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One-Day Excursion from Winnipeg

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One-Day Excursion from Winnipeg


My fiancé and I are going to be in Winnipeg for a wedding and we have two days available (Sunday June 15 and Monday June 16). We were thinking of dedicating one day to all of the attractions within downtown Winnipeg and then renting a car on the other day and doing a day trip outside of the city. From what I've seen, the big ones that seem to come up are Gimli, Hecla Island, and Riding Mountain National Park. Since we obviously can't do it all, we are trying to determine which is the most worth it.

Part of us is thinking that we have always had amazing experiences with national parks, love what they stand for, and have always talked about how much we'd love to visit as many of them as possible. On the other hand, we do know Riding Mountain is a bit of a farther drive, and are wondering if it's worth it. We'd be happy to leave early and arrive back late if we knew that there was something unique about Riding Mountain that would make the trek worth it that distinguishes itself from other attractions in the area.

We definitely want to do something nature-related, like hiking/kayaking/horseback riding, but Gimli seems to be more culturally interesting with the Icelandic culture and museum. That's why we were wondering if Hecla Island might be a good option so that we could have a bit of everything in one day. We also do realize though that Hecla is a further drive, so could it be done in one day anyway?

Any advice on what would be the best use of our time? Or a different destination that we haven't thought of?


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1. Re: One-Day Excursion from Winnipeg

I think you might be better off by heading east to the Whiteshell Provincial Park. You can see some beautiful countryside that is the beginning of the Canadian Shield. It's a stunning drive to go from the flat, prairie landscape to the rugged, treed park.There are horses at Falcon Lake and plenty of hiking trails. I believe there is also canoe/kayak rental there. It's only about a 1 1/2 hr. drive from Winnipeg. There definitely aren't any horses on Hecla Island and I can't think of anywhere to rent water craft. It would be a long drive for only one day. Gimli would be more walking around the town, shopping at the boutique stores, sitting on the beach, going to the museum, etc. Riding Mountain Park is very nice but, again, a very long drive for one day. We've seen black bears, bald eagles, etc. up there but you really need more than one day to enjoy everything.

Winnipeg Canada
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2. Re: One-Day Excursion from Winnipeg

A close options to Winnipeg is Birds Hill Park . It has great hiking trails and horseback rental. The plus factor is it only a 1/2 hour from the north perimeter.

Winnipeg, Canada
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3. Re: One-Day Excursion from Winnipeg

In my opinion, Riding Mountain, as beautiful as it would be, would be a long day of mostly driving. You're looking at at least 8 hours of driving so perhaps something closer would be better.

I like Aunty Mo's suggestion about Whiteshell Provincial Park. The quickest route would be to drive East on # 1 highway about 90 minutes to Falcon Lake. Falcon is probably the most commercial/touristy destination in the park. If you leave Winnipeg early, perhaps the Falcon Golf Course might be your starting point with breakfast. From Falcon, head to West Hawk Lake, and take in the information at the main beach about the beginnings of West Hawk, which is a crater lake.

From West Hawk, take #44 highway and then head North on the 307. Taking this route will slowly lead you back to Winnipeg with plenty of lakes and potential stops along the way for a rest or some photos. Most of the lakes have convenience stores and restaurants to stop at for food and snacks. There will be plenty of hiking trails along the way as well. Make sure to hit the park office at Falcon, which should be able to supply you with maps of the park and trails. You can make a day of this and only spend 4 hours driving.

I think Gimli and up to Hecla Park would be a good day as well. More driving time than Whiteshell but less than Riding Mountain.

Check out the Provincial Park website, perhaps it would be helpful to you.


Have fun exploring, no matter what you choose.

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4. Re: One-Day Excursion from Winnipeg

I live near Riding Mountain National Park and I love it. In fact I spent the day there today walking, shopping, eating, exploring. In RMNP you have some shops, restaurants, movie theatre, a resort with a spa, mini golf, golf, horseback riding, tennis, boat rentals (if open for the season), bison enclosure, great hiking, lots of lakes to explore, and tons of wildlife such as moose, wolves, bears, deer. It is a fantastic choice. One company that does great things in RMNP is Earth Rythmns. You might enjoy arranging a tour with them.

Hecla Island is also a fantastic choice. The resort there is fantastic with a spa, great restaurant, golf. Hiking trails, great look offs, nice beach, I think there might be boat rentals at the marina, a little townsite with a historic Hecla village. Really nice spot to relax and enjoy the outdoors. I love Hecla Island. One company that does great things on Hecla Island is Second Nature Discovery. You might enjoy arranging a tour with them.

Gimli is one of my favorite communities in Manitoba. You could easily stop there en route to Hecla Island. Nice boardwalk, some fun shopping and restaurants, great bakery with Icelandic treats, nice beach.

Whiteshell provincial park would also be a great choice, although I don't know it well so I will let others offer specific suggestions there. I can say last summer I hiked at the old Pinawa Dam and thought it was really interesting, then had a picnic at Seven Sisters, really beautiful spot.

Another option for a day trip from Winnipeg could be Morden. This area is known for fossils. There is a nice fossil museum there and you can book a day or half day at a real fossil dig site. My husband and I did this fossil dig last year and loved it! My husband even discovered a shark tooth, and we also found fish teeth, ribs, etc. very unique experience and I highly recommend it. There is also a company that does zip lining nearby in the pembina valley but the company name escapes me. I have heard good things.

Another great day trip option is Spirit Sands Desert. This is near Glenboro and is a real desert. Nice hiking trail, cactus, real desert which is pretty fascinating. In the summer they have horse drawn carriage rides but I'm not sure when that starts up. If you go see it make sure you stop in Glenboro and get your photo taken with the cement camel by the highway haha.

Another great day trip is near Boissevain in southwestern Manitoba. I used to live in this area. There is the International Peace Gardens which are beautiful. You could pair this with a nice hike at Lake Adam, or my personal favorite trail in that area of the province which is at William Lake and is called The Turtles Back. Great view at the top.

Lots of choices! Enjoy your time in Manitoba!

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5. Re: One-Day Excursion from Winnipeg

Go to Falcon and West hawk. In fact, go the extra 30 mins to Kenora ON.

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6. Re: One-Day Excursion from Winnipeg

Thank you all for the great advice! We are still considering our options but have found all of your suggestions very helpful!

7. Re: One-Day Excursion from Winnipeg

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