Winnipeg may be 8 hours away from the next big city, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of options when it comes to a memorable day trip! The next time you’re itching to hop in your car and experience a scenic drive or weekend getaway, check out one of these delightful ideas for day trips from Winnipeg.
Day Trips From Winnipeg
- Spirit Sands in Spruce Woods Provincial Park near Glenboro, MB
- Distance: 180 km from Winnipeg.
- Gimli, MB
- Distance: 89 km from Winnipeg.
- Patricia Beach in Beaconia, MB
- Distance: 78 km from Winnipeg.
- Birds Hill Provincial Park in St. Clements, MB
- Distance: 24 km from Winnipeg.
Spirit Sands in Spruce Woods Provincial Park, MB
This site is known as one of Manitoba’s “special places” – a natural delta created by the Assiniboine River more than 15,000 years ago. Today, the location is home to a rich ecosystem of plants and wildlife, along with a stunning desert-like stretch of beautiful, wind-patterned sand. It’s a prime spot for a semi-challenging hike, and provides an out-of-this world backdrop for any photos you might want to take along the way. Be sure to check out “The Devil’s Punchbowl”, a small body of shimmering blue-green water that has occurred naturally in the landscape.
You won’t find many dining options in the Spruce Woods area, so make sure you pack a picnic lunch (or at least a few trail snacks) for the trip. For inspiration, check out our list of road-trip friendly foods.
Sometimes you just have to do what the vikings did – that is, head up to Gimli and spend the day exploring. Originally settled by Icelandic immigrants in the 1800s, this lakeside community is bursting with history, scenery, and small-town charm (and also happens to be the home of Canada’s own Crown Royal Distillery). If you’re looking to learn, the New Iceland Heritage Museum offers tons of interesting info for an affordable admittance fee. In the summer, don’t miss the Icelandic Festival and the Gimli Film Fest (where else can you sit on the beach and watch classic films projected onto a giant screen floating in the water?). Souvenir hunters are sure to find something original at Arnes Farmers Market, or the famous curiosity-filled H.P. Tergesen’s General Store.
Hungry for some local fare? Brennevin’s Pizza is a teensy space packed to the brim with hungry tourists and tons of flavour. And of course, no visit to Gimli is complete without a photo op in front of their iconic viking statue.
Patricia Beach, MB
There’s nothing like a beautiful day at the beach, but the experience can often be soured by packed parking spaces, huge crowds, long lines for bathrooms and food, and the general noise of summertime revellers. Instead of heading for one of the more popular Winnipeg-adjacent beaches, give your agoraphobia a break and plan to visit Patricia Beach. This spot is just as stunningly beautiful as the much-busier Grand Beach, but here you’re much more likely to find a secluded spot to stretch out your towel and dig your feet into the sand. (You’ll also be able to feel TRULY at ease, if you’re into that – certain parts of the beach are clothing-optional.)
Bring along a cooler, a radio, your favourite trashy novel, and you’re set for a day of maxing and relaxing. Don’t forget to bring a handful of cash for the hamburger shack – their fare is delicious, and you likely won’t have to wait more than a few minutes to order.
Birds Hill Provincial Park, MB
Boasting beautiful hiking trails and tons of unspoiled nature, Birds Hill is a lot more than just the famous location of the Winnipeg Folk Fest. Bring the entire family, or an outdoorsy date, for a day of fresh air and fun at Birds Hill, where you can take a hike, try horseback riding, or hit up the beach. The aptly-named provincial park is also a great place to spend a quiet afternoon birdwatching. Bring some birdseed with you, and if you’re extra patient you might even get a little feathered friend to eat from the palm of your hand.
Cap off a great day at Birds Hill with a visit to the nearby Half Moon Drive-In. This retro-themed eatery is adored for its delicious hot dogs, shakes, and a huge menu of other classic diner delicacies.