The ULTIMATE guide to summer in Churchill, Manitoba
February 27, 2023
| Author Breanne Sewards
A trip to the northern town of Churchill, Manitoba is not the easiest trip in the world. It can be expensive. There are limited transportation options...and even more limited seasons. But guess what? A visit to this very special region is absolutely worth your trouble. To help you along your journey, here's everything you need to know about visiting Churchill in the summer months.
When to go
July and August, with some tours extending into early September
What you can see
Known as the "canaries of the sea" for their underwater whistles and chirps, beluga whales are notoriously friendly and curious creatures. Each summer, 57000 of these amazing animals make their way to the Hudson Bay to feed and birth, 4000 of which enter the Churchill River Estuary. There are a number of ways that you can experience this natural wonder:
Kayaking: 3 hour kayaking excursions with beluga whales are offered through Lazy Bear Expeditions and Sea North Tours.
Stand-up paddleboarding: Get a new vantage point atop a SUP (stand-up paddleboard) with Sea North Tours.
Beluga AquaGliding™: This brand new Lazy Bear Expeditions experience gets you closer to the water, allowing you to glide along the surface as beluga whales swim in the river.
Zodiac/Boat: Several companies offer boat tours of the bay in their packages, or you can do it a la carte with Sea North Tours.
Summer may not be polar bear season ( that title is reserved for October and November), but you still have a good chance to see bears as they lounge on the shorelines and play in the vibrant fireweed.
While peak northern lights season occurs from January to March, Churchill sees the sky light up with the aurora borealis 300 days a year, which means there's a pretty good chance you'll see them on your summer trip to Churchill. The trick is to download the aurora app to track activity, keep an eye on the forecast (clear skies are necessary) and be prepared to stay up late or set an alarm for the middle of the night when the sky is at its darkest.
If you're a birding enthusiast, you may want to consider a trip to Churchill in the spring when activity is at its peak. But that's not to say you can't see an abundance of birds in the summer months, too. Keep your eyes peeled for hawks, falcons, snowy owls, tundra swans and of course the rare Ross's Gull.
Every summer, the tundra comes alive with colour as the fireweed blooms and the snow gives way to the orange lichen, miniature shrubs, scarlet bearberries and glacier-sculpted boulders that lay scattered across this unique landscape.
Polar bears and beluga whales often take the spotlight for summer in Churchill (and rightfully so), but you'll also be amazed by the abundance of other incredible subarctic wildlife, from the noble caribou to the hardy arctic fox.
The best (and most carefree) way to experience Churchill is with a tour package. Tour packages often cover your transportation from Winnipeg, all your meals, accommodations and excursions but be sure to check the fine details of each offer.
Lazy Bear Expeditions: Ultimate Bears & Belugas Summer Adventure, Beluga Whale Dream Tour
Natural Habitat Adventures: Belugas, Bears & Summer Wildlife of Churchill
Frontiers North: Churchill Belugas and Bears Explorer, Churchill Belugas and Bears Explorer by Train, Belugas, Bears and Blooms, Belugas, Bears and Blooms by Train, Canada's Big Five Safari, Conservation Journey: Beluga Whales, Family Learning Adventure: Beluga Whales, Subarctic Discovery: Churchill Beluga Whales
Churchill Wild: Birds, Bears and Belugas, Hudson Bay Odyssey, Arctic Discovery, Summer Dual Lodge Safari
Churchill Northern Studies Centre: Belugas in the Bay, Wild Planet
Heartland Travel: Local Beluga Adventurer
Nanuk Operations: Simply Summer
Discover Churchill: Changing Colours of the Tundra (September)
If you don't want to travel to Churchill with a package, there are do-it-yourself style options available! If you are planning on a DIY trip to Churchill, be sure to also plan to be polar bear safe - this means always exploring with an experienced guide.
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 email@example.com.
Editorial Content Specialist