12 Best Day Trips From Winnipeg (By a Local!)
Looking for the best day trips from Winnipeg, Manitoba? Then you’re in luck!
I am a Winnipeg local, and I’m here to spill the beans on my secret list of the best ways to get out of the city once you’ve finished exploring all the best stuff in Winnipeg.
I’m absolutely in love with Manitoba and regularly take trips out of the city. Years of research have allowed me to refine a list of Winnipeg day trips that are sure to delight all travelers.
In this list, you’ll find charismatic prairie towns, woodsy escapes, beachy oases, and so much more.
12 Best Day Trips From Winnipeg
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Manitoba has two major cities — one, of course, being Winnipeg, and the other is Brandon.
Just a two-hour car ride west of Winnipeg, Brandon is home to roughly 50,000 people and has a plethora of things to do.
In Brandon, dive into Canadian aviation history at the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum, get cultured at the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba, catch a sporting event or concert at the Keystone Centre, or do a self-guided food tour at one of the many restaurants.
Also, for those of you who are more outdoorsy, Brandon is home to many great hiking and bird-watching trails. Just don’t forget your binoculars!
👉 Pro Tip: Having a car is an absolute must for taking day trips from Winnipeg, as this area does not have an extensive public transit system. To rent a car, I recommend Discover Car Hire, as they’ll be sure to get you the best rate possible on a vehicle.
An hour’s drive from Winnipeg, Gimli, Manitoba easily made our list of the best places to visit in Manitoba. A visit here will transport you out of the prairie landscape and onto a lakeside beachy oasis full of Icelandic traditions.
Settled by Icelanders around 1875, Gimli is a popular excursion from Winnipeg as it’s not only a great place to go and unwind, but it’s also full of restaurants, watersport options (kayaks, sea-doos, and sailboats galore), and tons of opportunities to check out its Icelandic heritage. In particular, I recommend paying a visit to Gimli’s Icelandic Heritage Museum.
However, if you plan to visit Gimli in the Winter, then rest assured there is still plenty to do.
Gimli winters are well known for ice fishing, and it’s also home to an annual Ice Festival, during which time you can watch cars race on the frozen lake, watch Viking demonstrations, partake in some snowy activities and, if you’re feeling especially adventurous, participate in the frozen fish toss.
👉 Pro Tip: Looking for a place to stay in Winnipeg? Be sure to check out my guide to the best Winnipeg hotels.
Hecla-Grindstone Provincial Park
Situated on an island in Lake Winnipeg, Hecla-Grindstone is just two hours north of Winnipeg and is the perfect place to go to hit the beach and soak up the sun, trek one of the many famed hiking trails (Grassy Narrows Marsh Trail, Black Wolf Trail, and the Lighthouse Trail are especially beautiful), and check out one of the Quarry sites in the area.
Additionally, I recommend driving the Hecla Village Scenic Drive — a 7-kilometer route starting just south of Hecla Village.
The village has great views of the surrounding area and features museums and shops.
If a Manitoba beach day trip is calling your name, then look no further than Grand Beach Provincial Park!
Located just an hour’s drive from Winnipeg, Grand Beach rests along the Eastern shore of Lake Winnipeg and is known for its white powdery sand, great hiking trails, and 30-feet high grass-topped sand dunes.
While here, take a dip in the water, kayak along the shore, windsurf or rent a jet ski. Or, if you’re looking for something a little different, Grand Beach is also home to an outdoor Amphitheatre that regularly hosts concerts and other events.
Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site
About 30 kilometers north of Winnipeg, the Lower Fort Garry National Historic site was built by the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1830 along the bank of the Red River and is perfect if you’re interested in learning a ton of local history.
Lower Fort Garry was the site where Treaty 1 was signed between the Ojibway and Swampy Cree Manitobans and the Crown, and was later used as a fur trading post.
Today, the site will teach you all about what life was like in the early 1800s, the important history of the Indigenous peoples of Manitoba, and how the fur trade was a key to the early economy of Manitoba.
Definitely bring your camera for this one, the area surrounding Lower Fort Garry is absolutely beautiful!
Asessippi Ski Resort
Being a four-hour drive away, this is a trip from Winnipeg that you’ll have to wake up early for, but it’s definitely worth it if you want to experience prairie ski culture. Asessippi Ski Area and Resort is the perfect place to hit the slopes and spend an afternoon amongst the powder.
Asessippi is home to a great chair-lift system, hills for all levels of skiers and snowboarders, lessons for those new to the slopes, a rustic chalet, and plenty of rentals if you don’t have your own equipment.
