How to be the perfect cottage guest

Ensure an invitation to your friend's summer retreat ever year by following these six etiquette tips.

muskoka chairs on dock by lake

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If you don’t own a cottage, then you probably get as excited when you’re able to score a lake-house invite — cool dips in the water, drinks by the campfire and much needed R&R. To ensure that you get invited back every year, here are six etiquette tips to keep in mind.

1. Bring your bedding, towels and toiletries
Most cottages don’t necessarily have all the amenities as a full-time home so many common household items may be in short supply.

2. Offer to help out
Bring some food and treats for everyone to enjoy and offer to help cook meals. And make sure to pitch in with the set up and clearing of the table.

3. Bring things to occupy yourself
Your host is also up at the cottage to relax and enjoy themselves so don’t expect them to entertain you the whole time. Bring some reading material with you to enjoy on your own or a board game for everyone to play together.

4. Leave the diva attitude at home
Don’t make comments to your host about how amazing it would be if they had a kayak or a second bathroom. Keep those suggestions and ideas to yourself and enjoy what’s already there (read: the beautiful outdoor scenery).

5. Bond over bevvies
Bring ingredients to make a pitcher of a punch or cocktail for everyone to enjoy. Get bonus points by acting as bartender and deliver cold drinks down to the dock for your host and fellow guests.

6. Give a hostess gift
Sometimes it’s hard to know what to give your host, especially if you’ve never been to their cottage before. Staple items such as tea towels, beach towels or a comfy throw work well.

-Originally published August, 2012.