Manitoba road trips: Windmills & Prairie Hills

Posted April 30, 2021

From windmills to waterslides, explore the province’s central region. Spend a day or two in Portage la Prairie before opting for a day trip to nearby Delta Marsh and then making your way to Holland and Carman for plenty of small town charm.

This summer, we're featuring an amazing collection of road trips that will help you explore every corner of Manitoba. The Windmills and Prairie Hills road trip takes place on Treaty 1 territory. From water parks and windmills to great eats and watching wildlife on some great trails there's something fun for everyone.

Part one

Portage la Prairie

There is so much to see and do on this island on the prairies. Perfect for a family getaway, you’ll never run out of fun to be had.

Bannock Point Petroforms Tour

The Bannock Point Petroforms (known to the Anishinaabe as Manitouabee, or where the spirit sits) is a sacred site with stones laid out on the bedrock in the shapes of snakes, turtles and a Thunderbird. The rock formations are believed to have been made centuries ago for teaching and healing ceremonies. Set up a tour with Diane Maytwayashing of Whiteshell Indigenous Knowledge and Wisdom or discover the site on your own by following the trail.

Where to stay

Farm Away Retreat is just outside the city limits and is just so darn charming, you'll wonder if you walked into a storybook. The sprawling farmhouse boasts 5 spacious rooms, a huge kitchen, enormous living area and views of the verdant back garden that is bursting with hidden treasures. Book a stay in the Prairie Oasis Room with its big bay window and adjoining room perfect for the kids to have their own little space, complete with kid sized beds, activity books and puzzles as welcome gifts.

Or rest your head at CanadInns Portage la Prairie, complete with several on-site restaurants, pool with waterslides and gaming lounge.

What to do

Fort la Reine Museum

This collection of 25 historic buildings is the perfect place for some exploration and education. The recreated buildings not only honour the history of the area, but aim to show what life was like on the prairies 'once upon a time'. Visit a school house, trapper's cabin, doctor's office, dentist's office (complete with a creepy and uncomfortable looking dentist's chair), law office, general store, printing press, firehouse and more.

Ahead of your visit, check out Fort La Reine's website for hours of operation and any scheduled events. In the past, they've conducted homesteading activities such as getting hands on with bannock making, butter churning, soap making, pioneer crafts and more.

Stride Place

Just because summer is over, nothing says you can't still get in some water park fun. Stride Place, located on island park, features a can't-miss aquatic centre. This indoor water park features a wave pool, water slide, lazy river, splashing water feature and a soft and squishy floor, so that sitting and standing in the pool is super comfy.

Kids splashing around at Stride Place waterpark in Portage la Prairie.

Island Park

Formed by an oxbow lake that was once part of the Assiniboine River, the almost island forms a 'P' and gives this park its name. This picturesque recreation area features tennis courts, a disc golf course, a playground, and outdoor bandstand. The park also offers sheltered and open picnic areas and public art, along with miles of walking and bike trails to explore.

A family walks amonst the trees in Island Park on a beautiful sunny summer day.
Visual Soul Studios

Where to Eat

A weekend away wouldn't be complete without some nosh to go with it. Head to Bill's Sticky Fingers for their famous ribs or a heaping plate of souvlaki. Nearby, Over the Coals is known for their giant, melty subs if you're in the mood for some serious carbs. Kids and train buffs will marvel at Lita's Station where the interior is made for train lovers of all kinds. Hundreds of model train cars decorate the space while a train track along the ceiling boasts a moving train to go with your burgers. Be sure to try the crispy homemade fries.

Chicken kebabs on rice with a side of tzaziki at Bills Sticky Fingers in Portage la Prairie

Part two

Looking through the marsh grasses at the main buildings at Delta Marsh.

Delta Marsh and Park

Take a day trip out to Delta Marsh, one of the largest and most important marshes on the Canadian prairies. Situated on the southern shore of Lake Manitoba, explore 18,000 hectares where furred friends like white-tailed deer are common. Keep an eye out for gray partridge, sharp tailed grouse, coyote, beavers and muskrats. Delta Marsh is a critical spot for migrating song birds and is home to western grebes, pelicans and cormorants.

Post marsh exploration, head to Delta Beach for sun and sand on the southern shore of Lake Manitoba. Enjoy the sprawling farmland that stretches in every direction along the province's second big lake.

PART 3

Holland

No, you don't have to go overseas to see Holland. We have our very own right here in Manitoba, named after the first postmaster Arthur Holland. The picturesque small town has fully embraced the Dutch vibes of its name, with its famous windmill roadside attraction garnering dozens upon dozens of photo-ops each summer by those passing through.

Less than an hour from Portage la Prairie, Holland makes for an excellent stop to admire its scenic rolling hills and quaint main street. In the town is the Gothic-style Holland Emmanuel Historical Church and the impressive Tiger Hills Art Centre, which features local artists each month. Insider tip: Stop into The Hollander restaurant for some excellent and authentic homemade samosas!

Carman

Settled in 1870 and incorporated in 1905, Carman is a gem of a town with plenty of amenities and activities to enjoy. Stay at one of the three bed and breakfasts: Bell Aura, Bishop Bay or Riverwalk, and enjoy this quaint town's natural surroundings. Explore 6 km of pathway through scenic Carman, golf an 18-hole course, bring a group for beach volleyball in King's Park, or go bowling at the local alley. Plan your trip in conjunction with festivals such as the Carman Country Fair and Blizzard Fest.

Don't leave without stopping in at the famous Syl's Drive Inn or the Carman Bakery & Pastry Shop for a bite to eat!


Looking down the length of the boardwalk through the trees on a sunny day.