Between the lakes – the region’s name says it all. Covering the area between the 6th and 13th largest freshwater lakes in Canada, Lake Winnipeg and Lake Manitoba, if there’s one thing you can find a lot of in the Interlake, it’s shoreline. Here are just a handful of the beaches of the Interlake – which one will you visit this summer?
Matlock Beach is one in a series of beaches along Lake Winnipeg’s southwestern shore that offers access to the lake for swimming, windsurfing, and other water activities along with those iconic piers. Located in the cottage community of Dunnottar, stop for a wood-fired pizza at Whytewold Emporium or head less than 10 minutes down the road to visit Winnipeg Beach, another iconic lakeside spot. The white sandy beach was so popular in the early 1900s that every weekend 40,000 beach lovers paid fifty cents for a round trip fare on one of the 13 trains running the line between the beach and Winnipeg.
Twin Lakes Beach
Twin Lakes Beach, also sometimes called Twin Beaches, is located on a narrow piece of land dividing Lake Francis and Lake Manitoba near the town of St. Laurent. The beach was formed over a long period as the water from the two lakes transferred and accumulated sand between the banks of the lakes. This popular cottage country area and beach, which underwent restoration after the 2011 flood, is a great spot for swimming, windsurfing and enjoying the soft sandy beach.
While Gimli is known for its warm Icelandic hospitality, this lakeside town is also home to an active sailing community, thanks to the Gimli Yacht Club. Watch the boats from the beach – there is club racing every Wednesday night or sign up for sailing lessons for yourself. And while you’re in town, be sure to learn a little more about its Icelandic roots at the New Iceland Heritage Museum and then stop for a bite to eat at Kris’ Fish & Chips, enjoying locally caught pickerel and homemade fries.
Sunset Beach, one of two main beaches in Hecla Provincial Park (the other being Gull Harbour Beach), is on the northwestern side of the island. This pet friendly beach is a lovely spot to watch the sunset after a day exploring the trails through the marsh, along Lake Winnipeg and through the historic Hecla Village. And when the sun finally sets, enjoy the night in the nearby campground or opt to stay the Lakeview Hecla Resort, which is also pet friendly.
On the shores of Lake Manitoba, take in the impressive cliffs that tower over the lake below. Thousands of years of waves lapping against the limestone have created these unique rock formations. Explore the area’s beaches, private coves and trails by foot or ATV or rent a kayak, canoe or stand up paddle board to get to know the area by water. Make sure to bring a rod as the fishing here is great. Stay at the Steep Rock Beach Campground or a local vacation rental and enjoy the area’s relaxed vibes.
Manitoba’s most popular beach may be Grand Beach, and rightly so. This nearly 3-km stretch of beach on the east side of Lake Winnipeg is lined with soft, powdery white sand. Grand Beach is often referenced as one of the top beaches in North America. But not only is it a perfect place for an afternoon is the sun, the nearby campground offers easy access to explore the rest of the provincial park, like the Ancient Beach trail that takes you along the former shoreline of ancient Lake Agassiz. Grand Beach is also home to the endangered piping plovers. Enclosures set up on the beach ensure provide the birds a safe area to nest.