I’m going to hold my hands up here and admit that I didn’t do my research so well when I stumbled upon Rice Lake as a place to stay while in Ontario. My friend who lives in Canada had suggested the Kawartha Lakes as being an ideal place to visit that is not too far from Toronto and Guelph (where they live) and somehow Southview Cottages on Rice Lake stood out as being much more reasonably priced than many of the other cottage resorts. Turns out Rice Lake isn’t technically a Kawartha Lake, but it’s more ‘in the region’. Whoops!
Thankfully for us we haven’t seen any of Ontario’s other lakes so we had nothing to compare it against and we thought it was stunning. It’s just an hour and a half from Toronto and was ideally placed for us visiting some of the surrounding area during our week there.
We stayed at the Southview Cottage Resort which I genuinely couldn’t fault. No, I lie, we arrived in the middle of a crazy heat wave and the cottage’s air con system was pretty old and not so effective so we may have melted into puddles in the first couple of days. That aside though, the cottage was spacious, clean and equipped with everything we needed for the week (including gas BBQ hooked up to the cottage’s gas supply). The resort also upgraded us from a Lakeview cottage to a Lakeside one free of charge on arrival and we couldn’t have been better placed to take in the stunning views of the lake.
On site was a heated pool and toddler wading pool, a brand new play park, a lovely selection of nature walks AND you have free use of the canoes and pedalos as well as the option to hire a boat for the day too.
Unfortunately you need to have a boating license so we didn’t think we would be able to properly go out on the lake. Luckily though, we met a lovely Canadian couple who were licensed to drive a boat so we had a great day out fishing with them and their two children. And T caught a fish all by himself. I’m not exaggerating when I say that moment was the highlight of his entire holiday.
I don’t think the kids would have been bored if we had stayed in the resort for the entire week as they just loved being in the pool and swimming in the lake. But us adults did want to see what else the area had to offer.
Our first full day on Rice Lake fell on Canada day and we heard the nearest large town would be holding various celebrations so we headed over to check it out and got to watch their Canada Day parade.
We also took some time to wander around Millennium Park which sits on the Otonabee River in downtown Peterborough. The Park features a landscaped walking path with sculptures, flower beds, the Butterfly Garden, grassy areas and benches.
The community of Bewdley (population of about 650 people) was around a 15 minute drive from our resort and we took ourselves out there for lunch and an explore one afternoon. It sits on the western side of Rice Lake and has a great play park right in front of the lake so the kids can play while you take in the beautiful views.
We had lunch in Rhinos Roadhouse, a great traditional Canadian restaurant which sits on the main road and had a lovely outside area for you to take in the view.
Around a 40 minute drive away is the town of Cobourg, a fantastic beach town on the banks of Lake Ontario. We enjoyed a few hours at and by the beach building sand castles, swimming, playing at the parks and in the splash park, checking out the boats in the marina and grabbing ice creams. I’d definitely recommend it for a proper beach day if you’re in the area.
Muddy’s Pit BBQ
Muddy’s Pit BBQ just deserves a section of its own. We would never have known about it was it not for a lovely local recommending it. Situated in a little town called Keene, only the locals seem to know about it (which I love). The food is served at the counter like in a deli and you sit on picnic benches to tuck in. We had the carnivore sampler with baked beans and mac n cheese. No frills but AMAZING tasting food, great beer and live music, and it’s so relaxed that the kids can run around freely without bothering people. If you’re in the area you MUST give it a visit.
We had a fantastic week exploring Rice Lake and the surrounding area and could easily have stayed longer. Have you visited this area of Ontario before? What would you recommend?