The heart of Canada is filled with diverse wildlife, stunning landscapes, rich cultures and inspiring traditions. For a truly memorable adventure on your travels across the Great White North, don’t miss these incredible things to do in Manitoba!
The west has the grandeur of the Rockies and the east boasts historic cities, but it’s Manitoba in the heart of the Canadian Prairies that is home to the nation’s most sought-after wildlife experiences and off-the-beaten-path adventures.
With rich boreal forests, arctic tundra, and countless lakes, rivers, marshes, and waterfalls, travellers can spend weeks traversing the majestic wilderness, constantly being left in awe by the province that’s been heralded as ‘Glorious and Free’.
Whether you’re a thrill-seeker looking to sky-dive, whitewater raft, and kayak with beluga whales, or a tourist looking to gain insight into the local culture through festivals, museums, and pow wows, Manitoba is a destination that really has it all.
The central province is particularly intriguing for animal lovers. The diverse landscape and protected wilderness areas make Manitoba a top-tier location for wildlife spotting.
Your days will be filled on the search for bison, polar bears, caribou, moose, whales, birds, snakes, and more.
READ MORE: Add additional activities to your epic bucket list with our expert guide to the best things to do in Canada!
Highly knowledgeable local guides and immersive eco-lodges will help you achieve the wildlife-filled adventure of your dreams, all while providing a fascinating insight into the Indigenous culture and history of this spectacular region.
Whether you’re cruising through on a Manitoba road trip, on a mission to the Polar Bear Capital of the World, or just find yourself in the bustling and vibrant city of Winnipeg, you’re sure to fall in love with the landscape, wildlife, and culture of the province.
The Best Things to Do in Manitoba – Activities, Attractions and Experiences
From seeing wild animals up close, to witnessing the northern lights, to kayaking, hang gliding, ice fishing, and more, here are some of the most unforgettable things to do in Manitoba, Canada.
1) Hang Out with the Polar Bears
The majestic polar bear is one of the world’s largest apex predators, living in the most remote and frigid regions of the globe.
Many people go to great lengths to see the white bear in the furthest reaches of the planet, but did you know that it is entirely possible to get up close and personal with polar bears while travelling through Manitoba?
Churchill, a small town in northern Manitoba that is accessed by rail or plane, is best known as the Polar Bear Capital of the World, thanks to the high population and abundance of research and studies that are conducted on the mammals here.
During the summer months, polar bears migrate to the area near Hudson Bay, the huge water expanse where Churchill is located, as this is typically the first place that sea ice begins to form when winter sets in, allowing them to begin their seasonal hunts.
In the winter while many of the bears hunt for seals, pregnant females retreat to their dens to give birth, emerging again in the springtime with cubs in tow – a scene that truly is one of the most sensational wildlife experiences in Canada.
There are a number of ways to see the polar bears in Churchill, with the famous Tundra Buggies operated by Frontiers North Adventures being one of the most popular and easily accessible.
For a more in-depth adventure, get in touch with the award-winning pioneers Churchill Wild, who organise exhilarating walking tours without the barriers of a tundra buggy at their remote, fly-in wilderness lodges.
This can be booked as part of world-class packages with Churchill Wild that are guaranteed to have you coming back again and again.
So whether you’re a wildlife enthusiast, a photographer, or just a traveller keen to see these massive white carnivores in real life, seeing polar bears in Churchill is definitely one of the coolest things to do in Manitoba.
2) Stay in a Log Cabin at Falcon Lake
Bordered by towering pine forests, holiday cabins, and hiking trails, Falcon Lake is a gorgeous place to spend a weekend in Manitoba.
Falcon Lake is situated in southeastern Manitoba near the border with Ontario. It is right next to the Trans Canada Highway and is part of Whiteshell Provincial Park, so it’s a convenient stop on a road trip through Canada.
The best way to experience the charm and beauty of the area is to stay in a cozy log cabin. There are lots of amazing options, with Falcon Trails Resort being one of the best.
After you check in to your traditional and luxurious lakeside cabin, spend your weekend hiking, canoeing, mountain biking, sightseeing, or simply relaxing in front of the fire.
