10 places to broaden your horizons this summer in Manitoba
April 26, 2023
| Author Brett Maclaren
Just when you think you’ve already made every signature Manitoba memory, there always seems to be another trick up the sleeve of our charming province.
With such a variety of towns, there’s a lid for every pot! If you’re an outdoorsy person, golfer, or even a movie buff, there’s always a new rush you can chase, all in the province you call home. With that, here’s 10 places you can expand your horizon in Manitoba this summer. And don’t stop here—your heart knows no bounds. There’s always a new gem to find.
Prairie Gateway Region
Prairie Gateway comprises the three towns: Virden, Elkhorn and Kenton. Together, they’re a trifecta of a bright, sunny, Manitoban adventure. Start your journey off in Kenton, take in the theatrical small-town vibes and consider taking a dip at the naturally-occurring swimming hole near the dam.
In Virden, enjoy a rich historical scene: take a historical walking tour, take in a show at the historic Aud Theatre. Don’t forget to take a load off at Ice Cream Island! Another unique experience (and one that's been growing in popularity in Manitoba) can be found at The Garden Shoppe, where you can wander through a tranquil garden and select flowers for your very own personalized bouquet.
From there, crank the Elvis and take a 20-minute cruise to Elkhorn, where you can relive (or discover) the classic car glory days at the Manitoba Antique Automobile Museum. You can’t help but fall in love with it! Plan your visit at the end of summer and make a stop south of Elkhorn to fill your bucket with handpicked apples at Applejacks Orchards.
For those who love scenic views, don't leave the region without a stop at Eternal Springs, a gorgeous oasis featuring a 66-foot swinging bridge, hiking trails and a day-use picnic area so that you can enjoy the scenery over lunch.
If your ideal small-town visit is one that feels like a visit to Schitt’s Creek, Carberry may be just what the doctor ordered. With two fun boutiques within walking distance, you can feel like you’re walking through Rose Apothecary.
Fashion Forty-Six is a gorgeous destination for flowers and women’s fashion. Only a few steps down at Offbeat n’ Antiques, you can satisfy your need for nostalgia and quirky trinkets at the same time, where you’re sure to find a gem that suits you.
If all that shopping has made you a weary traveller, head over Shannon’s Culinary Creations for a cup of joe! That way, you’ll be all perked up for a visit to Sand Hills Casino, conveniently located about 10 minutes from town.
Swan River is a great town for those who dream of getting off the beaten path. Bring your curiosity to Swan Valley Historical Museum and Heritage Village, and then venture out behind the museum to the Rex Leach Museum Trail that is as peaceful as it is green.
Go and lose yourself in the wilderness at Duck Mountain Provincial Park. A highlight of the park is that it hosts Manitoba’s highest peak of 831 metres on Baldy Mountain. You’ll be rewarded for the 1.8 mile round-trip hike with an observation tower that offers instantly heart-stopping views. Bring your bike, or walk the equally awesome Blue Lakes Trail or Copernicus Trails.
Experience a natural phenomenon at Magnet Hill. To find this magic spot, venture just a few kilometres west of the Highway 487 at the turnoff to the Thunderhill Ski Area. Once on the hill, throw your car into neutral, take your foot off the brakes and witness as it is pulled back uphill - creating a very strange sensation!
Time your trip up to Swan River just right and you can stop in to the annual rodeo at the end of July.
Portage La Prairie
When the scorching Manitoba heat starts to take a toll, Portage la Prairie is the perfect place to cool off.
Splash Island Waterpark is a great place for any family to earn their sea legs. But if a day indoors is what you need, Portage also has an indoor waterpark at Stride Place: here you can hop into Manitoba’s largest indoor wave pool or take a ride down the lazy river and be, well…lazy. Or, get those legs moving on a stroll along The Island, encircled by an oxbow lake.
While you’re in town, get in some settler history at the Fort La Reine Museum, or stop in for some small-town cuisine at Bill’s Sticky Fingers!
Don't leave without snapping a selfie with the World's Largest Coke Can!
Wasagaming: The Park Theatre
Lights, camera, action!
Summertime adventurers in Manitoba already know about Riding Mountain National Park: but next time you're in the area, be sure to take some time to catch a flick at this unique movie theatre.
The Park Theatre, located in the townsite of Wasagaming in Clear Lake Country, may just be the coolest movie theatre in Manitoba. Built in 1936 to create work during the depression, this is the largest log cabin theatre in North America. It’s not only beautifully constructed; it is also family-owned and still plays the latest Hollywood films. Time Out Magazine named it one of the 50 most beautiful movie theatres in the world. If you want to have a movie-going experience you’ll never forget, this is worth the trip.
Beaches of 59
Woke up to a perfect summer day, where you’ve got nowhere to be? Sounds like beach day conditions.
Take a rip down 59 highway and stop in at (one? two? three?) beaches from Patricia Beach all the way up to Victoria Beach. It’s an area that’s ripe for exploration—so try finding a place you’ve never been to! Along the way, you’re sure to find fantastic farmer’s markets, gorgeous greenhouses, and nifty grub.
For extra fun, stop in at DJ's Arcade, rent a paddleboard, or get a souvenir of your day at a boutique or gift store. Everything you need to know is on the Beaches of 59 website.
In French, Beausejour translates to “Beautiful Stay,” and whoever came up with the name was NOT jokin’.
Located a short drive away from Winnipeg, the “crown jewel” of Beausejour is its famous Daylily Gardens, tended to by a number of caring volunteers (however, they would like to be called Angels). Take a walk and ponder life’s big questions.
As summer day winds into summer night, you may want to consider staying at either one of Beausejour’s two warm-fuzzy-feeling campgrounds. As with any small town, stop in at a local diner for some comfort food: Vickie’s Snack Bar is a double whammy for ice cream and those oh-so-delicious homestyle burgers Manitoba is known for.
About The Author
Hey, what’s shakin’? Brett here. I love old movies, biking, and massive servings of plain-jane food. I’ll fiercely defend anything Manitoba…except chilli on cheeseburgers. What’s that all about?
Red River College Creative Communications Graduate Intern