Cottage vacations define Canadian holidays. Whether you want to enjoy the serenity of the lake in the summer or walk the snowy trails in the winter, a trip to the cabin will put it all at your fingertips — except when the heavy weather rolls in!

High winds, rain, or snow can make hiking and picnicking a lost cause, and leave you wondering if there are any other things to do at a cabin when you’re stuck inside. Don’t despair — these are the best times to grab some games and gather around the table together. We’ve put together a list of games that the whole family can enjoy, including children as young as six so you can pull out the ideal game for any situation and group.

(Fun board games are an important number 5 on our 10 things to take to the cottage — check out the whole list and make sure you’re prepared!)

The right cottage game transforms any evening into a roaring good time — and our picks are so fun, you might want to get gaming even when the weather is perfect!

Classic cottage board games

Looking for fun things to do at a cottage at night? Try out these board games!

Some of the best vacation board games have become staples. There’s a reason they’ve been around for decades — they’re fun!

You probably have at least one the biggest classics stashed away in the closet, so if you’re looking for some cottage game activities you can pack without having to plan ahead, these games are for you.

Puzzle Game Fun: Operation

If you want some fun family board games that are easy to learn, try out classic puzzle games with simple solutions! We recommend Operation, where players take on the role of “doctor” removing parts – such as a funny bone – from the “patient” with a pair of tweezers, without touching the edges.

While the small parts mean Operation isn’t ideal for younger children, the game encourages older kids to improve their dexterity skills while also being fun and challenging.  

Classic Board Game: The Game of Life

Not in the mood for puzzle games? Get a little more traditional and bring out the classic favourite, Life! Players travel around the board and advance based on key life events, like graduating university or getting married. While Life is a fun cottage game for adults, it is especially fun with little ones who have yet to pay a mortgage in the real world.

Active Playtime: Twister

Need to wear them out after a day being cooped up inside? Twister is an interactive, and active, game that’s played on the floor. The whole family will be a tangled mass of reaching arms and stretching legs as colours are called! With entertainment for anyone — keep the game mat out after the kids go to bed and try out drunk Twister — this is a game that should be at the top of your “fun things to bring to the cabin” bucket.

The Original: Monopoly

Finally, we can’t forget Monopoly, the classic board game! With potentially endless playing time, the game is perfect for evenings when the power is out. Light some lanterns and get ready to pass ‘Go’.

New Thrills

Rainy day cottage games for adults

Looking for some new games to play at the cottage? Board games have been going through their very own renaissance, so there are a number of intriguing newcomers and indie games to make anyone happy.

Strategy and Skill: Settlers of Catan

Settlers of Catan is a cult hit that’s gone mainstream — and once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll understand why! Players build settlements and use strategic thinking to win in game sessions that can last hours. The various Catan editions and expansions make the game a go-to choice for rainy days at the cottage.  The strategic component is exciting for adults, but the complexity means Catan may not be a great choice for younger kids.

Park Management with a Twist: Dinosaur Island

With its rad 1980s aesthetics and fun dino-theme, it is a quirky indie game that will delight. Dinosaur Island is a fun game whether you’re at the cottage with kids or looking for some fun with fellow adults. Players collect all they need to build their own dinosaur park while also ensuring their guests are safe from hungry lizards. The game also gives the option to play solo — great when you need to take a break from the family fun.

Cooperative Cures: Pandemic

Love zombie movies? Bring that enthusiasm to the cottage with Pandemic. Players race against the game to save humanity from various kinds of outbreaks and epidemics. Suitable for an older audience, it is a great cottage game to keep teenagers entertained.

Deceptively Simple Strategy: Photosynthesis

Finally, we want to recommend something a little different: 

Photosynthesis, a strategy game about growing trees. It comes with a beautifully crafted board game and a deceptively simple set of rules. We love it because it is challenging enough to keep even veteran strategy game players invested. Photosynthesis isn’t just one of the best games for a vacation rental — it’s an experience you won’t forget.

This game is more suited for adults than children, so why not mix strategy with some favourite cottage cocktails? Check out our guide here!

Whether you’re hiding from the weather or winding down after a long day outdoors, cottage games are always a good idea!

Now that you’ve got your board game roster figured out, CanadaStays can help you find the perfect vacation rental. Choose from some of the best cottages rentals in Haliburton,  try renting a cabin in Banff, or embrace the winter at a chalet in Blue Mountain.

CanadaStays will provide the venue, as long as you bring the fun!

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