How to Make the Most of Your Visit to Clear Lake in Summer 2024

Posted May 14, 2024

While Clear Lake undergoes measures to facilitate the detection of zebra mussels and decrease the risk of their spread, Riding Mountain National Park is still a vibrant hub of activity and adventure. This summer, with a temporary restriction on personal watercraft to preserve the lake, visitors to the park still have a treasure trove of activities to make their vacation memorable. From serene trails for hiking and biking to lively beach activities, the natural beauty of Riding Mountain National Park continues to welcome everyone.

Dive into our guide on how to make the most of your visit to Clear Lake Country this summer. Adventure still awaits - the heart of the park beats stronger than ever!

For more information on Clear Lake and to get answers to FAQs on the zebra mussel related regulations, click here.

Beyond the Paddle

Clear Lake is still the bustling heart of the park this summer. Even though you can’t put your own boats, kayaks, canoes, SUPs and other inflatables in the water this summer, families can still enjoy a day in the water swimming or playing on a floatie. Build sandcastles, sunbathe, have a picnic, stroll the pier - the beaches of Clear Lake are open to everyone. If fishing is your pastime of choice, visitors are still allowed to fish the waters of Clear Lake off-shore or off the main pier.

Around Town

Whether you're grabbing something for your picnic, grabbing a beer on a patio or settling down for a family meal - Wasagaming is a foodie town! TR McKoys is a favourite for visitors and locals alike, known for its pizza, pasta and cozy, dimly lit atmosphere.

Sit outside and enjoy the sunshine with patio drinks and food at Lakehouse or 1929 Dining & Lounge. Nearby in Onanole, Sporty’s is a hidden gem for burgers and pizza while Poor Michael’s Emporium pairs eclectic shopping finds with a delicious cafe breakfast or lunch.

In the morning, follow the scent of fresh cinnamon buns to the beloved Whitehouse Bakery - a must-try during any visit to Clear Lake.

As for grabbing food for your hike or picnic - Camp Cantina is the place to go! You’ll find upscale grocery items as well as some of the yummiest sandwiches in town.

Take time to explore the town shops for unique gifts, local goods and exclusive Clear Lake Country merchandise. Add the Chocolate Fox, The Cove Fashion, The Sugar Shoppe and The Spinning Wheel to your list - you're sure to come home with a new treasure.

Cap off your evening with a classic Clear Lake stroll, indulging in ice cream from The Boardwalk or The Velvet Dip as you watch the sunset over the horizon. Or, plan to catch a flick at The Park Theatre - the largest log cabin theatre in North America.

One of the best ways to get around the park is by bike. Hit a cycling trail or just plan a tour to see the sites - be sure to add the fairytale-esque Wishing Well to your route! Rentals (two wheel or four) are available from Beavertails Bike Rentals, Friends of Riding Mountain National Park or Clear Lake Gas & Bike Rentals. If you need something with a bit more speed, try an e-bike rental from Clear Lake Marina.

Cool Stays

Cabins, motels, hotels, lodges, chalets or campsites - it’s truly choose your own adventure in Clear Lake Country. For kid-friendly locations with pools, check out Smokey Hollow in Onanole or Mooswa Resort, Thunderbird Bungalows, Cottages at Clear Lake and Manigaming Resort in the Wasagaming townsite. On the edge of Riding Mountain National Park, you’ll find Elkhorn Resort - home to the NEW Klar So Nordic Spa and the ever-popular indoor waterpark.

Accommodations within Wasagaming include Lakehouse, Arrowhead Resort, Arbutus Cabins and the brand new Stowaway Inn. Further afield in the park, plan to stay at the idyllic Riding Mountain House or the perfectly rustic Crooked Mountain Cabins.

If you’re looking for an elevated camping experience this summer, consider a night at permanent ‘glamping’ structures like the Parks Canada oTENTiks, Micro-cube, yurt and Turtle Village.

Full Cruise Ahead

Have no fear - the popular afternoon and sunset history cruises aboard the Martese are set to take sail this summer. Guided by the ever-friendly and informative Captain Kelsey and crew, it’s a must-do to learn the park and lake history! There’s a menu on board if you prefer to take in the sunset over some nibblies.

Book your tour tickets online or at the Clear Lake Marina kiosk located on the main pier - the tours can often sell out!

Hit the Trails

Riding Mountain National Parks has an astonishing array of views, ecosystems, plants and wildlife, as well as fascinating natural and cultural history. Trails are the best way to take in all this richness! During summer you can leisurely walk, jog, cycle or ride along nearly 370 kilometers of trails spread throughout the park, each offering its own distinct experience and required skill level. Choose your own trail adventure here or visit the Parks Canada Visitor Information Centre or Friends of Riding Mountain Learning Centre in Wasagaming to ask staff about trail conditions and their recommendations.

For the best of land and water, hike the Brûlé Trail to Kinosao Lake. Make your way through the forest and over a series of boardwalks to find the lake and a first-come-first-serve canoe.

Set amongst rolling hills, 9 Finger Ranch is the place to go for a scenic horseback ride through a peaceful corner of Riding Mountain National Park.

Wildlife Wonders

Of course, there is more to watch than just people in Riding Mountain National Park. Wildlife enthusiasts and photographers are drawn to the backroads and quiet corners of Riding Mountain’s nearly 3,000 square kilometers for a lucky encounter with black bears, deer, moose, elk and maybe a lynx (if you’re patient enough). The park’s gentle prairie giants - a herd of protected plains bison - can be viewed at Lake Audy Bison Enclosure on a self-guided driving safari. Your chances for viewing any wildlife are best in the early morning or around dusk. Please check in at the Parks Canada Visitor Information Centre on the condition of the road to Lake Audy before heading out as closures are expected through to July.

Say Fore!

Built in 1928, Clear Lake Golf Course is often considered the most scenic and well-designed courses in Manitoba. It is 18 holes full of challenges; the undulating landscapes of some of the greens make you feel like you’re not even in Manitoba. Renowned architect Stanley Thompson designed the front 9, while the back 9 was constructed by Vic Creed. After a game, be sure to enjoy views over the 9th green from the patio with a pint in hand at Nine restaurant and lounge. For mini-golfers, putt your way around a course with your little ones at these locations. Clear Lake Adventure Mini Golf is located right beside the main beach between Parks Canada Visitor Information Centre and the tennis clubhouse. Big Putts Mini Golf is located outside the park in Onanole and has a full menu of treats like smoothies and ice cream to enjoy after a round in the sun.