Sand and Sun – Manitoba’s Beaches
Passionate about long walks on secluded beaches, fun and funky little lakeside towns, and midnight outdoor hot-tubbing under moon-dappled forest canopies? Manitoba's the spot for romantic summer beach getaways—and downright-steamy summer nights.
Wander the Whiteshell
Drive just over an hour east of Winnipeg to reach one of Manitoba's favourite summer spots for locals and visitors alike—Whiteshell Provincial Park. The park boasts innumerable pristine lakes, isolated little beaches, and hiking trails galore. Take a hike for two and gaze at the stars without the light pollution of the city, or try canoeing or kayaking together. Listen for the sweet, quicksilver calls of the loons as you float across the water – these beautiful birds love and mate for life. Tuck into one lodge and stay awhile, or change up your lakeside beaches and scenery and try a few.
At high-end rustic hideaways like Falcon Trails Resort, your personal hot tub for two and cool, refreshing Falcon Lake combine for a hot/cool sensory overload. Snuggle-up on the couch in front of the cute, little pot-bellied wood stove in each log cabin. There are few smells as intoxicating as the sharp tang of woodsmoke wisps over sweet night air. Enjoy a chilled Fort Garry Ale brought with you from Winnipeg, and you've got the recipe for pure Manitoba mellow.
On Dorothy Lake, Pinewood Lodge offers complimentary romantic dinners for two on birthdays or anniversaries (a great chance to sample bison, even more heart-healthy than true love), and lakeside chalets suitable for giggly midnight skinny dips. Warm up afterwards in front of your fireplace or in your water-jet tub for two. And at Barrier Bay Resort, whirlpool tubs and fireplaces top their special honeymoon packages.Plan your romantic getaway:
- Whiteshell Provincial Park: www.whiteshell.mb.ca
- Falcon Trails Resort: www.falcontrails.mb.ca
- Pinewood Lodge: www.mypinewood.com
- Barrier Bay Resort: www.barrierbay.com
Love, Icelandic Style
Begin your romantic coastline adventure at Hecla/Grindstone Provincial Park, the place many of the province's first Icelandic settlers put down roots. It's the perfect place to launch an exploration of kilometres of beach that run south from Hecla along Lake Winnipeg and all the way to the summer cottage villages of Matlock and Petersfield.
The newly-revamped, upscale Radisson Hecla Oasis Resort is as good a place to start as any. It serves up a top-notch spa, with offerings for both guys and gals. To get down and dirty, try the muddy treatments. There's also golf for him or her - it's a fun course with its own resident flock of Canada geese.
There are all sorts of charming little beaches in the area to explore, including Hecla Beach, as well as historic Hecla Village just down the road and more than 75 kilometres of hiking trails just right for two people to wander. For a change from beach and trail walking, try the Grassy Narrows Marsh boardwalk, a great spot for birding, or get a couple of bikes from the resort and cycle the Lighthouse Trail to the end of the island to take a look at the lighthouse and Lake Winnipeg Narrows.
Complete the Icelandic experience in the resort town of Gimli, an hour's drive south of Hecla. Soft sand awaits steps from the marina and Lakeview Resort—tailor-made for lazy sunning. At Moonlight Bay, another tree-lined beach at the south end of town, get a great night view of the harbour lights. Bring a blanket for stretching out or snuggling up – you might be a while.
Grab lunch at Amma's Tearoom, then cross off an item from your must-do list in Gimli - stop at the 1898-built H. P. Tergesen & Sons Store for a few special souvenirs. Make sure you save some time to stop further south at Winnipeg Beach, featuring a 50s-style boardwalk with delectable shops to browse. Grab a couple of ice cream cones to take on your beach walk.
Amazingly, this is all on the west side of vast Lake Winnipeg – on the east side, there's plenty more...Plan your romantic beach getaway:
- Hecla/Grindstone Provincial Park: www.gov.mb.ca/conservation/parks/popular_parks/central/hecla.html
- Hecla Oasis Resort: www.heclaoasis.com
- R.M. of Gimli: www.gimli.ca
- Lakeview Resort and Conference Centre: http://www.lakeviewhotels.com/hotels.php?entry_id=3152
- Amma's Tearoom:
- H.P. Tergeson & Sons Store: www.gimlicommunityweb.com/history/tergesen.php
- Winnipeg Beach: www.winnipegbeach.ca
Sand in Your... Sandals?
Located just an hour's drive north of Winnipeg, three-kilometre long Grand Beach has been touted as one of the world's top beaches by magazines of all sorts – from Macleans to Playboy! While the West Beach is busy with young teens and families, you and your sweetie should be able to find a sweet spot amid the dunes of the East Beach. Either way, the water's shallow and warm, and a dip or two will be de rigueur to cool off.
North of Grand Beach, both Hillside Beach and Patricia Beach offer more secluded beach opportunities to stroll the beach (and there's a spot on Patricia Beach where clothing's optional... just FYI). Then there's Victoria Beach, a long-standing beach community with nothing but pretty cottages, the forest-edged sandy beach, and Lake Winnipeg. No vehicles are allowed in the cottage area, so you'll need to walk in and out. At night, with binoculars, you might catch the lights of Gimli on west side of Lake Winnipeg.Plan your romantic beach getaway:
- Grand Beach Provincial Park: www.gov.mb.ca/conservation/parks/popular_parks/central/grand.html
- Grand Beach Tourism: www.grandbeachtourism.com
- Hillside Beach and Patricia Beach: www.eastern-beaches.mb.ca
Off the Beaten Track Beaches
Riding Mountain National Park and the tiny townsite of Wasagaming are a short bicycle jaunt or pleasant walk from The Elkhorn Resort. Book time at the resort's Solstice Spa; couples massages are just one of many options on a long list of pampering possibilities. The Divine Decadence package even involves chocolate vanilla massage oil. The massage therapist can even teach your sweetheart how to give you a massage.
Cycle Wasagaming's paths, or boat or paddle on Clear Lake. Wander craft shops for locally-made treasures you'll find nowhere else. Share a slice of airy shmoo torte at the Siesta Café or a gooey-caramel cinnamon bun at the White House Bakery. Work it off by hiking a few park trails exploring mixed forest, meadows, grasslands, and even beach ridges formed by ancient Lake Agassiz.
For a truly secluded getaway, fly way up north to Webbers' North Knife Lake Lodge for a couples-only fishing trip—gourmet candlelit dining, spa treatments, and a wood-burning cedar hot tub. Oh, and fishing – it's far more fun than you might think, and gives your guy a chance to strut his macho side for you. Sorry, no beaches here—but plenty of love is still in the air.Plan your romantic beach getaway: