Manitoba has a lot of water. Like a lot. There are over 100,000 lakes and waterways in this province. What better way to enjoy all this watery goodness than from a boat? Here is a variety of options to get you on a boat this summer.
Soak up some history and scenic views on a half hour tour of downtown Winnipeg from the Red and Assiniboine Rivers. These tours depart from The Forks harbour every 15 minutes from 10 am to sunset, every day of the week from May long weekend to October 15. Your captain will point out points of interest along the way. Get your tickets from the Splash Dash kiosk at The Forks harbour.
While in Thompson, enjoy the serenity of the boreal forest on this two-hour tour of the Burntwood River to Manasan Falls aboard a spacious pontoon boat. Tours depart from the Thompson city docks between 8 am and 8 pm Monday to Saturday and from 1:30 pm to 8 pm on Sundays. Keep an eye out for river otter, beaver and although spotting a wolf on the tour isn’t likely, you will get a glorious view of fast flowing Manasan Falls.
Clear Lake in Riding Mountain National Park is one of Manitoba’s most popular lakes. See why for yourself aboard a cruise on the Martese. The one-hour afternoon cruise includes thorough interpretation of the park’s cultural and geological history, the region’s natural landscape and other park attractions. The one-hour sunset cruises are a little more laid back, with the captain and crew making themselves available to answer your questions. And the dinner cruise will having you feasting on a tasty three-course meal. There are cruises departing every day in July and August, check the schedule online. Dinner cruises require advance reservations.
Hop aboard a jet boat for a thrilling ride up the Nelson River to York Factory National Historic Site. This full day excursion, a 386 km round trip, departs from Gillam and is filled with amazing history and incredible wildlife. Stops at York Factory and Port Nelson, once bustling northern settlements, offer a glimpse into the past. See artifacts excavated from the site and wander through the oldest wooden building built on permafrost in Canada. Plus this once-in-a-lifetime trip offers a chance to see incredible wildlife, such as moose, black bear, eagles, wolves, caribou, seals, beluga whales and even polar bears!
For more northern adventures, climb aboard the Sam Hearne, Lazy Bear Expeditions’ custom vessel used in its Arctic summer adventures. These adventures follow the Hudson Bay coastline – the same route followed by the explorer for whom the boat is named. The Sam Hearne can navigate through shallow water near the coast, favourite summing resting and hunting spots for polar bears. With a bathroom onboard and meals served during the tour, you’ll be able to comfortably enjoy watching pods of beluga whales in their natural habitat in the Churchill River and the Hudson Bay. You can also explore this area on a tour with Sea North Tours and their family-friendly whale watching tour that includes a stop at Fort Prince of Wales.
While Gull Harbour on Hecla Island offers 70 slips for all sizes of watercraft, in addition to kayak and jetski rentals, you can arrange to charter the Li’l Viking, a 35-foot express cruiser, complete with a crew of two including a registered skipper. Get a group of family or friends together (the ideal group size is eight people) and call to arrange your private tour in and around Hecla Island, including some remote beaches further north only accessible by water.
Find a Manitoba fishing lodge or outfitter to take you out on the water for a guided fishing excursion. The guides’ knowledge of the area will mean not only great fishing, but the chance to take in the surroundings too. For example, your guide from Wekusko Falls Lodge could take you to Tramping Lake to see ancient Indigenous pictographs (rock paintings) while a stay at Bakers Narrows Lodge could come complete with a sunset cruise around the lake.
Here are a two human-powered watercraft tour options:
Paddle through Nopiming Provincial Park with Twin River Travel on a 2-5 day canoe trip. These trips are designed for paddlers with a range of experience and all equipment and provisions are provided.
Explore Hecla Island, Netley and Willow Creeks on a kayaking daytrip with Prairie Sea Kayak, located five kilometres from Gimli. They have a variety of tours, including the Icelandic River History Tour and a Yoga Kayak Tour.