Creek in rural Bowmanville, Ontario

The Durham Region is just east of the GTA, but it feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of Toronto. Throughout the region there are quaint rural communities that are close to nature and exude small-town charm. 

You really get the best of both worlds in the Durham Region because you can live a peaceful life and still be close to urban centres. This is what makes real estate in Durham Region so highly sought after.

If you’re looking for a place to call home that offers a slower pace of life than a big city, these are some of the best rural communities in the Durham Region.


Located on the far eastern edge of the Durham Region, the municipality of Clarington has a great mix of small towns and countryside. It is about a one-hour drive to Toronto from Clarington depending on traffic.

Moneysense ranked Clarington number 20 in their list of Canada’s Best Places to Live 2018 and it’s easy to see why. The real estate is affordable, the people are friendly, and you have access to beautiful natural areas.

Stroll through Clarington communities like Bowmanville, Courtice and Orono and you’ll find tree-lined streets and inviting cafes. Head outside town and you can explore forests, orchards, and the shores of Lake Ontario. Clarington is also home to Brimacombe ski resort.

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Bowmanville is the biggest town in Clarington municipality, but it has a pleasant small-town feel with its wide streets and parks. It sits on the northern shore of Lake Ontario and is surrounded by farmland, forests and creeks. 

Residents of Bowmanville can enjoy shopping and dining in the historic downtown and have a drink at the town’s two breweries. Community events happen year-round and include music festivals, parades and street fairs.

There are plenty of opportunities for recreational activities in Bowmanville. Port Darlington Beach is great for watersports and Stephen’s Gulch Conservation area has beautiful hiking trails. History buffs can visit the POW camp and the Bowmanville Museum.

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Located north of Whitby and surrounded by pine forests and rolling hills, Brooklin is a haven for those seeking a quiet lifestyle. The small town has beautiful heritage homes and plenty of green spaces where you can enjoy the outdoors.

Brooklin sits on the southern edge of the Oak Ridges Moraine, which spans 1,900 kilometres and features several hiking trails. The Heber Down Conservation area is also close by and features hiking trails, fishing spots and picnic areas.

Downtown Brooklin is a designated heritage conservation site with beautiful historic homes and shopfronts. The town has a number of restaurants, cafes and shops. However, if you need a bit more variety, Whitby and Oshawa are just a short drive away.

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Courtice is another small community where it is easy to slip into a relaxed state of mind. It sits between Oshawa and Bowmanville just north of Lake Ontario and is bordered by forests and farmland on three sides.

There are numerous recreational facilities in Courtice, making this a great place to lead an active lifestyle. The South Courtice Arena has two ice rinks for hockey, figure skating and speed skating. Residents can also enjoy the community pools and parks.

Darlington Provincial Park is just south of Courtice town and offers expansive views of Lake Ontario. The park is home to a wide variety of birds and wildlife including white-tailed deer, coyotes, and monarch butterflies.

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If you're interested in learning more about communities in the Durham Region, please contact us online or call us at 905-668-1511 today!

McKenna Fenney Durham Region Realtor

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Posted by Dan Plowman on
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