Manitoba road trips: Big skies, big blooms

Posted 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 on Treaty 1 and 2 territory.

Part one

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 Boissevain Bakery, doling out drool-inducing donuts and sugar cookies, and Busy B Drive-in, a seasonal burger and ice cream haunt that is jammed packed with locals during the summer.

Irvin Goodon International Wildlife Museum

Boissevain's wildlife gallery, tucked inside the town’s visitor centre, doubles as a wonderful science classroom for all ages. Over 40 species of taxidermy creatures are curated with artful backdrops, often depicting the rawness of the predator vs. prey relationship.

Lake Metigoshe Sunset

Beach at Turtle Mountain Resort

From the viewing tower

Fun in the sun at Lake Metigoshe

Welcome to Lake Metigoshe, a quaint lake community that straddles the US border has been steadily gaining a reputation as a summer retreat for prairie folk who need an escape.

Turtle Mountain Resort

A great home base for exploring Lake Metigoshe is Turtle Mountain Resort, a small cluster of road-side cabins that is the heart of the community. The resort's five rustic cabins range in size and number of bedrooms, but all are ultra cozy and decked out in decor and artwork to complement the unexpected wilderness setting.

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 or a play structure. 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.

Part two

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 Gardens

The International Peace Gardens is a 2,339 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.

Unique stay

Located south of Boissevain, Room to Grow is a woodland farm and guesthouse set amongst gently rolling landscape, close to Turtle Mountain Provincial Park and the Souris River Bend. The idyllic stay also offers sustainability tours and has two guest homes to choose from: The Pondhouse (overlooking the beaver pond) and Straw Bale Guesthouse (made of straw bales and locally cut and milled poplar).

PART THREE

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.

J.A.V. David Museum

Tick this small-town museum off your list and get to know the history of Killarney and area through many pieces of period clothing, furniture, books, room exhibits, pre-contact artifacts and more.