10 places to broaden your horizons this summer in Manitoba

Posted 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.

Know Before You Go

Before heading out on your Riding Mountain adventure, please be aware that Parks Canada has prohibited the use of motorized boats as well as canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddle boards on Clear Lake this summer. These measures are to facilitate detection of zebra mussels and decrease the risk of spread, to better ensure the future health of the lake. Swimming is still permitted, along with fishing from shore or wharfs, the use of beach toys and personal flotation devices. For further information about Clear Lake watercraft restrictions, click here.

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.

Central Manitoba

Central Manitoba represents a slew of Manitoban towns you should make your mission to visit, should you choose to accept it. Your assignment: start by heading to Explore Morden Winkler. In Morden, dig up a wonderful afternoon at the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre, then bring your vehicle to the Stardust Drive-In for a movie under the stars. In Winkler, go back in time at the Pembina Threshermen's Museum and then play the day away at VB's Entertainment.

Along the way, roadside curiosities await at the world’s largest smoking pipe in St. Claude or the world’s largest pumpkin in Roland.

Lookout for annual fun festivals and events: ring in the harvest season at Clearwater’s Harvest Moon Festival, try something delicious at Plum Coulee’s Plum Festival, say yeehaw at Morris' Manitoba Stampede or eat all the free corn at the Morden Corn & Apple Festival.


Gain some new courage in the town of Souris. Here is where you’ll find the Manitoba Star Attraction that is the Souris Swinging Bridge: a 184-metre wonder that measures up as the longest swinging bridge in Canada! You don’t want to miss this.

Souris also has a couple enriching museums—the Hillcrest Museum and the Plum Heritage Church Museum—destined to take you back to a tranquil lifestyle in the early 1900s. And if you want a familiar, fun activity to round out your excursion, play a round of golf at the Souris-Glenwood Community Golf Course or see a summer movie at the delightfully old-school Avalon Theatre.

Other iconic activities include a visit to the Souris Agate Pits and Rock Shop, as well as a stroll through the stunning Victoria Park.


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

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.

Lac du Bonnet

This serene lake town is known for its gorgeous cottage country, farmers' market and Canada Day weekend celebrations. It's also a haven for golf enthusiasts.

Dare I say that Lac du Bonnet is the golf capital of Manitoba? Use the town of Lac Du Bonnet as a base of operations as you trek out to six golf courses within a 35 km radius of the town. Close to town, Black Bear Golf Course makes for a quick nine-hole adventure. The more challenging Granite Hills course is also within 15 minutes, a course that is on every Manitoban golfer’s bucket list.

While you’re at it, you also owe it to yourself to hit some dingers at the Mars Sandhills and Pinawa courses. Still got the golfing fever? The River's Edge and Pine Falls courses are both within a fair driving distance of Lac Du Bonnet.

Granite Hills Golf Club

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