Romp the waterfalls, rapids and wading pools of Manitoba’s natural waterparks and historic landmarks.
Suited for hikers of all skill levels, a short, scenic walking trail leads from the White Lake campground to family-friendly Rainbow Falls, a waterfall that delivers deep-tissue massages to intrepid swimmers. Grab a tan on the rocks above the falls or, if the water is deep enough, jump into the frothy water. Note that swimming here is unsupervised, so be careful of the undertow.
A series of waterfalls reward trekkers of the more strenuous nine-kilometre Pine Point Rapids loop. When the current isn’t too strong, go with the flow, sliding from rocky Whiteshell terrain into the river at the base of the falls. Picnic spots with picturesque lookouts line the river trail.
Manitoba’s first year-round hydroelectric dam makes for a fascinating swimming hole. Visitors can walk among the historic ruins of the Pinawa Dam Provincial Heritage Park then take a dip next to rocky outcroppings that meld into old cement structures. For extra adventure, inner tubes are available to rent from town, carrying water enthusiasts along the river right to the dam.
Little Limestone Lake offers some of the best swimming in the province. The world’s largest marl (calcium carbonate-rich) lake, it’s worth the five-hour drive from Peg City. Warm weather turns the marl into calcite, creating crystals that give the lake its cerulean blue hue.
Photo Credit: Travel Manitoba
Hit Manitoba’s beach-town resort highlights or splash into some more secluded—but still spectacular—sandy spots.
Ranked as one of the top ten beaches in the world, Grand Beach (called grand for a reason!) offers an idyllic vacation getaway—and it’s only an hour from Winnipeg. A shoreline of dunes, some as tall as 12 metres, stretches into three kilometres of powder-soft sand. Buy ice cream and beach gear from the shops along the bustling boardwalk, wade into the gentle waves of Lake Winnipeg’s eastern shore or spread a towel out on the prehistoric sand, left behind by Glacial Lake Agassiz.
Patricia Beach boasts the same velvety shoreline, but the water is shallower here, allowing sandbars, used as mini-island playgrounds, to breach the lake’s surface. Serene and private, Patricia Beach even has a designated “clothing-optional” area for devoted sun-worshippers.
Hillside Beach, located directly south of Victoria Beach, is another hidden gem. A path of fine sand leads from the parking area through a beautiful lagoon perfect for birdwatching and boating to two kilometres of beach tucked into a quiet bay.
For those willing to put a bit of sweat into reaching beachy bliss, plan a trip to Sandy Bay Beach. Park on Highway 504, carry a day pack down Olafsson Boulevard and climb the stairs that lead up and over the dunes, revealing a long stretch of beach. Walk across exposed sand bars (swim or boat if the water level is high) to reach beautiful and remote Elk Island Provincial Park. Visitors can hike the 16-kilometre Elk Island Loop Trail then take a dip to cool off, remembering to keep the island’s wilderness pristine by carrying out whatever they carry in.
The picturesque French town of Albert Beach showcases two kilometres of sheltered shoreline, perfect for families with young children. A nearby public parking lot makes this peaceful beach easily accessible to those driving up from the city. Stop at Saffies General Store, a cornerstone of the community since 1921, on your way in for summery treats.
On the west side of Lake Winnipeg, historic resort town Winnipeg Beach offers flawless family fun. Spend the day windsurfing, promenading down the boardwalk and catching rays. A seven-minute drive south and away from the bustle, Matlock Beach’s striking, historic pier is perfect for sunrise photoshoots or sunset strolls. Waves have packed down the soft, white beach, creating underwater ripples in the sand.
Arguably the jewel of Lake Manitoba’s beachfront, expansive Delta Beach has it all: sugar-fine sand, shallow water for waders and possibly the planet’s best sunsets. Historic records reveal a duck-hunting prince of England even once visited. Today, the region’s expansive marshland is a haven for birds and those seeking serenity in their song. Pelicans are permanent residents here too, nodding to frequent fishers on the bridge.
