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How to plan a girl’s weekend at the cottage

At SheKnows Canada we think it’s time to expand on ‘girls night out’ by incorporating the great Canadian tradition of ‘doing the cottage thing’ in summer. What could be better than an entire weekend to kick back with your bffs! We think you’ll love it so much it will become an annual expedition.

Here are a few helpful reminders and some ideas to make the most of your time!

Girlfriends at cottage

What Cottage?

If no one in your group owns a cottage, check with extended family and friends to see if someone is willing to rent theirs out. Still a no go? Check online for cottage rentals in your desired area, and don’t forget to ask for major details about how many the cottage will comfortably sleep and what is included in the rental price. Best case scenario – photos and a checklist of what is provided.

Ladies and Their Luggage

Have you ever loaded up a van full of people and then discovered there is no room for all their stuff? Such a scenario can occur very easily with cottagers who are bearing coolers, lawnchairs, groceries, and the like. Consider how much space you will need ahead of time and save the headache.

Cottage Essentials

Definitely pack bug spray, sunscreen, and towels. Other items that may or may not already be at the cottage include: lounge chairs, radio, scissors, sewing kit, playing cards, pocketbooks, medication, first aid kit, bottle opener, and corkscrew – there’s nothing worse than having a fabulous bottle of wine and no way to open it!

What To Wear

Obviously it’s going to be casual clothing, bathing suits, hat, and sandals most of the time. Check the weather report for nighttime lows – you will probably require light pants, jackets, socks, and sneakers for evening walks and at night around the bonfire. Even if it doesn’t get chilly, the bug situation may have you taking cover!


Assign everyone in the group something to bring in the way of groceries, and do at least one meal ahead as a potluck. Barbecuing is a great way to go at the cottage, and for treats before bed try some campfire snacks. If possible, canoe across the lake, or drive to a nearby cafe for breakfast one morning and pamper yourselves – no fuss, no dishes! Bring plenty of water to stay hydrated in the sun, and indulge in beer, blender cocktails such as Strawberry Daiquiris, or wine. Again, be sure to establish ahead of time who is bringing what.

What To Do

Daily activities will likely revolve around the offerings of the particular cottage, be it water sports, horseshoes, lawn darts, walking trails, kayaking, boating, or just relaxing in the sun and relishing the great company. In the evening, play cards, listen to music, dance, go fishing, or go for an after dinner walk before starting the bonfire. Keep campfire time interesting by looking for constellations, shooting off fireworks, or whipping up some s’mores! Don’t forget that in Canada a license is required for boating and fishing!

What If It Rains?

When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping! Most cottages have a town or city within a reasonable drive where you can peruse unique gift shops for an hour or two, or stroll through a neat little museum. Be sure to pack board games, reading material, and a couple of good chick flicks to see you through any extended rainy periods.


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