Trip and Wellness

The 12 Best Lakes in Manitoba to Visit

With an astounding 100,000 lakes, selecting the best ones in Manitoba is an immense challenge. Ultimately, personal preference plays a crucial role for most individuals. While we frequently explore Whiteshell Provincial Park, we also appreciate the beaches scattered across the province.

Manitoba’s lakes exhibit a diverse array of characteristics. They vary in size, depth, composition, and water clarity; some are ideal for fishing, while others are better suited for swimming, sailing, or simply offering a perfect experience in every aspect.

Many lakes are conveniently accessible by road and boast well-developed amenities, including lodges, campgrounds, and even luxury hotels that gladly accommodate the seasonal influx of summer visitors.

For a fulfilling water-based vacation, explore our compilation of the best lakes in Manitoba.

1. Lake Winnipeg

Lake Winnipeg
Lake Winnipeg

Extending for 416 kilometers, the lake showcases diverse characteristics depending on your location along the shoreline and whether you head south or north. The west side, being longer and more accessible with numerous towns, contrasts with the shorter and less accessible east side.

Most of the lake remains untouched, and the developed area, constituting only 10 to 15 percent of the total lake expanse, is concentrated in the south. A perpetual debate revolves around the superiority of one side over the other, with cottages lining both shorelines.

On the lake’s east side, you’ll encounter Grand Beach Provincial Park and the summer cottage community of Victoria Beach. This area offers a blend of picturesque beaches and rocky shorelines, experiencing rough waters due to prevailing westerly winds that create striking sunsets. The east side is a favored day trip locale, largely due to the popularity of Grand Beach Provincial Park.

Conversely, the west side features summer towns like Ponemah, Winnipeg Beach, Sandy Hook, and Gimli, extending further to Hecla/Grindstone Provincial Park. Characterized by calmer waters comparable to those on the east side, this region, known as true cottage country since the 1920s, offers impressive sunrises.

Regardless of your chosen side, warm water is a common denominator. The lake’s shallow nature and slightly grey appearance result in quick warming during the early summer.

2. West Hawk

West Hawk Lake
West Hawk Lake

West Hawk Lake, renowned for its depth and clarity and a favorite among scuba divers, boasts a sizable beach known as Crescent Beach at its southern end. The lake’s origin traces back to a monumental event when a meteor struck the rock of Whiteshell Provincial Park around 100 million years ago.

Devoid of rivers flowing into it, West Hawk Lake is filled with pure rainwater, providing a chilly yet refreshing swimming experience. A small town with shops, restaurants, and a compact grocery store is situated along the lake’s shore.

The West Hawk Lake campground is a sought-after camping destination, spanning across undulating hills beneath towering pine trees, making it an ideal spot for families.

Take advantage of West Hawk to engage in water activities with all your toys while relishing a picnic on the sandy shores. Later, meander up the street and treat yourself to ice cream from one of the town’s takeout establishments.

3. Brereton Lake

Brereton Lake
Brereton Lake

Nestled within Whiteshell Provincial Park, Brereton Lake stands out as one of its concealed treasures. Serving as the initial lake encountered when entering the park from the south, Brereton Lake offers a splendid introduction to the park’s beauty.

The lake features three public beaches strategically situated at the south (South Beach), mid (Main Beach), and north (Inverness Falls) sections. All these beaches boast golden sand and provide access to shallow, warm waters. Notably, Main Beach recently received a set of new children’s play structures courtesy of the park service.

Situated just behind Main Beach, Brereton Lake Resort presents cozy cottages available for rent, accompanied by a popular restaurant and a well-stocked convenience store.

Brereton Lake is well-suited for leisurely boating. The western side of the lake is characterized by few cottages and extensive stretches of untouched forest, offering ample opportunities for wildlife sightings. Keep an eye out for bald eagles soaring by to enhance your nature experience. Additionally, this area features picturesque islands, making it an ideal spot for a picnic or a refreshing swim.

