A catfish capital, Selkirk swims with aquatic attractions and nearby lake fun.
Set on a big bend of the Red River, this small town is defined by water, with the province’s two big lakes (Winnipeg and Manitoba) close by. Although famous for the massive catfish that anglers haul in from the banks of the river, there’s more to Selkirk than fish. Climb aboard 19th-century vessels and get hands-on lake life experience at the Marine Museum of Manitoba, or spend time strolling through Selkirk Park—from here in the heart of town, you can also launch a boat, canoe or kayak. Then head to shores beyond—Lake Winnipeg is just a few minutes out of town.
Grand Beach Provincial Park
Living up to its name, Grand Beach features white sands that curve in a big crescent for three kilometres and are backed by eight-metre sand dunes. Spot pelicans and even bald eagles swooping over the waves while you build a sandcastle, take a swim, or sunbathe.
Winnipeg Beach Provincial Park
You’ll probably drive, but trains once brought Winnipeggers from the heat of the city to this breezy beach destination. Take a walk down the boardwalk, play volleyball or tennis, and then hop in Lake Winnipeg, a favourite spot for windsurfers, boaters, and kayakers.
Bird’s Hill Provincial Park
Popular Bird’s Hill gets busy, welcoming some 1 million visitors every year (many from nearby Winnipeg). But there’s plenty of room to spread out, with the park rambling over 35 square kilometres, half of it in the backcountry. Ride a horse from the stables, take a walk through the aspen forest, enjoy a picnic, or come for a special event—polo tournaments and one of North America’s largest folk festivals are hosted here.
St. Ambroise Provincial Park
This is a favourite park for birdwatchers who come to its wetlands to spot migratory pelicans, warblers, and geese. In summer, it’s all about the beach, where families soak up the shallow, gentle waters on Lake Manitoba and wade out to sand bars.
If you’re looking to fish or partake in water activities, summer is the time to come. The water’s warm by July, and nice weather can stretch well into September (when the leaves fade from green to gold). This is also the busiest tourist season, a prime time for festivals and the free Waterfront Concert Series. Winters are definitely cold but a perfect time for those who love to ski, snowshoe, or ice-fish.