A short hour drive from Winnipeg’s city limits rewards cottage-owners fortunate enough to have snagged a piece of this paradise. Twin Lakes Beach’s aquamarine water shimmers, reminiscent of those Mexican moments in the sun. A public access beach with facilities welcomes the cabinless, provided long walks in the sand aren’t your jam. Visitors must stay in their designated area, as beachfront property extends to the water’s edge.
World travellers know the roughest roads often lead to the best destinations. Don’t let the bumpy gravel road deter your visit to St. Ambroise Beach, a southwesterly destination on Lake Manitoba. Recently transferred ownership from provincial to private means that upgrades are beginning to show. Serviced facilities, an on-site canteen and an expanded campground are initial signs of a fun zone on the come up.
Manitoba is renowned for its 100,000 lakes, many of which are famous for fishing. We’ve reeled in a few of the province’s most unique and beloved locations.
If anyone knows where the good fishing is, it’s a pelican. The big white birds love to paddle the shallow, rocky rapids where the Whitemouth and Winnipeg rivers meet, and they’ll show any fisher how it’s done. Established at this confluence, Whitemouth Falls Provincial Park provides an impressive view of the Seven Sisters Dam, a beautiful backdrop for angling walleye, northern pike, rock bass and yellow perch. Serene picnic spots with fire pits and hiking trails add further appeal to this underrated park.
With more than 1900 lakes and 650 streams, Riding Mountain National Park is a fisher’s paradise, offering excellent opportunities to haul in a major catch. Clear Lake is the park’s main draw, its deep, crystal-clear waters home to Master Angler-sized walleye and northern pike. The lure of the beach town’s boardwalk and ice cream shop will bait non-fisher friends to tag along.
On the north end of Lake Manitoba, The Narrows is, true to namesake, the narrowest point of the lake. Limestone boulders along the shoreline dotted with fishers casting their lines signal the passion that draws visitors here. Boaters preferring to troll in the current for their walleye are well taken care of with ample docking.
Deep, cold Clearwater Lake is renowned for its clarity and abundance of lake trout. Surrounded by boreal forest, this bright aqua lake flaunts its photogenic nature, seducing serious fishers from near and far. The beauty of this blue baby makes it bucket list-worthy for nature-lovers of all kinds, offering a notable hiking trail complete with caves (actually crevices) and breathtaking views of the lake.
White-water rapids, serene, sheltered lakes or twisty riverways: whatever your speed, Manitoba provides perfect places to push out in a kayak, canoe or inner tube.
For a magical afternoon in the Whiteshell, navigate your canoe through the Caddy Lake Rock Tunnels. Across calm Caddy Lake lies the first of two solid granite tunnels created by railroad construction. Listen to your own echo—try singing for an audience of sleeping bats hanging from the tunnel’s ceiling—before emerging into South Cross Lake. A second tunnel leads into North Cross Lake. Quiet, natural campsites are available first-come, first-serve along the route.
Photo Credit: Travel Manitoba
Nothing in this world compares to getting out on the water with a pod of Churchill River’s beluga whales. Thousands of these friendly, funny, curious, 1400-kilogram creatures pop up say hello to tourists, bumping gently against rented kayaks or SUPs and breathing loudly into excited visitors’ faces.
By canoe, Netley Creek’s zig-zagging route from Petersfield to where the Red River meets Lake Winnipeg offers a scenic exploration of the Interlake. Paddle under numerous bridges while navigating the marshy water, keeping an eye out for blue herons, bald eagles and maybe even a sandhill crane.
Steep Rock’s stunning white limestone cliffs, shaped by thousands of years of Lake Manitoba’s waves, rise above emerald water. Hiking trails lead to incredible vistas, but you’ll need a kayak to see one of the most special aspects of Steep Rock: Goat Island. Three friendly goats, Hopper, Pogi and Willy, call the island home and are happy to greet and pose with visitors.