Manitoba: Your Next Exotic Beach Vacation

…because clearly, when one thinks of miles of white, fine, baby-powder sand and gently lapping waves – Manitoba is obviously the first place that springs to mind.

The good news: I’m not kidding.

The bad news: I’m not kidding.

The province that everyone loves to take jabs at? That flat one full of wheat and mosquitos that occupies the middle of Canada? It gives great beach.

This is Grand Beach, Manitoba.  This is my youngest daughter, playing in the soft, silken, baby powder like sand that stretches 3 KM of the beach.  Beautiful plant speckled dunes rise up around you, and birds soar over-head. In mid-June, on a 25 degree C week-day, it was all but abandoned. In the summer months, locals flock to the surrounding areas to camp and cottage, and the place is slam packed with families and beautiful people catching sun. Situated on the eastern shore of Lake Winnipeg, the naturally occurring sand (finer and lighter than what I’ve played  in Turks & Caicos and the Bahamas) seems like some sort of forgetful error that God made when rationing out perfect beaching conditions. Yet, Lake Winnipeg is clearly a prairie ocean – vast, rolling and mighty.

Our model takes some time out from chasing shore birds and collecting unusual stones to soak up some sunshine and make sand angels. My older daughter had the run of the beach, and was occupied making a variety of sand castles and moats. My husband alternated between wading knee deep in the water (which was blessedly devoid of any sort of weeds or rocks) and basking in the rays. I read my book, played with the kids, and explored the dunes.

Grand Beach is a mere 80 minutes north of Winnipeg, and is a beautiful drive through Selkirk and Lockport. Beautiful little Ukranian Orthodox churches pop up en route & flocks of pelicans can be spotted on the river near Lockport. Depending on which highway you take up to the lake, you may get a chance to cross the rare and wonderful lift bridge between Selkirk and East Selkirk.

Despite being warned to bring “large quantities of bug dope” for the legendary mosquito population, we didn’t see any skeeters at all. Bug spray was not required on this fine, sunny afternoon.

(Ironically, we were later eaten to death by the little bloodsuckers as we walked down the street in d/t Winnipeg later that evening.)

For more on Grand Beach and the Grand Marais area, check out The Toban Experience website.

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