Asessippi can also be reached by daily bus tours. If you decide against renting a car, this is a great option.
Pinawa Dam Provincial Park
A little slice of Manitoba history and one of the most beautiful parks in Southern Manitoba (in my humble opinion), Pinawa Dam Provincial Park is worth the hour and a half drive from Winnipeg.
Located in Eastern Manitoba on the edge of the rocky Canadian Shield, Pinawa Dam was built in 1906 as Manitoba’s first hydroelectric generating station. While the dam no longer produces energy for the area, this is one of the top photography spots in Manitoba and is also full of rapids for kayaking and hiking trails.
Just be sure to bring good shoes (the area is slick with water) and strap on a helmet if you plan on going kayaking.
Just down the road from Pinawa Dam, you’ll find the Pinawa Suspension Bridge. I highly recommend visiting this area as well as not only is the bridge and surrounding nature breathtaking, but this is also a very popular spot for Manitobans to go river tubing in the summertime.
There’s nothing quite like floating along a beautiful river on a hot summer afternoon with your friends and a drink in hand! Just remember to bring a bathing suit, beach towel, and sunscreen, or take a look at our beach packing list.
Brokenhead Wetlands Interpretive Trail
A 45-minute car ride from Winnipeg, Brokenhead Wetland Interpretive Trail is a beautiful new boardwalk trail that traverses on top of rare Manitoba plant species while teaching you all about the Indigenous importance of the area.
This is a 1.5 km boardwalk that takes you through a beautiful forest and over an ecologically-important bog full of rare flora. While this trail is beautiful any time of year, it’s not maintained in the winter and as such, I recommend visiting in the spring, summer, or fall.
Also, this trail is known for its accessibility and can accommodate wheelchairs.
Whiteshell Provincial Park
Located about an hour and a half east of Winnipeg, Whiteshell Provincial Park is 2800 square km of protected wilderness and is full of hiking trails, canoe and kayak opportunities, ski trails, snowmobiling spots, and absolutely gorgeous lakes and vistas along the way.
If you’re looking to hike, then I recommend doing the Hunt Lake Hiking Trail (2.6km return), a slice of the Mantario Trail (60km one way, or broken up into day hikes), Falcon Creek Trail (6km loop), or Point Rapids (8.2km loop).
Riding Mountain National Park
Located on Treaty 2 territory about 2 hours from Winnipeg, Riding Mountain National Park is another outdoorsy hub of hiking, kayaking, boating, and swimming.
One of two National Parks in Manitoba (the other being the polar bear-filled Wapusk in the North), Riding Mountain is also home to the town of Wasagaming where you’ll find a variety of shops, golf courses, accommodations, boat rentals, and restaurants.
This is a great place for animal watching (albeit from a distance), as Riding Mountain National Park is home to black bears, elk, moose, and about 30 plains bison that live in an enclosure near Lake Audy.
Just remember, if you plan on going hiking, make enough noise for the bears to know where you are (this eliminates the element of surprise), and always bring a bear canister to put any food in.
Steep Rock Limestone Cliffs
Located about two and a half hours from Winnipeg, Steep Rock Limestone Cliffs are easily one of the greatest tourist attractions in Manitoba.
Steep Rock is located in Manitoba’s Interlake region along Lake Manitoba and is best known for its namesake cliffs that line the shores.
At Steep Rock, there are plenty of photography opportunities (I highly recommend sunset photography), kayaking opportunities, and goat opportunities. Yes, there is an entire island here where goats live in the summer — it’s worth the trek to pay them a visit!
Spirit Sands & Devil’s Punch Bowl
Did you know that Manitoba is home to a park full of sand dunes? Well, it’s true, and they’re 100% worth the trip from Winnipeg.
Spirit Sands & Devil’s Punchbowl is a 2-hour drive from Winnipeg and is right beside Spruce Woods Provincial Park. The contrast of the landscapes here makes for beautiful photo opportunities, and the Devil’s Punch Bowl Trail (5.5km-one way) is worth the trek.
Here, you’ll find a forest of beautiful spruce trees, ever-shifting sand dunes, cacti, and an ethereal blue-green pool of water in the 45-meter Devil’s Puch Bowl depression.
While you can visit Spirit Sands any time of year, make sure you wear long pants in the summer as the park is full of poison ivy. Safety first!
That’s it for my 12 best Winnipeg day trips! For more tips on traveling Manitoba and going on road trips, check out all our Canada travel guides. And, if you’re coming from abroad, be sure to check out our guide to getting travel insurance for Canada.
Have fun in Manitoba!
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