3) Go Kayaking with Beluga Whales
The abundance of wild animals in Churchill is really one of the best Manitoba attractions! This tiny town is also considered the world capital for beluga whales, in addition to polar bears.
Thousands of beluga whales migrate to the waters of the Hudson Bay during the summer months. These sea mammals are quite curious and love to interact with humans, so the best way to see them is by getting out on the water.
While you can try to spot them from the shore, or from the comfort of a Zodiac, we personally recommend booking a kayaking tour in Churchill so you can glide through the water alongside adorable beluga whales.
Sea North Tours is a reputable local company partnered with Travel Manitoba that offers subarctic safaris and wildlife tours.
This company is passionate about the conservation of the animals, and with over 30 years of experience, they are certain to help you see lots of belugas.
- Address for Sea North Tours: 153 Kelsey Boulevard, Churchill
- Contact phone number: 204 675 2195
- Prices: $170 for 3-hour kayaking tour
4) Wander the Exhibits at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights
The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is a must-see if you’re visiting Winnipeg, the capital of Manitoba.
Canada is a country celebrated with rich Indigenous cultures, and this museum reflects on the history and treatment of these Indigenous Peoples.
The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is dedicated to telling stories and showcasing art, architecture, and exhibitions about the human experience and the development of human rights over time.
Set in a unique and modern glass building with eye-catching architecture and poignant, interactive content over ten permanent galleries, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights is a reminder of the darkness of days past anda becon of hope towards a brighter and more just future.
In fact it is the only museum in the world dedicated to the topic of global human rights issues.
Located at The Forks in Winnipeg, you can combine this museum with a visit to other cultural icons and landmarks in the city.
Check out the Royal Canadian Mint coin-making facility, or Qaumajuq, the newly opened Inuit Art Centre at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.
Also consider visiting the Manitoba Museum, which has nine permanent galleries full of history, science, art, and more.
- Address for the Human Rights Museum: 85 Israel Asper Way, Winnipeg
- Hours: 10 am to 5 pm (closed Sundays and Mondays)
- Cost: $18 for adults (see website for price variations)
5) Spend a Weekend in Portage La Prairie
If you’re looking for a relaxing day away from Winnipeg, Portage La Prairie is a charming city to visit. It is only an hour west of Winnipeg and has lots of fun attractions for a small town.
The town was founded by fur traders as they travelled by canoe from the Assiniboine River to Lake Manitoba.
Nowadays, it is a friendly Canadian town with nice accommodation, campgrounds, recreation areas, and a seasonal museum.
Be sure to check out the Fort La Reine Museum, which features a well-preserved historical village, and Island Park, which has biking trails and an indoor wave pool.
6) Capture the Splendour of the Aurora Borealis
Witnessing the Northern Lights is easily one of the best things to do in Manitoba, and all of Canada.
If you’re going to travel that far north, you really can’t leave without hoping to see one of nature’s most spectacular shows.
Churchill is one of the country’s best locations for viewing the Northern Lights, particularly from January to March.
You have a good chance of seeing the shimmering green lights just by exploring on your own. But to be safe, you can book a guided tour with a local expert.
While staying in Churchill, chat to your accommodation hosts and the local tourism offices for recommendations on seeing the Northern Lights.
Some operators to check out are Nanuk Operations, Nat Hab and Frontiers North Adventures.
7) Search for Bison in Riding Mountain National Park
Located in southern Manitoba on Clear Lake, Riding Mountain National Park is one of the best places to see bison in the entire country.
It is pretty rare to see bison in the wild these days. They were aggressively hunted by humans over the last couple of centuries, so sadly their numbers have dropped.
But the Lake Audy Bison Enclosure in Riding Mountain National Park has allowed a new generation of plains bison to thrive in a protected environment. You can drive through the enclosure in the hopes of seeing some of these huge, furry creatures.
Riding Mountain National Park is also a great location for camping, mountain biking, hiking, and cross country skiing in winter.
8) Learn About the Caribou Migration at Schmok Lake
For one of the most unique and remote wildlife experiences you may ever have, venture to the remote Schmok Lake to catch a glimpse of polar bears, black bears, wolves, and if you’re lucky, caribou!
