailers will have your covered:
- Walmart in Bracebridge and Huntsville for beach towels, sunscreen, beach toys, coolers, and more.
- Canadian Tire in Bracebridge for beach chairs, umbrellas, water toys, and outdoor games.
- HomeSense in Bracebridge for beach towels, picnic accessories, beach bags, and other beach-related items.
- Dollarama in Huntsville and Bracebridge has beach toys, inflatables, water bottles, and snacks.
- Algonquin Outfitters in Huntsville, Bracebridge, and Oxtongue Lake sells outdoor gear and equipment, some of which is useful for a beach day, like beach chairs, coolers, and water sports gear.
Bedding and Linens
Although most cottages provide everything you need to be clean and comfortable, it’s good to double check, and bring anything that might be missing.
- Sheets and pillowcases
- Blankets or comforters
- Bath towels and beach towels
- Kitchen towels
- Extra blankets (if needed)
If you find yourself without the necessities, here are some nearby retailers where you can get what you need:
- HomeSense in Orillia offers a wide selection of home goods, including linens and towels.
- Canadian Tire in Bracebridge and Huntsville is a general retailer where you can find household items, including linens and towels.
- Walmart in Bracebridge likely has everything you need at affordable prices.
- Real Canadian Superstore in Huntsville has a home section that offers linens and towels along with other household items.
While the cottage you rent will likely provide some basic amenities like soap and shampoo, it’s never a bad idea to come prepared just in case, especially if you have travel sized containers that don’t’ too much room, or if you have a particular brand or type of product that you prefer.
- Toiletry bag
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Soap and shampoo
- Body lotion
- Razor and shaving cream
- Hairbrush or comb
- Hairdryer (if not provided)
- Feminine hygiene products
- Medications and prescription drugs
- First aid kit (including band-aids, antiseptic ointment, etc.)
If you need any toiletries on your trip, here are some stores to choose from:
Kitchen and Dining
Just like the basic toiletries, the cottage is very likely to have everything you need to cook most meals. A few specialty items, like a coffee maker and drinks cooler, are worth bringing, as the coffee maker doesn’t take up too much space, and the cooler can be filled with things you are bringing anyways, so no room in the car is wasted. To be thorough, here’s a list of basic kitchen supplies that you can double check are provided, and bring whatever is missing:
- Cookware (pots, pans, baking sheets)
- Utensils (knives, forks, spoons)
- Plates, bowls, and glasses
- Coffee maker or kettle
- Dish soap and sponge
- Food storage containers
- Can opener
- Wine opener
- Cooking oil, spices, and condiments
- Cooler or ice chest
- Napkins or paper towels
- Trash bags
- Cleaning supplies (dish soap, sponges, dish towels)
- HomeSense in Orillia
- Canadian Tire in Bracebridge and Huntsville
- Walmart in Bracebridge and Huntsville
Entertainment and Electronics
Hopefully much of your vacation will be spent enjoying the unique offerings of the region. However, no matter where you are, having some relaxing downtime to recharge for the next adventure is important self care. Here is a list of things to bring to help you relax on your own, or spend some peaceful time with friends or family:
- Books or e-books
- Magazines or newspapers
- Board games or card games
- Portable speakers
- Camera and memory cards
- Chargers for electronic devices
- Power bank or portable charger
- Laptop or tablet
If you need any extra supplies or materials, like a really important electronic cable that you forgot, here is a list of stores in the region that will have what you need:
- Best Buy in Barrie (near the Muskoka region) is an electronic store with TVs, audio equipment, gaming consoles, and accessories.
- The Source in Bracebridge and Huntsville is an electronics store with TVs, smartphones, laptops, and other gadgets.
- Walmart in Bracebridge and Huntsville has an electronics department with TVs, audio equipment, gaming consoles, and more.
- Staples in Huntsville has office supplies and a range of electronics such as printers, computer accessories, and audio equipment.
- Toys”R”Us in Barrie (near the Muskoka region) is a toy store for children and families with all types of toys, board games, and outdoor play equipment.
- Mastermind Toys in Barrie (near the Muskoka region) is a toy store with board games, puzzles, and creative activities.
Being well prepared for a vacation means you can enjoy it without any hiccups and trips to the store when you’d rather be relaxing and adventuring. We hope this comprehensive packing guide has got you confident in your preparation and excited for your trip. While we did our best to include everything we could think of, there may be something you in particular would appreciate bringing with you. If you have any suggestions to add, or have any questions about a cottage vacation, please send us an email or give us a call.