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The following day trip suggestions will give you a good starting point for exploring beyond Winnipeg’s borders. Do note that a car will almost always be a necessity, as public transit to these destinations is extremely limited, if non-existent.
Pembina Valley. Located a two-hour drive southwest of Winnipeg, the lush gullies and forested hillsides of the Pembina Valley provides a nice contrast to the otherwise flat topography that surround the city. Go to Morden to visit the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre, home to the largest marine reptile fossils in Canada. In the summertime, sign yourself up for a fossil dig where you can be a paleontologist for the day. A half-hour drive southwest of Morden is Hy-Wire Zipline Adventures, where you can zip-line on five different cables across 150-foot ravines. For a more relaxing nature excursion, go for a self-guided walk through Pembina Valley Provincial Park along the Manitoba-North Dakota border. The forests of gnarled oak trees and beautiful valley vistas provide the perfect day trip for nature enthusiasts.
Whiteshell Provincial Park. Only two hours east of Winnipeg, the tall grass prairie disappears and the forested Canadian Shield begins. It’s here on the Manitoba-Ontario border where you’ll find Whiteshell Provincial Park, a popular summer destination for boaters, campers, and hikers. Falcon Lake and West Hawk Lake are the easiest to access as a day trip, with their shops, cafés, and popular beachfront. In the winter, Falcon Lake offers skiing and is home to a biathlon training facility.
Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site. Located a 30-minute drive north of Winnipeg on the banks of the Red River is the Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site, an absolute must for history lovers. This Hudson Bay Fort was built in 1830 and is considered to be North America’s only restored stone fort from the fur trade era. Explore the blacksmith shop, the furloft, and the warehouse, and be transported back in time to the era of Canada’s fur trade. Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy it on the beautifully scenic grounds.
Gimli. The charming lakeside village of Gimli is located an hour and 15 minutes north of Winnipeg along the western shore of Lake Winnipeg. A popular summer getaway, Gimli is home to the largest Icelandic settlement outside of Iceland. Every August, the town hosts the Icelandic Festival where Viking battle re-enactments, Icelandic food, and live music is just part of what’s on offer. Outside of the festival, visitors flock here for the beach and fishing, and to explore the quaint boutiques and restaurants.
Grand Beach Provincial Park. Situated on the eastern shore of Lake Winnipeg about an hour and 15-minute drive north of Winnipeg, Grand Beach is famous for its white powder sand. Stroll along the boardwalk, go for a swim, and take in the Manitoba sunshine.