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On hot summer weekends, some Canadians cruise to the cottage, while others drive to the cabin. All Canadians crave a peaceful summer escape to quaint dwellings on pristine shores surrounded by fresh air and wilderness. This year, steer clear of cottage country traffic and well-worn tourist spots by trying something different.
Ontario's west coast
Weekend roads leading to Muskoka, a cottage mecca, seem more like parking lots than highways. Avoid the traffic and swells of tourists by heading west to Lake Huron.
Idyllic small towns dot the eastern edge of the lake, offering everything from fresh country cuisine and antiquing to fishing and kayaking. The quaint streets of Southampton and Port Elgin, near the mouth of the Saugeen River, are lined with cottage rentals, ranging from rustic retreats to posh properties.
Nova Scotia's Cape Breton
As they say in Cape Breton, Ciad Mile Fàilte; that's Gaelic for "one hundred thousand welcomes." This island of more than 10,000 square kilometres occupies some of eastern Canada's most rugged and majestic coastline.
Adventurous types can stay in cliff-top cottages along the windswept western coast. Towns such as Chéticamp, Inverness and Port Hood are ideal starting points for whale watching, sailing and scuba diving. Further inland, the Bras d'Or Lakes region provides winding vistas and rocky shores along a large saltwater lake – the ideal setting for seaside cottages.
Page 1 of 2 – Discover some of the best golf courses in Canada and check out some camping dos and don'ts on page 2.
Affordable Canadian golf holidays
Experience world-class golf at Canadian courses and resorts that offer some of the most challenging and picturesque layouts.
Cordova Bay Golf Course, Victoria, B.C.
The view is almost as good as the golf at this 18-hole daily fee public course in Victoria. Between swings visit sights such as Haro Strait and Mount Baker.
Dakota Dunes Golf Links, Sask.
Designed by golf architects Graham Cooke and Wayne Carleton, Saskatchewan's Dakota Dunes offers natural sand-dune formations, undulating fairways and large greens to suit every level of play.
South Muskoka Curling and Golf Club, Ont.
Ontario's cottage country features some of the province's finest courses. For the best value in the area, visit Bracebridge's course to practice precision shots.
Digby Pines Golf Resort and Spa, Halifaxâ€¨, N.S.
Nestled along the Bay of Fundy west of Halifax, Digby Pines has been welcoming guests since 1929. The Stanley Thompson-designed course is one of the most challenging in Canada – and with its winding brooks and pine tree-lined fairways, the view isn't bad either.
Camping in Canada 101
Every summer, Canadians neatly pack their tents, roll up their sleeping bags and spritz on bug repellent to vacation under the sun and stars. Make the most of your camping trip by following some simple dos and don'ts.
DO pack the right sleeping bag. Down-filled choices are the warmest but can lose insulating power when wet. Synthetic-filled bags are cheaper and insulate well even when damp.
DO pitch a perfect tent by choosing a level, shaded site with good drainage in case of wet weather. Ideally, try to use titanium stakes in hard dirt, and iron or aluminum stakes in sandier soil.
DO remember to crate your pet at night to protect it from the local wildlife and harmful vegetation such as poison ivy and nettles.
DO pick up a copy of CAA/AAA's CampBooks® for Eastern and Western Canada for complete campground listings, camping tips and local attractions.
DON'T forget to bring a high-intensity LED flashlight. LED bulbs are less likely to burn out, more shock-resistant than regular bulbs, and their batteries last much longer.
DON'T rely on candles as an emergency light source. Pack nontoxic, nonflammable glow sticks instead. Kids will love them, too!
DON'T bury food or garbage – the scent attracts unwanted wildlife. Take trash with you and store leftover foodstuffs in wildlife-resistant containers. Wash all cooking implements immediately after each use.
For more camping tips, expert advice and guides to some of the best campgrounds in Canada, visit our guide to the great Canadian outdoors.