Cottage life has often been described as a world on its own; often in a pristine setting; you can bask in the sun, cool off in clear water, exercise with a hike, fish for your dinner and simply take in the picturesque setting.

There are so many amazing cottage communities covering the landscape around the city of Toronto. It is no wonder Hollywood celebrities choose Toronto area cottages as a vacation destination.

Cottage Areas Near Toronto

The cottage industry in and around Toronto is considered quit large. Areas like Muskoka and the Kawarthas employ thousands of people simply to serve cottage dwellers.

When Ontario residents think of cottages in Toronto the following communities pop into their minds: Haliburton, Collingwood, Georgian Bay, Muskoka, Hunstville, Bracebridge, North Bay, Thunder Bay and Kawartha Lakes.

Although these are well known cottage destinations, they are by no means the only options. There are smaller cottage communities close to the city of Toronto, such as Keswick, Minden and Moostone.

Depending on what type of cottage experience you are looking for, the trip by car from downtown Toronto can be anywhere from 45 minutes to over one hour. The closest cottages or cabins; as they are often called are in the Central, South-Central, South-Western, and Niagara regions.

Finding a Cottage Near Toronto

Whether you are planning to buy or rent a cottage in or around Toronto, real estate agents suggest the best way to start is by doing a little research on the community first.

Find out what the area has to offer in terms of amenities, entertainment, seasonal events, clubs etc. Agents say it is important to find a place that fits with your personality and interests.

You can start your research by simply visiting town websites and by talking to real estate experts.  Once you have a good idea of where you’d like to go, you can try visiting a number of online cottage directories.

www.Ontariocottage.com and www.cottagerental.com are two sites that have a lot of information on available cottages. Keep in mind that in certain areas around the city of Toronto, cottages are referred to as chalets.

For example, whether you are into skiing in the winter or mountain biking and golfing in the summer, Collingwood located just a short distance north of Toronto, offers a number of chalets with some truly spectacular views. Further north in places like Thunder Bay and North Bay, the locals refer to the cottages as cabins.

Renting a Cottage Near Toronto

In some cases the cottage owner will arrange the renting of the cabin and in other cases it will be through a real estate agent.

One of the most detailed websites you will find is www.vrbo.com. This stands for Vacation Rental by Owners. The site has a long list of cottage areas and opportunities for renting.

If you are looking for something small and rustic it could cost you a few hundred dollars a week to rent a cottage; if you are looking for a standard rental you are looking at $700 to $900 per week, and if you have your mind set on a luxury cottage expect to pay anywhere from $1200 to just over $2000 per week.

Because there is so much to choose from, it isn’t difficult to find a cottage near Toronto that fits your needs and your budget.

Buying a Cottage Near Toronto

If you are looking to purchase a cottage property in the Toronto area you should contact a real estate agent in the city. Alternatively, you can visit the region you are most interested in and speak with local realtors. They not only sell a lot of cottages, but they know the area well; the people who reside in the cottage community, and can point you in the direction of the best deals.

Many cottage regions have a board or association that oversees the real estate sector and can be helpful in your search. For example, The Muskoka and Haliburton Association of Realtors cover 7 major geographical areas with cottages for sale.

If you are touring a specific area, consider this……some real estate offices will post photos and detailed descriptions on a wall outside their offices so that passersbys can take a look at what properties are up for sale. Prices are normally included in the description.

When it comes to price you can expect the average cottage to start in the $300,000 dollar range and climb from there. Toronto is known for its easy access to some luxurious cottages that are priced in the millions as well.

What’s included?

Whether you are renting or buying, agents advise that you never assume anything when you begin your search. Some people think that every cottage includes beach access, but that is not always the case. You also have to consider that in certain cottage neighborhoods you will have a shared driveway or shared beach access.

When you are renting don’t forget to ask about what comes with the cottage. For instance, does it include a boat or other water accessories? Is the kitchen fully equipped? Does the cottage come with a barbecue or do you have to bring your own? If you want to be a cottage dweller even for a short period of time, planning ahead can save you a lot time and provide you with an enjoyable experience.

Due to the abundance of both natural beauty and outdoor activity Toronto cottage areas are often referred to as “Cottage Country.” It is a name that Torontonians and local cottage owners are proud of.  Visiting or staying in Toronto’s Cottage Country is an experience you will never forget.