4. Falcon Lake

Falcon Lake
Falcon Lake

In search of one of the finest and most expansive beaches in eastern Manitoba? Look no further than Falcon Lake. The vast, curving beach and serene, warm waters make it an ideal destination for individuals of all ages, especially children.

Falcon Lake stands out as one of the most sought-after lakes in Whiteshell Provincial Park, and this popularity is well-justified. The lake, renowned for leisurely cruising and discovering prime fishing spots, boasts multiple beaches lining its shores. These sandy retreats offer tranquil spots amidst the predominantly forested, privately owned lakefront.

Beyond the beach, the bustling town center features an array of restaurants, shops, and a sizable grocery store. Additionally, two of Manitoba’s best campgrounds are conveniently located in this vicinity, just a short distance from the lake. For those not inclined toward camping, a variety of lodges grace the waterfront.

5. White Lake

Rainbow Falls
Rainbow Falls

White Lake, located just up the road from Brereton Lake, may be smaller, but it offers a range of attractions. The lake features a beach and a campground, but many visitors are drawn to witness the captivating waterfalls.

A notable highlight is Rainbow Falls, situated near the northeastern end of the lake. Here, a river cascades over a granite ridge into a shallow pool below. It serves as an excellent spot for a refreshing swim and, for the more adventurous, an opportunity to leap off the top of the falls into the bubbling pool.

The beachfront campground, hosting 37 sites (including 20 walk-in sites), is nestled under large, leafy trees. Play structures are available for children’s enjoyment.

For those seeking shelter with added comforts, consider the cabins at White Lake Resort. Along with roofed accommodation, the resort offers a convenience store and a restaurant.

6. Clearwater Lake

Clearwater Lake
Clearwater Lake

Clearwater Lake is a distinctive destination, located 6.5 hours north of Winnipeg, and can be best described with the words deep, clear, and cold.

The lake’s exceptional clarity allows visibility down to an impressive 10 meters (33 feet), creating an atmosphere reminiscent of the Caribbean in northern Manitoba.

The lake is well-suited for power boating and sailing, offering enthusiasts an enjoyable experience in its pristine waters.

For fishing enthusiasts, Clear Lake stands out as one of the province’s premier spots for lake trout. These cold-water species inhabit the lake’s depths, requiring anglers to use a downrigger setup on their boats for successful catches.

Camping is a popular activity here, with Campers Cove campground providing 79 sites, many equipped with electricity. The campground area includes amenities such as volleyball and basketball courts, along with a nearby children’s play structure.

7. Clear Lake

Kayakers on Clear Lake
Kayakers on Clear Lake

Nestled in Riding Mountain National Park, Clear Lake has long been a sought-after destination for summer travelers.

The lake, characterized by its significant size and depth, lives up to its name with remarkably clear waters. To truly appreciate the lake, venture out onto its waters for exploration. Whether you opt for powered or unpowered boat rentals or bring your own, the experience promises to be memorable. For those who prefer a more relaxed approach, consider an afternoon or evening dinner cruise aboard the 95-seat Martese.

Fishing enthusiasts can try their luck against the diverse array of fish in the lake, including pickerel (walleye), northern pike, bass, and smaller panfish. The challenge lies in discovering where the elusive trophy fish might be hiding!

The lake boasts fantastic beaches, with water so clear that swimming feels akin to being in rainwater.

8. Margaret Lake

Otter Falls Campground, Margaret Lake
Otter Falls Campground, Margaret Lake

Margaret Lake conceals a hidden gem beneath its waters: Otter Falls. During the era of the Voyagers, this was once a perilous and treacherous area to navigate, but that is no longer the case today. The falls were submerged, and their once turbulent waters were tamed with the installation of a hydro dam on the Winnipeg River. Presently, the serene waters of Margaret Lake welcome summer campers and cottagers.

