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Travel

Top Rainy Day Cottage Activities: What to do When Weather is Poor

Almost every year of my life I’ve spent at least a week at the cottage. Typically, we visit in the summer, and sometimes in the fall too. It’s a Canadian tradition. Camping and cottages and long summer nights and wildlife. 

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Bad weather can also be a Canadian tradition. Don’t let your cottage vacation be a rainy disappointment. Plan ahead for some Rainy Day Cottage Activities and keep everyone happy for the week, or weeks ahead.

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There’s no end to the fun that can be had when the weather cooperates in cottage country. But what about when the weather turns suddenly? How can you keep everyone happy. Rainy Day Cottage Activities sometimes require a little bit of planning but these are all low cost and family friendly..

Don’t worry. I’ve got you covered. Here are my recommendations of things to do at the cottage when rainy days seem to pile up or even just sweep in out of the blue.

Fun and Easy Rainy Day Cottage Activities

Early on in my childhood, I got used to spending one week of every single summer at the beach. After a nightly barbecue or corn on the cob, we’d stroll the boardwalk, walk into town for ice cream, or relax near a campfire.

Some of my favourite summer childhood memories took place against the backdrop of a lighthouse and the Southampton shoreline, or the Wasaga Beach strip. As a child, I lived for that week with my family, a series of books jammed into a suitcase and the sweet luxury of time. 

Beach sunsets, board games indoors, hours poking through the downtown shops. Reading for hours under an umbrella and waking up to the chirping of Blue Jays in cedars. All of these are sensory visceral memories that pull me right back to childhood. July? August? Either month works here in Ontario, as long as we had a cottage, fresh food, a beach and a grill, plus a book, then we were set and happy. 

When it rained we were all huddled up inside a three bedroom green cottage, built circa 1960, that we rented typically off of one of my mom’s friends.

Of course there are always those rainy cottage days too. So, what to do when the weather lets you down in cottage country? Well, those days are inevitable and we definitely had our share.

Here’s what I still do with my own kids when rain clouds chase you off of the beach and into the cottage.

Don’t Be Disappointed at the Cottage

Board games

Over the years we have spent many afternoons playing first Candyland and Snakes and Ladders and then Scrabble, Pictionary, UNO and Trivial Pursuit. Monopoly is in there too. There are some games that simply HAVE to be packed when you travel anywhere. We have a few road trip games that go everywhere with us. Guess Who is one that travels easily because it is a small travel-sized game. Crack them out even on a day when you have all had a bit too much sun.

Books

Listen, this was my happy place. I didn’t care if it rained or was super sunny. Forever topping my list of rainy day cottage activities, or simply cottage activities, period – BOOKS! Grab a book and read. Take it to the beach and read. Just read. Never a bad side to reading and there’s rarely a bad time to read either.

Library 

Many cottage towns have a library. Depending on the time of week you are there, it might be open. One of the libraries we visited in Southampton on the Bruce Peninsula often had a book sale when we were at the cottage. This worked in everyone’s favour. Also, frequently whether you are renting a cottage or a chalet during ski season, people have a small library there in their second homes. Maybe there’s something you have not read yet there.

Museum

Maybe there is a city museum nearby. That can be the ideal way to spend a rainy day. Check this post for Bruce County Museum information. Museums make a brilliant choice for rainy days at the cottage.

Shopping

Grab an umbrella and hit the shops. Unless the rain is torrential, you can easily pop in and out of the shops and buy a few souvenirs.

Card games

Obviously rainy day cottage activities and card games go together brilliantly. Every cottage should be sold with a deck of cards right in it.

Word searches/ crosswords 

Never go anywhere without a word search or crossword puzzle. Also, there’s no reason to go anywhere without one because I have a lot of word games posted here on my Free Printables Pinterest board.

Lighthouse

Many of the cottages and beach areas along the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario, Canada have lighthouses. Some have lighthouse museums as in Kincardine. Check the hours of operation and go have fun inside. Park nearby and don’t get soaked while exploring history.

I love the lighthouses along the Bruce Peninsula. We have been through many of them.

Bakery

Check the hours of service when you get to the cottage. Sometimes there’s a super popular bakery that’s in high demand every morning, or on rainy days. You should know the times so that when you are ready to pick up some lemon tarts, squares or sweets you can get them without a long wait.

Journal

Always a great way to spend an hour or two before bed, but you could also do this on bad weather days too. Rainy day cottage activities that get kids writing or drawing or doing something that is not TV or smartphone related are the best kinds of activities in my books.

Knit, do crafts

Pack your knitting materials. Don’t forget a craft or two for the kids. Many beach towns and cottage areas have markets or even dollar stores now. Pop in on the way out of town if you need a few cheap supplies. Craft paper, markers, paint, a colouring book, an easy craft kit – all of these are great ways to pass a few hours in the rain.

Wasaga-beach
Wasaga Beach a few years ago

Paint

Bring the cleanup materials and it’s no problem to paint at the cottage too. You don’t need to wait for a rainy day to have fun doing this.

Draw or Sketch 

ALWAYS. Always pack the crayons, pencil crayons and pencils. My kids never ever leave home without pencils and pencil crayons, even still as teenagers. Markers are a good bet too.

Movie Marathon

I mean this is much lower on my list of must do activities when the rains swoops in. But, that said, one year we were staying with my Mom at a cottage and she was a senior living by herself at the time. It was a luxury for her to be able to sit and watch movies with me and my two daughters at that time, who were 7 and 9. So, we opted for a couple of movies that she wanted to see during the week and we enjoyed them together. Sometimes, even when you want or plan for screen free time, there’s a time and a place to include it.

Write

Pick up a pen or pencil and write. Have the kids write you a story or give them a story prompt and let them loose. FYI, we also love things like Ad Libs to get kids thinking and laughing and being creative. These are even fun for adults.

Have Fun Indoors at the Cottage!

Of course you want to be outside at the cottage, but that’s not always possible. All that really matters is that you make memories and have fun, indoors or outdoors. Anything is possible with a little imagination.

To Download and print out my Rainy Day Cottage Activities list, just click on the file below.

What are some of the things you do when it rains at the cottage?

Mom of two beautiful active girls, traveller, fitness junkie, social media consultant, and keeper of the sanity.

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