It’s a hot Manitoba summer (or maybe a chilly winter) and you’re itching to get away, even if it’s just for the weekend. Where do you go?
If you’re looking for a quick getaway, Manitoba provincial parks are your answer. To help you decide your next adventure, we’re going to highlight 10 of the top provincial parks and what you can do when you visit. Whether you’re looking to camp under the stars, hike all day or hibernate in a cabin, there’s something for everyone!
Top 10 Manitoba Provincial Parks
A short eight-minute drive from Winnipeg, Birds Hill Park is the perfect day trip. During the summer, enjoy the beach, take a bike, walk or horseback ride through the trails or spend a weekend in the campground. The park is also the stomping ground for Folk Fest, an outdoor music festival featuring over 75 artists each year.
During the winter, the snowy plains are perfect for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and winter hiking. The park restaurant and boutique Pineridge Hollow is open for service year-round and during the summer, visitors can also enjoy a farmer’s market and petting zoo.
Grand Beach is an hour west of Winnipeg, located on the eastern edge of Lake Winnipeg. The beach’s soft white sand has been named some of the best in North America, so it’s no wonder the beach is extremely popular during the summer. You can spend a day near the water, exploring the sand dunes (some of which are 30 feet high!) and grab a bite or local trinket at the boardwalk gift shops. You could even take a short drive into Grand Marais and stop for an ice cream at Lanky’s.
If you’re looking to stay for the weekend, Grand Beach has a campground in the park as well as nearby rental cabins and bed and breakfast.
Winnipeg Beach is about an hour north of Winnipeg on the southwestern shore of Lake Winnipeg. When you visit, you can enjoy the three-kilometre beach and other outdoor activities including kayaking, volleyball, cycling and even water sports like windsurfing. There are plenty of restaurants with patios to enjoy a meal outdoors.
The Whiteshell is an excellent year-round destination. If you want to stay awhile, you can camp, rent a private cottage on the lake or book a room at one of the nearby lodges or resorts.
The Whiteshell has numerous biking, hiking and sightseeing trails for all levels of adventurers. You can explore the meteorite lakes by boat or lounge by the beach. Visitors can fish, swim, play a round of golf and even scuba dive.
For the travellers looking for something different, take the drive out to Hecla Island! The island was named after the volcano Mount Hekla, a famous landmark in Iceland. Hecla Island is one of the few islands nestled between the east and west shores of Lake Winnipeg.
It’s a great year-round destination, with beaches, camping, golfing and sight-seeing paths to explore in the summer, as well as the infamous Hecla lighthouse. If you’d like to hunker down in the winter, you can also visit the Lakeview Hecla Resort to enjoy the pool, Salka Spa and outdoor fire pits.
Turtle Mountain Provincial Park, in Boissevain, Manitoba, is an excellent place to explore nature. Book a campsite for the weekend and explore the mountain biking trails, canoe routes, horseback riding trails and self-guided hiking paths. If you’re looking to achieve a specific goal, hike to Turtle Back Tower for an amazing view of the Turtle Mountains and nearby farmlands.
The Pinawa Dam Provincial Heritage Park is located northeast of Lac du Bonnet, just over an hour outside of Winnipeg. The Pinawa Dam was Manitoba’s first year-round hydroelectric generating station which was closed down in 1951. Not only can you explore the dam, you enjoy a picnic through the park or cross the iconic Pinawa Heritage Suspension Bridge and hike or ski along the trails. During the summer, you can rent a tube (or bring your own) and drift along the lazy river. It takes about three hours to go around so you’ll be set for a relaxing afternoon!
When you visit this provincial park, you may think you’re visiting the ocean. The lakewater is so clear that you can see right to the bottom including all the fish that call it home (most commonly lake trout, northern pike and whitefish).
Clearwater Lake has a scenic icon called “the caves” which are deep crevices near the shoreline cliffs. You can take a self-guided trail and hike down to see for yourself. If hiking isn’t your thing, you can take a swim or boat to explore the lake before spending the night in the campground or nearby lodge. This park is near The Pas which is quite a drive from Winnipeg, so you may be better off making it a weekend or week-long trip.
Found near Brandon, Manitoba, Spruce Woods has a unique Manitoba attraction – a desert! While it may not be a traditional desert, it’s home to a vast plain of moving sand dunes called the Spirit Sands. You can hike the dune trails to the Devil’s Punch Bowl, a bowl-shaped pool that’s 45 metres deep and filled with blue-green water. This is an excellent day hike if you love exploring nature and seeing something different!
Spruce Woods also has a campground with beaches and other hiking and bike trails. You can go canoeing, paddle boating, horseback riding and even play a round of mini golf.
This park is located close to the Ontario border and is named after an Anishinabe word that means “entrance to the wilderness.” Nopiming has many places to explore including outcrops, hiking trails, fly-in and drive-in fishing lodges and over 700 lakes. You can camp at a variety of nearby campgrounds including Beresford, Bird, Black Lakes and Tulabi Falls.
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