In the north of Manitoba by the border with Nunavut, herds of caribou migrate across the Arctic in large numbers, and a fortunate few who are in the right place at the right time may have the chance to see the elusive spectacle.
Due to the isolation and harsh conditions that are found up here, the only way to see the caribou is to join a guided tour departing from Winnipeg through Churchill, staying at the Seal River Heritage Lodge.
You may also see other different species such as bears, foxes, moose, and other animals. If you’re looking to venture outside the tourist trail and go deep into Northern Manitoba to see nature taking its course.
9) Take Part in a Pow Wow at the Manito Ahbee Festival
One of the most memorable things to do in Manitoba is experiencing and learning about the Indigenous culture.
You can learn about First Nations culture from books or museums, but taking part in a pow wow is the best way to immerse yourself right into it.
A pow wow is a social gathering where First Nations people can celebrate their music, art, and traditions. The annual Manito Ahbee Festival in Winnipeg welcomes any guest who wants to learn more about First Nations culture and community.
This is an amazing opportunity to sing, dance, create, and learn about First Nations history and lifestyle. Just be sure to honour the traditions and respect the local’s rules.
Visit the official website for Manito Ahbee to learn more about this magnificent First Nations festival!
10) Canoe One of the Canadian Heritage Rivers
Adventurous travellers in Canada should definitely add a canoe trip to their bucket list.
Whether you want to embark on a 14-day canoe trip of the northern Seal River, or just dedicate a few hours to paddling along the Assiniboine River near Winnipeg, there is no shortage of canoeing opportunities.
Manitoba has 4 heritage rivers, each with their own unique history. In addition to the Assiniboine River and the Seal River, paddling the Hayes River on a wilderness canoe trip provides the only way to access the York Factory, a former fur trade depot of the Hudson Bay Company.
Another option is the Bloodvein River, part of an area known as the Pimachiowin Aki, a UNESCO world cultural and natural world heritage site.
Canoeing along one of these rivers allows you to surround yourself with nature and potentially see some wildlife in a relaxed setting.
11) Go Fishing at Gangler’s North Seal River Lodge
For world-class fishing in Canada, head to Gangler’s North Seal River Lodge.
This fishing lodge on Egenolf Lake is known for its remote and untouched waters, and a fishing trip up here will put you far away from any other resorts or commercial fishing areas.
Fishing fanatics venture up to Gangler’s North Seal River Lodge in search of Lake Trout, Northern Pike, Walleye, and Arctic Greyling. Not only will you most likely achieve your fishing goals, but you’ll get to spend some time away from civilisation.
This spot is so remote that there is no public transport, so you’ll have to book an all-inclusive package that includes flights from Winnipeg through the lodge itself.
But the journey is worth it, as the Gangler’s North Seal River Lodge is small and cozy, allowing you to really enjoy the serenity of northern Manitoba while you fish.
- Location: Egenolf Lake, Manitoba
12) Explore the Caddy Lake Tunnels
Located in Whiteshell Provincial Park, Caddy Lake is a beautiful spot to visit. This long, skinny body of water is wedged in between West Hawk Lake and South Cross Lake, but it’s not the lakes themselves that attract travellers to the area.
There are super cool man-made tunnels that connect Caddy Lake to its neighbouring lakes, and you can canoe or kayak through them.
When railroads were built in Canada in the early twentieth century, the workers had to blast through the granite to build the railways, and to allow the water to flow freely between lakes.
The result is 2 magical tunnels on the lake, located about 5 kilometres apart.
There are a few different camping and lodging options on Caddy Lake, many of which offer their own canoe or kayak rentals.
13) Ziplining with Hy-Wire Zipline Adventures
For an adrenaline-filled day in southern Manitoba, why not go ziplining over a dense forest?
Soaring over the treetops is one of the most exciting ways to see a landscape, and it’s more affordable than skydiving or hang-gliding.
Hy-Wire Zipline Adventures is a family-owned business near Manitou. Their ziplines are located over the Pembina Valley, and they are the highest and longest ziplines in the province. Call or visit their website to book your spot.
