I always love a good road trip, but I also love sleeping in my own bed. Thankfully in Manitoba, there are so many amazing and diverse places to visit - all just outside the perimeter - so people like me can have the best of both worlds.
This trip’s got a bit of everything: good food, wildlife, fresh air and beautiful nature - all wrapped up with some AC and a chance to come home with a thicker wallet than you came with. Follow along with us!
Stop #1: Pelicans, pelicans & more pelicans at Lockport Provincial Park
When I was told there’d be pelicans at the locks at Lockport Provincial Park, I thought maybe we’d see a few, depending on the day. What I didn’t realize was that when they say you’re going to see pelicans, they mean you are really going to see pelicans. Head down to the water and you get a front row seat for endless entertainment of pelicans hunting for fish, fighting off their friends, and soaring gracefully through the sky. As a photographer, the spot provided countless photo-worthy moments, with the water running down the locks acting as an engaging and visually appealing backdrop for the action.
Joining the flock of pelicans is a flock of boats trying their luck at the massive catfish that come out of the Red River. Hang around for long enough, you’re almost sure to see a angler pull out a fish big enough make your jaw drop, or maybe even show up in your nightmares, depending on the type of person you are.
Stop #2: Lunchtime at Skinner's
While you’re in Lockport, you’ve got to stop by Skinner's for a hot dog, burger, milkshake, onion rings…OK maybe anything they have on the menu.
With history dating back to 1929, Skinner's is full of nostalgia, and after ordering you’ll be full with what many consider to be the best hotdog in Manitoba. The atmosphere, the location, and the food itself is everything you want in a classic drive-in, and it’s the perfect way to fuel up for the next stop on our itinerary.
Stop #3: Brokenhead Wetland Interpretive Trail
After taking in the sights at Lockport, it’s time to head into your car and drive to the other side of Lake Winnipeg over to Brokenhead Wetland Interpretive Trail. The beautiful trail just off Highway 59 is a wetland trail along a sacred area used by the local Ojibway for over 300 years. The trail has a boardwalk installed all the way through, making the 1.83 km (3.66 km return) hike fully wheelchair accessible, while also including a self-guided tour teaching you about the land, the history, and the indigenous culture and principles engrained in the sacred area . The second you step out of your car you’re taken aback by the wonderful smell of cedar and the sound of birds chirping all around you.
Every stretch and every corner is picturesque, with a wonderful mix of forest, wildlife, and wetland, and its pedestrian friendly boardwalk not only opens the hike up to all skill levels, but it keeps the land itself undisturbed and in place as nature intended.
Stop #4: Southbeach Casino and Resort
With a full day spent outdoors, it’s time to bring things inside and enjoy the comforts of everything Southbeach Casino and Resort has to offer.
With over 600 slot machines, and six different table games (including roulette and blackjack), a stop at the casino is a tradition many folks have when they’re in the area. They have the classics, as well as countless new and interactive games to choose from. My favourite was The Simpsons game, which cheered with me when I was doing well, and mocked me when I wasn’t. Thankfully, when things aren’t going to well, there’s more to do than just gamble.
Blue Dolphin Lounge
Whether you’re taking a break from the slots, or sitting this one out, the Blue Dolphin Lounge is a great spot to relax. With a strong menu of appetizers, platters, and traditional lounge food, complimented with an excellent cocktail menu, the lounge is a great hang. Try the lime daiquiri - it’s big, sweet, ridiculous, and full of flavour.
Mango’s Kitchen and Grill
Mango’s Kitchen and Grill has a full-service menu - and it is delicious! We ordered the steak sandwich, along with the penne alfredo, and both were well-presented, flavourful, and overall tasty. If you’re a long-time fan of Mango’s and you’re missing the buffet, they offer it for lunch seven days a week, and brunch every weekend.
With a full stomach, and hopefully a fuller wallet, it’s time to head on home. After a day trip like this, when your friends and family ask what you were up to this weekend, you can confidently say, “A little bit of everything.”