It is a truly Canadian tradition – that of heading to the cottage every year to soak up our two months of summer. Let’s face it, this is a unique Canadian thing. There may be cottages in other lands, but we have perfected this idea of escape. I have been doing this every summer from the time I was a toddler and it is at the very least a habit for us. We meet extended family once a year and crowd into a tiny cottage, barbecuing food, and roasting ourselves on the beach. My children are now accustomed to this every August. As we head there again this weekend, I have a few thoughts to share on saving money at the beach. People always ask us do you rent or own? We rent each year. I have always found word of mouth is the best way to find a clean and affordable spot. My mother, a retired teacher, has been able to find us a very affordable spot each year. We have never paid more than $500 a week.
There have, over the last few years, cropped up a number of web sites that also offer cottage rentals. Some I have spent hours searching for a decent rate. Many begin at $1200 per week per family. http://www.ontarioswestcoast.ca/ gives a run down on Huron Shores cottages
and http://www.rentcottage.com/ has been in business since 1995. This site was formerly called the Bruce Peninsula Huron Shores Cottage Rentals. This one has several quality cottages in Port Elgin, Goderich and Southampton area.
The newspaper is another option. Often people post their properties there, but these tend to go quickly. Kijiji, Craigslist and other sites like these are options as well. They can be hit and miss and you may be relying on pictures that are hopefully accurate to make your decision. There are always options to buy, but the properties are extremely expensive. There are options to build or buy cottages in Sauble Beach area on land owned by First Nations people. This is an affordable way to do it if you don’t mind knowing that you own your property and yet not the land on which it is built. The hotels and motels book fast in the area and are often not as enjoyable or family friendly as cottages where you can cook for yourselves and save some money. So I guess what I am saying is that when it comes to cottages: it’s all about who you know not what you know.