- Contact number: 204 242 3396
- Price: Between $70 and $100 for adults
- Location: Manitou
14) Hiking in Manitoba’s Fantastic Provincial Parks
Take it from us – if you’re travelling through the central parts of Canada, exploring the provincial parks is one of the best things to do in Manitoba.
Whiteshell Provincial Park is Manitoba’s largest park, and is well worth spending a few days here.
There are so many stunning lakes and rivers found within the park, you can easily combine hiking with canoeing, camping, and fishing. If you’re visiting in winter, this park also has amazing cross country ski trails.
Hecla Provincial Park on the shores of Lake Winnipeg offers a more nautical landscape, complete with lighthouses, cycling trails, islands, and the popular Grassy Narrows Marsh walking trail.
Pisew Falls Provincial Park is home to majestic waterfalls and rivers, located in Northern Manitoba outside the city of Thompson, an 8-hour drive from Winnipeg.
Birds Hill Provincial Park is easily accessible from Winnipeg from those who are short on time or money. The latter even hosts the annual Winnipeg Folk Festival.
As you can see, there is a wide variety of provincial parks in Manitoba to satisfy any type of traveller!
15) Go on a Horse Riding Adventure
Lovers of animals and nature are sure to love galloping through the fields on top of a mighty stallion. Combining quality time with animals and a journey through the forest makes for a heavenly day in Manitoba.
Horse riding is a very popular activity in the area, so you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting a tour company.
Falcon Beach Ranch in Whiteshell Provincial Park is a top-rated operator that offers lots of fun, family-friendly outdoor activities. Their tours cater to any age and any riding level, and their prices are incredibly affordable.
You’ll get to ride horses through the diverse landscape of the Whiteshell boreal forest, enjoying exercise and sightseeing all in one go.
This is a fun alternative to just hiking on your own two feet, so book in early and make the most of your Manitoba holiday!
- Address: 83 Barren Lake Road, Falcon Lakes
- Prices: Between $32 and $100 for adults
16) Spend the Night in a Remote Eco-Lodge
One of the best ways to treat yourself while travelling through Manitoba is booking an in-depth, all-inclusive stay at a remote eco-lodge.
Venture to a secluded spot amidst the vast wilderness and experience some real Canadian hospitality, but be sure to reserve ahead as these kinds of accommodations are as exclusive as you can get.
There are lots of amazing, cozy luxury lodges around Canada, and if you managed to stay in them all it’d be a lifetime well spent.
If you find yourself curious about Churchill, polar bears, beluga whales and the Northern Lights, look into the wildlife tours out of Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge.
This lodge creates a safe, protected space near the Hudson Bay. You can relax in comfort, then embark on a guided wildlife safari or a photography tour.
This is one of the best ways to guarantee your sightings of wildlife in the epitome of eco luxury.
- Location: Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge, 250 km south of Churchill by plane
17) Hike the Spirit Sands and Devil’s Punch Bowl Trail
Spruce Woods Provincial Park is one of the most popular places to go hiking in Manitoba.
The scenery here is so varied and unique that it doesn’t even look like typical Canada.
Expect sand dunes, cacti and snakes in addition to forests, prairies, and lakes.
Spirit Sands and Devil’s Punch Bowl Hiking Trail is the top activity in the park. The entire loop is 10km long and you’ll get to climb the towering sand dunes of Spirit Sands and admire the turquoise waters of the lake known as Devil’s Punch Bowl.
The trail is well-marked and there are drinking water and toilet facilities. Most travellers recommend doing the hike in autumn, as the summer can get extremely hot in Spruce Woods Provincial Park.
18) Go Hang Gliding Above Manitoba’s Stunning Landscapes
One of the most adventurous things to do in Manitoba is hang gliding. Hang gliding is bucket-list material for many people, and there’s few places more stunning to fly over than the rich prairies of Canada.
Manitoba Hang Gliders is an established company with experienced and knowledgeable pilots, giving intrepid travellers an opportunity to view the colourful patchwork quilt of the fields of the Canadian Prairies in summer.
They take the time to prep you before your first ride to ensure you feel comfortable. They even offer pilot lessons and rides for people of all experience levels.
Visit the Manitoba Hang Gliders website for a full list of rides, lessons, and prices.
