What ever happened to adventure? You know, packing a bag and seeing where the open road takes you? It's time to step out of your city-limit comfort zone and explore more of our stunning province! How many of these activities can you tick off this year? Here are 10 more fantastic things to do that are NOT in Winnipeg...
1. Slither into the Narcisse Snake Dens
Sssooo, you like snakes? Even if you don't, the snakes of Narcisse are totally harmless, some might even say cute, and draw in crowds annually for their spring awakening. Historically, the best time to view the snakes is on and around the Mother's Day weekend (a perfect gift for mom, if you ask me) when they emerge from their dens to engage in frenzied mating balls. Keep an eye on the update page for current conditions and snake sightings!
2. Stay in a castle
There's already something so cute and quaint about staying in a small town's Bed and Breakfast, but Bella's Castle takes it to a whole new level! Located in Morden (which, as it happens, makes for a lovely weekend trip), Bella's Castle is a historic home turned B&B that houses five stunning bedrooms and an inviting wraparound porch. The Tea Room will satisfy your cravings for breakfast and lunch, with an assortment of specialty loose leaf teas. The B&B also hosts regular theme night dinners, so call ahead to see if your visit falls on one of these special evenings.
3. Hike a sand dune
Up for a challenging hike? Late spring is the best time to spend the day in Spruce Woods Provincial Park, before the weather gets too hot (and trust me, you'll feel it here). Sand, cacti and prairie slithering skinks make up this desert-like landscape that is completely unique in Manitoba. The most difficult route in the Spirit Sands Self-guided Trail will take you to the Devils Punch Bowl, a bowl-shaped depression that measures 45 metres deep to reveal a pool of blue-green water.
4. Go back in time to the historic York Factory
History buffs need look no further than Manitoba's vibrant north, where our storied past runs deep. A York Factory day trip begins in the unassuming town of Gillam, where Nelson River Adventures launches off down the Nelson River and into the Hudson Bay. Keep your eyes peeled along the way, as sightings of beluga whales and polar bears are absolutely possible. Once you arrive at the main attraction, York Factory, spend a few hours with Parks Canada interpreters to learn about the region's unique history, see artifacts that continue to wash up on shore and discover the crucial role that the factory played in the days of the fur trade.
5. Spend the day at Lilac Resort
Those with kids will find that the tropical paradise that is Lilac Resort is simply the best place to cool off on hot summer days. And yes, you'll love it too! The pristine grounds offer not one, not two, NOT EVEN THREE OR FOUR, but FIVE slides that empty into two pools. Beyond this, Lilac Resort also has DJs, entertainment and games going on throughout the day and events all summer like Christmas in July and Halloween in August.
6. See the bison of Riding Mountain National Park
If you haven't taken the drive to see the bison of Lake Audy in Riding Mountain National Park, what are you waiting for? This large enclosure contains a herd of 30 plains bison, which are best viewed in the early morning or late evening. Do drive carefully, as these bison are known to wander onto the road.
7. Wander the International Peace Garden
Journey to the heart of the Turtle Mountains to find the International Peace Garden, 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 gardens and flora. PLEASE NOTE: A passport is required to enter this attraction, as it straddles the border!
8. Float down the Pinawa Channel
If floating peacefully down a lazy river seems appealing to you this summer, don't miss the opportunity to take in the gorgeous scenery of the Pinawa Channel! Contact Wilderness Edge Resort in Pinawa for affordable tube rentals and be sure to bring your own personal flotation devices. If possible, the fine folks at the resort will also facilitate transportation to the drop off point (as well as help you get your car to the end point for when you're done the float)! The channel route ends when you see the suspension bridge, which happens to make for excellent photos!
9. Catch a flick at the drive in
Quit reminiscing about the good ol' days and start living them! Morden's Stardust Drive-in is one of the only remaining drive-in movie theatres left in Manitoba. The season starts up again in the summer and runs well into the fall, with movie times and showings posted on their Facebook page.
10. Celebrate the bi-annual Medieval Festival
Since we didn't get another season of Game of Thrones this year, the bi-annual Medieval Festival is just the thing to get us through the lack of kings, queens and dragons on television. And it's more than worth the wait. This year's festival is slated in for July 28, 2018 with tickets going on sale online on April 24. Set on the magnificent grounds of the Immaculate Conception Church Of Cooks Creek, the festival includes all the medieval favourites like jousting, archery, dancing, singing, general merriment, puppet shows, a medieval market and more. Don't forget to dress the part!