Top 5 Unique Cottage Country Winter Activities


You’e been snowmobiling, skiing, snowshoeing and tobogganing. 

Cabin fever has set in and another cup of cocoa and a board game holds absolutely no appeal. Why not bundle up and try one of these fun and unique winter activities this weekend and see why Haliburton and the Kawartha Lakes are the best places to be for winter fun.

1. Ice Skating Trails 

Lace up your skates and test out one of these skating rinks. Remember that outdoor rinks are ice and weather-dependent, so be sure to check ahead before venturing out. 

Fern Resort’s 1.5 km skate trail winds it way through wooded countryside in Ontario’s Lake Country.  The resort offers day and night skating packages as well as weekend experiences including accommodations and meals. Their website has all the details.


Head east and skate the “Trent”. The Trent Severn Waterway and the City Peterborough offer public skating on the canal at the historic Peterborough Liftlock every winter. 

Skate the Oval in Lakefield. This 400-metre track of well-maintained outdoor ice in Lakefield provides you with the opportunity to test your speed skating skills at a number of public skate sessions and special events. Check their website for dates and times.


2. Dog Sledding Experiences

Have you always dreamed of riding a dogsled across a winter wonderland? Here is your chance to explore this truly Canadian winter experience in Haliburton.

Winter Dance Dog Sled Tours Haliburton will keep you in good hands as Canada's only Siberian Husky kennel to finish both Alaska's 1000 mile Iditarod & the 1000 mile Yukon Quest. Tour range from several hours to several days so you can customize a tour to suit your unique needs. Your dog team will come completely outfitted with all food & beverages provided on 1/2 & full day trips and moonlight tours. Don’t forget to pack long underwear and your camera!

Haliburton Forest and Wild Life Reserve Ltd. offers introductory and half- and full-day dog sled tours through the Haliburton forest - a 100,000 acre a sustainably managed forest in the Haliburton Highliands.


3. Snow Tubing

Snowtubing is the 2.0 version of the quintessential Canadian sport, tobogganing. Like tobogganing, snowtubing basically involves rocketing down a snow-packed track without breaks and with the added element of spinning in an inner tube. Best part: it’s no skill, all-thrill fun.

Lakeridge ski hill offers rates that include tube rental, park access lift. Buy by the ride and enjoy a day on the slopes.

Horseshoe Valley boasts Ontario’s longest snow tubing hill. Purchase purchase tickets per-ride or get an unlimited pass and ride all day!


4. Winter Festivals

Every community seems to have a local festival. The most hard-core communities hold them in the freezing winter months. 

The Fenelon Falls Winter Festival is held the first Saturday in February. Snowshoe Kawartha is the organizer of the festival that includes 5k and 10k snowshoe races. Snowshoeing is the perfect winter recreational activity, it is a wonderful family event because you can experience the solitude of the great outdoors and the benefits of exercise. Snowshoeing is safer than many winter sports and “If You Can Walk, You Can Snowshoe” it is entirely human powered and much fun in groups.

2020 Hike Haliburton Festival – Winter Edition Feb. 8 - 9, 2020 is  2 days of adventure and fun. The Festival is more than just traditional snowshoeing/hiking; heavily integrating the arts, culture, heritage and foodie experiences to truly showcase the area. There are lots of great events happening throughout the Festival as well, which anyone can attend! And best of all, all hikes are free of charge.

Pondemonium Haliburton: Pond Hockey Championships - January 24-25, 2020 and January 31-February 1, 2020 Pinestone Resort. It is said hockey is what binds this country together. The best way to celebrate the sport than to play it on the pond! Between 700-1000 players will attend the event and play over 300 games over 2 weekends.


5. Ice Fishing

Are you looking for a new outdoor adventure to try this winter? If you like exercise, sun and fresh air then ice fishing might be right for you.

Fishing season doesn’t end when the lake freezes over. Our local lakes are home to some world-class ice fishing opportunities. Ice fishing can appear intimidating to a new comer. My best advice is to never go alone. Be sure to go with someone that is knowledgeable when it comes to ice safety and exercise caution at all times. With a few key factors in mind you are in for a great experience. 

If you are new to ice fishing, start with a guided tour. Haliburton Outfitters provide guided tours to remote areas with heated transport both ways and supplied mobile heated shelter.

For more experienced anglers, Gull Lake Hut Rentals offers “ice fishing made easy”. Located in Miner’s Bay on Gull Lake, just off Highway 35. Here you can rent an insulated, propane heated day hut, including a propane cook stove, and bait needs. All you have tor provide is fishing license and a rod.

Take the family out for Family Fishing Weekend in February (February 15-17, 2020) You can try ice fishing without buying a license. You still have to follow the fishing regulations, obey size limits and sanctuaries and follow conservation licence catch limits. Family Fishing Weekend is celebrated across the province. Check the website to find a family fishing derby, an event near you or a place to go fishing.

Posted by: Dean Michel