19) Rug Up and Tackle Manitoba’s Incredible Winter Activities
Manitoba truly is a year-round destination, and despite the cold temperatures that come in the winter months, not even the mercury dropping below zero can stop people from getting outside and enjoying the province’s remarkable terrain.
On Hecla Island, 2 hours north of Winnipeg, you can rent ‘SnoBears‘, well-insulated and propane heated buggies to travel safely and comfortably around Lake Winnipeg to try your hand at ice fishing, under the tuition of your expert local guide.
Prairie Gal Fishing offers ice fishing gear and shack rentals and lessons out of Winnipeg. Roselle’s guided trips are highly recommended.
If you’re in Winnipeg, you can rent a fat bike to explore the ice skating trails on both rivers at The Forks, which also allows you to visit the Warming Huts pop up art displays.
Outside of Winnipeg there is Guinness World Record-holding ‘world’s largest snow maze’ in St. Adolphe, guaranteeing fun for the whole family.
If downhill skiing is more your style, the family-owned and local favourite Falcon Ridge Ski Resort can be found in the woods of Whiteshell Provincial Park.
As you can see, winter in Manitoba is an incredible time to travel to the province, so pack your thermal boots, wrap up in a heavy jacket and don’t forget your sense of adventure!
20) Wander Around the Forks National Historic Site
The Forks National Historic Site is the heart and soul of Winnipeg. Located at the meeting point of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, the Forks acts as a conglomeration of art, history, entertainment, and culture.
There is a market, an inn, a theatre, a kids’ playground, and multiple green spaces with orchards, gardens, and other historic landmarks. You can also find your typical shops, restaurants, and breweries.
It is also home to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and the Manitoba Children’s Museum.
Not only is the Forks National Historic Site a treasure in the modern world, but it has been used as a cultural meeting point for thousands of years.
It operated as a trading place for Indigenous people for over 6,000 years, and has since been used as a centre for trade, commerce, and communication for immigrants and pioneers of many cultures.
While visiting Winnipeg, a trip to this interesting and multicultural space definitely deserves a place on your itinerary.
Visit the Forks National Historic Site website for updated information on all the attractions.
21) Learn to Windsurf or Kiteboard on Lake Winnipeg
Water sport lovers may congregate near the coastlines of Canada, but the land-locked lakes should not be overlooked.
Lake Winnipeg is Manitoba’s biggest lake, making it a popular spot for water sports like windsurfing and kiteboarding. So don’t think you can’t surf while exploring Manitoba and the rest of central Canada!
Windsurfing and kitesurfing are both pretty advanced sports, but with the right teachers and equipment you can learn the basics and have an epic time doing it.
After an exciting day on the water, you can relax on the popular Grand Beach on the eastern coast of Lake Winnipeg.
For more information about windsurfing or kiteboarding lessons, check out Winnipeg Windsurfing and Boost Kiteboarding, a family owned, Winnipeg-based business that offers guided lessons.
22) Go Whitewater Kayaking
Another exciting water sport to try while exploring Manitoba is whitewater kayaking.
Even though Manitoba is a prairie province of Canada, it’s not entirely flat and calm all the time. There are some bodies of water with intense rapids for those who want to take their kayaking to the next level.
Pinawa is not far from Whiteshell Provincial Park, and it’s a much smaller and quieter location than Winnipeg. Prairie Whitewater is a reputable company to contact if you are interested in taking a whitewater kayaking course.
Rather rent your own gear such as tubes, kayaks and SUPs? Check out Float & Paddle or Pinawa Unplugged Eco Tours.
If you’re planning on staying close to the capital city, Lake Winnipeg is also fun for stand up paddleboarding, canoeing, and kayaking, with Prairies Sea Kayak Adventures offering great tours.
Wilderness Supply is the stop in Winnipeg for all your watercraft rentals.
23) Explore the Wetlands at Oak Hammock Marsh
To observe one of Manitoba’s most delicate ecosystems, visit Oak Hammock Marsh. This thriving wetland is a great place to explore nature, find peace, and disconnect from the hustle of daily life.
