In Manitoba, you'll find two national parks, 54 provincial parks and hundreds of municipal green spaces for your outdoor adventures.
Drive time: 2 hours
Step into the desert-like conditions without leaving Manitoba. Located near Glenboro, in the southwest corner of Manitoba, Spruce Woods Provincial Park is home to Spirit Sands, sand dunes that tower 30 metres above the surrounding prairie. Watch for the northern prairie skink, Manitoba's only lizard, along with the Western hognose snake and two species of cacti-all of which are unique in Manitoba. Hike along self-guided trails or join a horse-drawn covered wagon ride to explore rolling hills of native prairie, lush deciduous forests, and mysterious blue-green ponds. Fill your family's day with a wide range of interpretive programs including slide shows at the amphitheatre, guided hikes, and swimming at Kiche Manitou Beach.
Drive time: 1.5 hours
Whiteshell Provincial Park is an idyllic site for everything from mild beach and golf vacations to rugged adventures on the wide side. The sweeping forest vistas and rocky outcroppings set the stage for swimming, paddling, or fishing. Reel perch, walleye or even a massive lake trout. Trails range from an easy three kilometre walk to challenging 60-kilometre trek. Resorts and campgrounds throughout the park offer many options to stay the night, but it is possible to pick one part of the park to see in a day. Canoe through the Caddy Lake Rock Tunnels, carved out of the rock by railroad construction. Or visit Wesk Hawk Lake - the deepest lake in Manitoba - believed to have been created by a meteorite crater. The Falcon Lake townsite offers mini golf, horseback riding, a beach, restaurants, and a picnic area.
Drive time: 2.5 hours
Named after Mount Hekla, an Icelandic volcano, this gem of a park is filled with dense forests, rugged shorelines and lush marshes teeming with cormorants, herons, and many types of songbirds and waterfowl. Explore this provincial park's trail system, including the scenic Lighthouse Trail as well as trail through Hecla Village. This restored village on the lake's edge traces the history of the Icelandic settlement of the area. Take in a round of golf at the championship course, enjoy a massage at the Hecla Lakeview Resort spa, or make arrangements at the Gull Harbour Marina for a lift out to Black Island.
Drive time: 3 hours
Riding Mountain National Park is a nature-lover's dream. Black bears, white-tailed deer, elk, beavers, and moose roam here. Wolves, coyotes, and owls love to serenade visitors. Check out the Lake Audy Bison Enclosure, home to a herd of 30 plains bison. Bike or hike on 400 kilometres of trails, take in the views from the hills of the Manitoba Escarpment, trip through the boreal forest, and tee off at the award-winning Clear Lake Golf Course. The park's townsite, Wasagaming, features a charming mix of shops and restaurants and offers easy access to Clear Lake for swimming or fishing.