Manitoba road trips: Big skies, big blooms
April 30, 2021
Get to know Manitoba's southwestern corner with this exciting road trip centred on Turtle Mountain Provincial Park.
This summer, we're featuring an amazing collection of road trips that will help you explore every corner of Manitoba. The Big skies, big blooms road trip combines gardens and larger-than-life statues with plenty of outdoor adventure along Manitoba's southwestern corner.
Town of Boissevain
Standing at 28-feet-tall, Tommy the Turtle is a nod to Boissevain’s turtle racing history, welcoming all who enter into the Turtle Mountain region. Start your Boissevain explorations with snapping a picture with this iconic statue before continuing into town. Stroll down South Railway Street to see a handful historic buildings and 17 murals that paint the history of the town.
Next, grab fresh sandwiches to-go from Sawmill Tea & Coffee Co which you can enjoy at the picnic shelter at Arts Park, a flower/sculpture garden that pays homage to the seasons and the town's agriculture identity.
Other options for food include Busy B Drive-in, a seasonal burger and ice cream haunt that is jammed packed with locals during the summer.
Fun in the sun at Lake Metigoshe
Welcome to Lake Metigoshe, a quaint lake community straddling the US border, that has been steadily gaining a reputation as a summer retreat for prairie folk who need an escape.
The main public beach on Lake Metigoshe is a hop and skip down the road from Turtle Mountain Resort, where kids keep entertained on a floating dock, play structure and kayak and canoe rentals. There's a second public beach around the bend - requiring you to drive and 'ooh and aah' over lakefront mansions along the way.
The Lake Metigoshe trail is an easy 1.5 km loop for young families to trek. The trail takes hikers to an observation tower where you can see for miles over the lake and into the USA.
Also on site, the Velvet Antler Cafe will keep you and your family fuelled for adventure. Bannock plays a supporting role in many dishes, a stand-out being Turtle Mountain Sunrise, the resort's take on eggs benedict.
Turtle Mountain Provincial Park and beyond
After the last ice age, the Turtle Mountains area was the first land in present-day Manitoba to be free of ice and thus inhabited.
Turtle Mountain Provincial Park’s little-travelled hiking trails make for delightful, scenic strolls through a prairie oasis of aspen forests and shallow lakes suspended 200 metres above the surrounding prairie. Grassy pathways, frequented by moose, wind through the woods and meadows; boardwalks zigzag across still bogs and marshes where double-crested cormorants are common.
For even more hiking, head to the nearby William Lake Provincial Park. Starting at William Lake, Turtle’s Back Trail leads to one of Turtle Mountain’s highest points where a tower gives you the best vantage point for a breathtaking view of southwestern Manitoba. Perfect for a panoramic photo! The trail also passes through Turtle Mountain Community Pasture where local livestock roam and graze.
International Peace Garden
The International Peace Garden is a 2,400 acre property created to celebrate the peace between Canada and the United States of America.
The park includes picnic areas, campgrounds, hiking trails, a wildlife refuge, and of course tons of gorgeous flora like the Sunken Garden, the Floral Clock and the Formal Gardens.
You can't miss a visit to The Conservatory, a 10,000 sq. ft. glass conservatory and greenhouse that holds Minot resident Don Vitko's entire collection of cacti and succulents.
Be sure to prepare for your visit with the appropriate documents.
Town of Killarney
For the last stop of this road trip, take the short drive east to the small town of Killarney for a beach day.
The main beach on Killarney Lake is located right at the end of the main drag in town, enveloped in the greenery of Erin Park.
Once you tire of the sand and sun, find more entertainment at the nearby splash pad and outdoor fitness equipment. Be sure to take a stroll down the park trails to find Killarney’s own version of the Blarney Stone.
Killarney’s challenging 18-hole course is perfect for all levels of golfers. Frosty beverages on the clubhouse’s sunny deck are just the ticket after a hot game. For something more family friendly, head to The Beach Hut for drive-in food and a round of mini-golf.