Polar bear on Eskimo point; Photo Courtesy of Travel Manitoba
Try the best of everything with a summer à-la-carte itinerary that’s packed to the brim with uniquely Canadian sights.
It’s easy to sign up for an all-inclusive getaway with packaged airfare, accommodations and tours, but if you want to ensure you check off every item on your Northern Manitoba bucket list, customizing your schedule is the way to do it. We’ve created an itinerary of must-dos with everything from train travel and a helicopter tour to stand-up paddle-boarding with belugas. You’ve never tried anything like it and—unless you come back for a visit—never will again.
Churchill train station; Photo Courtesy of Travel Manitoba
Days 1/2: Pathway to the North
Over two days and two nights, traverse the wide-open prairies from Winnipeg to Churchill via locomotive. You’ll cover 1,697 kilometres of wilderness and emerge from the boreal forest tree line to arrive at the polar bear and beluga whale capitals of the world. If budget allows, book your trip in Sleeper Plus class, where you’ll have a bed to rest your head, access to a shower and all meals included.
Wreck of the MV Ithaca; Photo Courtesy of Travel Manitoba
Day 3: Tundra Hike
Spend your first day in Churchill getting to know the local landscape—from tree line to tundra—with a full- or half-day “Roads and Trails” tour hosted by Nature 1st. You’ll learn the history of the frontier town, identify wildflowers, walk alongside the wreck of the ghost ship Ithaca (as tides allow) and may even see a variety of wildlife including over 200 bird species. A separate birding tour is also available. Half-day town tours, private tours and MV Ithaca hikes are also offered by North Star Tours.
Tuck in for the night at Polar Inn & Suites, a newly renovated 21-room boutique hotel that also houses Sea North Tours (known for their beluga excursions) and a gift shop filled with local goods.
Beluga pod; Photo Courtesy of Travel Manitoba
Day 4: Belugas and Polar Bears
Polar bear at Hudson Bay; Photo Courtesy of Travel Manitoba
Lazy Bear Lodge; Photo Courtesy of Travel Manitoba
Frontiers North Tundra Buggy™; Photo Courtesy of Travel Manitoba
Day 5: Buggy Ride
Frontiers North offers a totally unique way to view the sub-arctic landscape: from a Tundra Buggy™, a raised 40-passenger vehicle unlike anything you've ever seen. The company's full-day tours showcase both wildlife and plant life, so you'll spend six hours searching the scenic region for Arctic hare, Arctic fox or, in rare cases, even caribou. A picnic-style lunch is included.
The Aurora Borealis; Photo Courtesy of Travel Manitoba
By this point in your trip, you might be wondering what happened to the Northern Lights. While the Aurora Borealis is vibrant and alive throughout the year, you’ll have to stay up late to catch them in the summer months due to short nights. For the longest, most vivid colour and luminescence displays of this magnificent event, considering coming back in January to March. (As an added bonus, the lights can be seen from the dome car of the train when travelling in peak season.)
Days 6/7: Journey Home
Use your two-day return trip to Winnipeg to reflect on your time in Churchill, review your photos and journal about your experiences. You’ll certainly have witnessed many natural wonders that you’ll want to remember (and be able to share with your loved ones) for the rest of your life.