Life Is Grand! Here's How to Make the Most of Summer with a Trip to Grand Marais

Posted March 11, 2024 | Author Breanne Sewards

How can you make your summer in Manitoba even more glorious? With a trip to Grand Marais, of course. This small beach town is situated next to Grand Beach Provincial Park, a haven of fine white sand that extends as far as the eye can see. If we haven't yet convinced you to take a day trip to this stretch of Lake Winnipeg, read on for our full itinerary!

Coffee break at Spirit Rock Inn

Can't start your morning without a specialty coffee? A stop into the Spirit Rock Inn is in order! This quaint motel serves as the area's cafe, and makes a mean latte. Warm (or cold) beverages can be enjoyed alongside baked goods inside or on the small patio, while a little shopping can be done in the eclectic boutique that sells everything from dreamcatchers to purses and housewares.

Sipping ice coffee by Spirit Rock: Enjoying refreshment amidst nature's tranquility and scenic beauty.
Black and white ladybug art: Striking monochrome depiction of nature's tiny marvel, exuding artistic elegance.

Central Market

The Grand Marais Central Market sets up every Friday (2:00 pm to 6:00 pm) from June 28 until September 13, 2024 at the Grand Marais Community Central Grounds. While the market is fairly small, you're sure to find a hidden gem - from custom walking sticks to gorgeous pieces of woodworking to freshly baked goods. I stopped by a vintage jewelry stand and picked up this adorable beetle brooch. Don't forget to head into the building for more vendors!

In between browsing vendors, take a break in the Grand Marais Community Central Heritage Wing, a small but impressive display that showcases the history of the region. We've all heard (or told) stories about the legendary Moonlight Express - the train that, for 50 cents return fare, brought people of all ages to Grand Beach for dances and days spent in the sand. The Heritage Wing remembers these good ol' days with an interactive town replica and an operating model train.

Picnic table variety eats: A delicious spread of culinary delights ready to be enjoyed amidst nature's embrace.

Grab a bite to eat

The day's activities are bound to have you working up an appetite, and there are several options on the beach and in town that will satiate your hunger. In town, Lanky's is an institution of Grand Marais and is famous for its 24" hotdogs - a culinary challenge worthy of a bucket list. While hotdogs in the summertime are certainly ideal, we were on the beach when lunch hit and instead opted for Gray's Boxcar, a staple of the Grand Beach boardwalk. This food stand has a unique menu, going beyond the usual burgers and fries to offer up several healthy bowls (with vegetarian options) and salads. We tried a spread of mozza sticks, the chicken caesar box and the buddha box (noodles, chick peas, lentils, and tons of veggies) and gave the entire meal top points! Gray's Boxcar also serves breakfast, in case you want a hearty start to your beach day.

Soak up the sun on the beach

What trip to Grand Beach would be complete without a little sunbathing and swimming? Feel the fine white sand between your toes and pick a spot on the long stretch of beach - or get a group together for a volleyball game on one of the sand courts.

We were lucky enough to watch a impressive sand sculpture being constructed - but if you want to guarantee some sand art in your itinerary, head to Grand Beach for the annual Sandcastle contest - 2024 dates TBA!

There are also several shops to peruse along the boardwalk, well equipped with all the beach necessities from clothing to floaties to towels and sunglasses (and some really cute mini surf boards).

Hike the Ancient Beach Trail

The Ancient Beach Trailhead is a 10 minute drive from the main beach at Grand Beach, but is well worth the short detour. While walking along this fairytale-like trail, you'll be surprised to learn that you are actually crossing the beach of glacial Lake Agassiz, which disappeared about 8000 years ago. But the evidence is there - just inches below the pine needles and soil, you'll find sand that was deposited by glacial activity 14,000 years ago. You'll also find many large boulders and what's left of a small erosional escarpment between two beach levels. The return distance is just over two kilometres, with the full loop taking 45 minutes to an hour for the average hiker.

Paws in Parks

Bringing your pup along for the fun? The west end and east end of the beach (outside of defined swim area) are dog-friendly.

Grand Marais map location: Discovering adventure and tranquility at the heart of nature's splendor.

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

Editorial Content Specialist