The Wetland Discovery Center is the perfect place to begin your exploration of the marsh. It is located outside the town of Stonewall, about 20km north of Winnipeg.
Here you can educate yourself about the flora and fauna of Oak Hammock Marsh before setting off into the wilderness.
The discovery center also offers canoe tours, snowshoeing tours, bird-watching tours, guided walks, and has a cool gift shop and theater to entertain families.
- Address: Wetland Discovery Center, 1 Snow Goose Bay, Stonewall
- Hours: 10 am – 4:30pm (closes at dusk in September and October)
- Price: $9 admission for adults
24) Relax at Thermea by Nordik Spa-Nature
Of all the fun things to do in Manitoba, this one will probably appeal to everyone. Who doesn’t want to treat themselves to a relaxing spa day full of massages, thermal baths, and holistic body treatments?
Located 15 minutes outside of Winnipeg, Nordik Spa Nature is the perfect place to unwind after sightseeing and exploring. The spa also offers a restaurant if you want to go all out.
25) Go to an Awesome and Unique Festival
If you’re looking to travel Manitoba and gain an insight into the local culture, consider attending a local festival.
There is a powerful Indigenous presence in Canada, so there is no shortage of opportunities to learn about the Indigenous Peoples and their traditions.
The annual Festival du Voyageur in Winnipeg is one of the province’s most popular winter celebrations. It is held in Winnipeg’s French Quarter, called St. Boniface, every February and lasts for 10 days.
Located on the homeland of the Métis nation, the festival celebrates the French -Canadian and fur trade influence in Manitoba through food, art, music, and family-friendly games and activities.
Another fun cultural festival is the Icelandic Festival of Manitoba, held every August in Gimli. This is one of North America’s oldest ethnic festivals, and it celebrates all things Icelandic.
In the 19th century, volcanic eruptions in Iceland destroyed many people’s homes, so lots of Icelandic people immigrated to Canada. This festival is a way of preserving their heritage in their new home.
Even if you’re not in town for the annual festival, you can visit the New Icelandic Heritage Museum in Gimli year-round to learn more.
26) Visit the Narcisse Snake Dens
This is one of the most interesting Manitoba attractions, and it certainly isn’t for everyone. But if you love seeing wild animals and you’re not afraid of snakes, definitely check out the Narcisse Snake Dens.
There are 4 safely monitored snake dens in Narcisse where you can see huge numbers of red-sided garter snakes taking their yearly course.
Every spring, thousands of snakes leave their dens to breed. Every fall, the snakes return to their dens for winter. The best months for viewing the snakes are mid-May, and mid-September.
Narcisse is located a 1.5 hour drive away from Winnipeg. This official Manitoba Government website has detailed information about driving directions, contact information, and snake behaviour.
27) Cross the Province by Train
If Winnipeg and Churchill are both on your bucket list, consider traveling between the two by train.
It is much quicker to fly from Winnipeg to Churchill, but crossing the province by train is one of the best things to do in Manitoba.
This train journey is the only nonstop land connection between the two tourist hotspots. The journey takes 2 days and 2 nights, covering over 1600 km of breathtaking scenery.
If you have the time to spare, and you want to see more of the landscape, a long train journey is an incredible way to do so.
Via Rail Canada offers a direct train journey from Winnipeg to Churchill, and being a 2-day journey it is worth considering a sleeper cabin. Their website can also help you book tours in Churchill.
READ MORE: Why not tick off another one of Canada’s great rail journeys by jumping onboard Rocky Mountaineer!
28) Check Out The Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre
Those interested in science and natural history should definitely check out the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre.
Located in the town of Morden, this interactive and family-friendly educational space has Canada’s largest collection of marine reptile fossils.
This Canadian museum is a fun place to bring kids, and it’s only a 1 hour and 20 minute drive from Winnipeg.
- Address: 111-B Gilmour Street, Morden
- Hours: 10 am – 5 pm, 12 pm – 6 pm on weekends and holidays
- Prices: $8.25 for adults
DISCLAIMER: This article was created in partnership with our friends at Destination Canada and Travel Manitoba. All thoughts, opinions and hours spent daydreaming about our next big trip to Canada’s heartland is, as always, our own.