5 Manitoba camping tips that will make your stay under the stars even better

Posted May 30, 2023 | Author Breanne Sewards

When you live for the summer, yearn to spend time in the outdoors and want to explore as many new places as possible, camping might just be the best way to go.

Manitoban's love for camping continues to grow, with Manitoba Parks reporting a 60% increase in bookings over the past five years. Luckily, there's enough room in the province for everyone to have the experience of sleeping under the stars. From landing a booking to prepping, planning and packing, follow our five easy tips and you'll master the art of camping in no time.

1. Expand your search

If you are an avid camper in Manitoba, chances are that you logged on earlier this year in hopes of booking a spot at one of the province's beautiful provincial or national campgrounds. With camping in Manitoba as popular as it is, sites tend to book up fast, especially on summer weekends. For better luck with booking a site, try these tips.

Opt for the off-season

Whether you choose spring or fall, the off-season can be an excellent time of the year to camp in Manitoba. In May, you can enjoy the first warm days of the year in the great outdoors with less insects and less crowds. In the fall, take in the stunning fall foliage and embrace all things cozy while camping - like more time around the campfire and chilly nights snuggled up in the tent. Plus, swimming in September is equal parts exhilarating and refreshing. Many campgrounds in Manitoba stay open until Thanksgiving.

Search outside the box

If you couldn't land a site at a provincial or national park, another avenue is to book at one of Manitoba's many private campgrounds. These lesser known properties often offer attractive, family-friendly amenities like pools, kids programming and more of a community-focused atmosphere.

Most small towns in Manitoba also have space carved out for camping that is not always widely advertised. Treherne Cottonwood Campground, for example, is a small campground that is surrounded by all the amenities of town such as the Aquatic Centre and the famous L&J's Drive Inn. Other small town campgrounds to consider include Birtle Riverside Campground and Park, King's Park Campground in Carman and Altona Centennial Park - just to name a few.

For the more adventurous, backcountry camping in Manitoba Parks is another option. There are three types of backcountry camping opportunities - walk-in, water route and wilderness - all of which offer a truly wild and secluded outdoor experience.

2. Add on an experience

Did you know that Manitoba Park Interpreters lead a variety of activities including guided hikes, living history demonstrations, kayak outings, historic site tours, special events, and campfire talks? These programs are available in the summertime at Birds Hill, Spruce Woods, and Whiteshell, Grand Beach, Hecla/Grindstone, St. Malo, and St. Norbert provincial parks.

The events provide wonderful opportunities to explore the parks and experience Manitoba's wilderness in a more meaningful way. Take a look at the Manitoba Parks event calendar to see what's on during your camping trip!

3. Make a road trip out of it

No matter where you're headed on your camping trip, there are many opportunities to make the experience even better. Find the corresponding road trip to the region you are visiting for a ton of ideas of how to enrich your trip with nearby hiking trails, restaurants, roadside attractions and more.

For example: camping in or near the Whiteshell? Check out our Whispers of the Whiteshell roadtrip.

4. Cut the cooking

Many of the top tips from experienced campers tend to focus on food. Even if you love roasting food over the campfire or you own a portable butane stovetop, cooking while camping is made more enjoyable when you do a little prep.

Chop ahead of time

The best way to prep for cooking while camping is simply to wash and chop ahead of time. Prepare each component of your meal (especially your veggies) the day before or the morning of your departure and place in tupperware containers. When packing, think about the order of your meals and arrange accordingly in your cooler so that you don't need to dig. A meal plan? Absolutely essential.

Check out nearby restaurants

In my own experience, sometimes not cooking at all is the answer. Not only does this give you more time to just relax or spend time off your site at the beach, it also is a great way to check out some of the local restaurants. Many campgrounds will have on-site restaurants, while others will require a drive to a nearby town or community. One of my favourite things to do is to eat the first meal of the trip at a drive-in along the way - which allows you to take more time setting up, without needing to worry about making dinner.

Bring plenty of snacks

However many snacks you are planning to bring, double it. Or am I the only one who gets extra hungry while camping? There's nothing better than having something easy to grab in between activities. I suggest anything from the pre-made section of Black Market Provisions.

5. Come prepared

If you haven't camped before, you likely are starting from scratch when it comes to equipment. Cabela's is one of the best spots in the province to stock up on everything you need when exploring the outdoors. Here are just a few ultra-helpful products you can consider picking up this camping season.

ThermaCELL® Rechargeable Radius Patio Mosquito Repeller

Forget coils and candles -- ThermaCELL products are the most innovative way for keeping the bugs at bay. Rechargeable and scent-free, the device includes refillable cartridges which are heated to emit an invisible repellent to protect your space.

GSI Outdoors Bugaboo Base Camper Cook Set

Yet another way to make your camp cooking smoother is with a high quality cook set that has everything you need for boiling, frying, straining and more. And when you need as much space as you can get, this set stacks for easy packing.

Cabela's Dual-Height 3-Shelf Camp Cupboard

Bet you didn't know that you needed a cupboard while camping! This handy piece highlights one of the utmost necessities of a great camping excursion: organization. Whether you use it for cooking utensils or beach gear, you can keep anything you need tidy and accessible throughout your trip.

BrüMate Hopsulator Trio

What would camping be without a beverage or two around the campfire? The BrüMate Hopsulator Trio keeps your drink ice-cold with a freezable adapter for 12 oz. cans that converts to a tumbler when needed.

Sponsored by Cabela's, who did not review or approve this story.

About The Author

Hey! I'm Breanne, Editorial Content Specialist for Travel Manitoba. First to jump in the lake and last to make it down the River Trail. Lover of croissants, cats, and croissant-shaped cats. Got a story idea? Email me at bsewards@travelmanitoba.com.

Editorial Content Specialist