Choose to camp at Otter Falls Campground, offering a variety of serviced and unserved sites, or opt for a cottage rental at Riverview Lodge, where canoes and kayaks are complimentary for guests.

Margaret Lake is part of a chain of lakes named after women, including Sylvia, Eleanor, and Dorothy. Interconnected, these lakes offer the opportunity for a delightful day on the water, easily navigated by canoe, kayak, pontoon boat, or speedboat.

9. Big Whiteshell Lake

Big Whiteshell Lake
Big Whiteshell Lake

Big Whiteshell Lake resembles a larger version of Brereton Lake. Positioned in the northern part of Whiteshell Provincial Park, this expansive body of water serves as a splendid representation of a breathtaking boreal forest lake.

Renowned for its fishing opportunities, Big Whiteshell Lake attracts enthusiasts who enjoy exploring its vast expanse with power boats.

Accommodation choices range from setting up a tent or parking an RV at the primary campground to opting for a stay at Big Whiteshell Lodge. The lake’s relatively shallow and warm waters, coupled with an excellent beach, make the main campground an appealing option.

10. Nutimik Lake

Nutimik Lake
Nutimik Lake

Nutimik Lake is part of the delightful chain of lakes along Highway 307 in Whiteshell Provincial Park. Situated just 20 minutes north of White Lake, this readily accessible lake offers a diverse range of attractions for all visitors.

Whether you prefer camping at the public campground located at the south end of the lake or indulging in a touch of homely luxury at Nutimik Lodge, there’s an option for everyone. Hiking trails originate from the lake, and a brief drive away, you’ll discover the culturally significant Bannock Point Petroforms.

Connected to the Winnipeg River, Nutimik Lake provides enthusiasts of power boating or canoeing with nearly limitless areas to explore. If a day at the beach is more your style, you can choose from any of the three beaches with water gently lapping at the shore.

For a dose of culture and history, make sure to visit the local museum situated across the highway from the Lodge.

11. Black Lake

Black Lake, Nopiming Provincial Park
Black Lake, Nopiming Provincial Park

Black Lake, situated in Nopiming Provincial Park, highlights some of Manitoba’s finest Canadian Shield terrain.

Extending in a roughly east-west orientation, the lake is lengthy and slender, adorned with islands. It is a perfect location for canoeing or casting a fishing line in pursuit of a colossal northern pike.

Characterized by tranquility, this lake provides an optimal setting to immerse oneself in nature. Wildlife sightings are frequent, offering a good chance to observe deer, foxes, or even a woodland caribou.

The lake features a small campground nestled just off the shoreline, complemented by a series of petite waterfalls draining off one end of the lake.

12. Lake Metigoshe

Lake Metigoshe
Lake Metigoshe

Situated in the southernmost region of the province and partially spanning the international border with the United States is the frequently underestimated Lake Metigoshe. The lake possesses a shallow depth, leading to a gradual warming early in the season that persists until September.

It serves as an excellent lake for recreational boating. While the Canadian section is relatively compact, with proper documentation and notification to the authorities, one can embark on an extensive day trip into the United States.


Q: Are these lakes suitable for family vacations?

Q: Absolutely! Many of the mentioned lakes, such as Duck Mountain Provincial Park and Paint Lake, offer family-friendly activities and accommodations.

Q: Are there any water safety measures in place at these lakes?

A: Yes, each lake has designated safety measures to ensure a secure and enjoyable experience for visitors.

Q: Can I indulge in water sports on Lake Winnipeg?

A: Certainly! Lake Winnipeg is a popular destination for water sports enthusiasts, providing ample opportunities for activities like kayaking and fishing.

Q: Are there camping options available at these lakes?

A: Yes, several lakes, including Riding Mountain National Park and Lake Minnewasta, offer camping facilities for those seeking a closer connection with nature.

Q: How can I learn more about the conservation efforts at these lakes?

A: Most parks and lakes have visitor centers or online resources where you can access information about conservation programs and initiatives