Laid-back, creative, and remarkably friendly, this prairie province has lakes, cities, rivers, farmland, and wilderness all the way up to the Arctic. In winter, the bright sun dazzles the snowy landscape under a huge blue sky, ideal for leisurely cross-country ski outings. And in summer, there’s no place more glorious for fishing, dozing on a lakeside dock, or taking in an outdoor concert in a leafy park. Relax and indulge in Manitoba the way locals do: in low-key style.
Fish for the big one at Atikaki Wilderness Provincial Park
Trophy angling is front and center at luxe-meets-rustic Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge, an exclusive fly-in Canadian fly fishing lodge set on the sandy shore among rustling birch trees. Up your game with experienced guides and enjoy your just-caught, beer-battered pike at a tasty shore-side lunch from either the main chalet-style lodge or a remote outpost cabin. Hanging out on the porch, taking a dip in the lake, and taking in a spectacular Northern Lights show are favourite pastimes at this unbeatable locale.
Rejuvenate at the spa in Winnipeg
Thermëa by Nordik Spa-Nature is a great place to do a lot of nothing. It’s a refuge in rugged-chic style with outdoor thermal pools and fire pits, waterfalls and steam baths, hammocks, and softly lit, Finnish-style cedar saunas. Relaxation loungers have personal headphones so you can tune right out. Get a massage or try yoga, then splurge on a cocktail and smoked cold Manitoba trout with dill from the Scandinavian bistro menu on the terrace. There's also a golf course right next door, if you’re so inspired.
Walk with polar bears in Churchill
If you’ve always dreamed of seeing polar bears up-close, treat yourself to a self-directed adventure where you can spot the giants from the comfort of a Tundra Buggy. Great Canadian Travel arranges a seat for you in Churchill, the polar bear capital of the world, plus a chance to look around the Northern town, or you can join a naturalist-led trip with Churchill Nature Tours. Churchill Wild leads swims with belugas, walks with polar bears, and exotic wildlife photography safaris out of high-end, fly-in Arctic eco-lodges as well.
Try new foods in Winnipeg
Locavores know Winnipeg’s historic Exchange District is the culinary hot spot. Make it easy on yourself by joining a summer time “Devour the District Food Tour,” a walking survey past old brick warehouses and down cobbled lanes to the most popular dining venues and their boundary-pushing chefs. Add in some shopping, hit one of the events, or try a monthly First Friday evening where artists open their studios and galleries host special soirees. Culture mavens and architecture buffs will want to check out the district's collection of heritage buildings — the biggest and best-preserved in North America.
Gaze at the stars at Oak Hammock Marsh
Just north of Winnipeg, peaceful Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre is the place to see over 300 bird varieties, frogs, reptiles, and butterflies. Paddle the wetlands in a historic French-Canadian fur trader-style voyageur canoe, join a seasonal guided walk with a naturalist, snowshoe during the winter, or help the survey crew and biologists count species. Come nightfall, check out the stars or try an astrophotography class and capture the memory of a lifetime.
If you're feeling the need to relax and recharge, Manitoba's many attractions should be at the top of your holiday list.