“Must… have…. lake…” is not an uncommon phrase to have running through your mind when booking a cottage in the summertime. Finding a lake-side cottage is only the start, though; once you’ve arrived at your idyllic cottage getaway and can see sparkling waters beaming back at you from just a short distance away, the real fun begins. Fit in a few — or all — of these 10 water activities at the lake and your vacation will be relaxing and rejuvenating alike.

1. Canoeing and Kayaking
Whether kayaking solo or canoeing in pairs, paddling around the lake can be as energetic or meditative as you desire. As long as you’ve got the general gist of straightforward strokes and what to do in the event of capsizing (knowing a few fancy maneuvers doesn’t hurt, either), then there’s nothing to prevent you having a wonderful day paddling around.

2. Waterskiing
It’s best to start out waterskiing under the guidance of a trained instructor so that you can learn proper technique, form, and how to avoid dangerous situations, but once you’ve got the basics down pat, you’re all set! Well, once you’ve got a boat, tow-rope, driver, spotter, skis… the point is, the exhilaration of waterskiing is well worth all the effort and gear.

3. Swimming
Swim! Whether you’re the type to paddle in the shallows or swim the length of the lake (and back again), a cottage holiday offers the chance to squeeze in as much water time as you can before winter hits once more. Sure, in the city in winter it’s possible for wishful mermaids to rug up and take public transit to an indoor chlorinated swimming pool… but doesn’t thinking about that just make you want to spend even more time at the lake now?

4. Fishing
For many, a cottage getaway is synonymous with getting back to basics and living a more self-sufficient life. To this end, spending a day fishing at the lake is a perfect way to provide food for upcoming meals. Not only will you feel proud of yourself for catching dinner, but walleye will never taste as good in the city as it does freshly cooked over a campfire.

5. Watch the Sunrise
Wake up early and, with a blanket over your knees and a cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate in hand, snuggle down by the water’s edge to watch the fog burn off the lake and the water turn a myriad colours as the sun rises up over the horizon. Now that’s something you don’t get to do every day in the city.

6. Ice Fishing
Think you can’t fish if you cottage in winter? Think again! Ice fishing involves catching fish with a line, hooks or spears through small openings in the ice (generally made with an augur), and we must say it’s a pretty impressive feat. Rainbow trout, herring, and white fish are all possible finds beneath the thick lake ice, but as long as you’ve got a stool to sit on and a couple of cottaging friends to chat with, it almost doesn’t matter if you catch anything. It’s the thrill of the chase, right?

7. Rent a Boat
Rent a boat, pack a picnic, and invite some neighbouring cottage friends over for a lovely lazy day out on the water. Oh, summer! This is what blissful cottage memories are made of.

8. Lake Skating
In the winter months, don’t let the lure of a warm fireplace tempt you into staying indoors all day. Rug up and get out there onto the frozen lake with your skates — you won’t regret it. There is such joy to be found in frosty fresh air, snow-dappled trees around the lake, and a smooth expanse of white to glide around on.

9. Wakeboarding and Kneeboarding
Akin to waterskiing, wakeboarding and kneeboarding are fantastic water sports for the adventurous among us. For wakeboarding, starting low and standing up slowly as the boat picks up speed is essential to staying balanced, while kneeboarding keeps your centre of gravity low to the water and is therefore a great option for anyone a little nervous about standing up on the water. But remember, it doesn’t matter if you fall. Just get right back on that [water] horse and try again.

10. Read a Book While the Kids Splash Around
There are times in everyone’s life when getting wet and then getting dry again afterwards seems like a bit too much hassle. You’re on holiday! There’s no shame in pulling a lake chair down to the edge of the water and enjoying a good book to the dulcet sounds of water lapping and kids splashing. Go on, relax. It’s much easier to drink sangria from the water’s edge, anyway, too…


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