As soon as summer arrives, Saskatchewanians head to the lake – any lake! The province is home to 100,000 of them – many of which are ringed by sandy shorelines perfect for lying under the sun and working on your tan lines. With so many options, it can be difficult to narrow down which ones to visit. Here are five beaches perfect to dig your toes in and relax with the family.
Good Spirit Lake Provincial Park and its namesake lake are home to one of the best beaches in Saskatchewan. Located 35 minutes northwest of Yorkton, this lake is popular because of its gently sloping sandy beach and clear water (that’s also weed-free). Because it’s so shallow, the water is warmer than most lakes in Canada and perfect to play and lounge in. Beachgoers often set their chairs right in the lake while kids can safely splash around in only a few inches of water.
For even more of the soft, silky sand the beach is made up of, an easy 3km roundtrip hike along the shoreline takes you to the centre of 5-storey tall sand dunes. A climb to the top of the boardwalk offers stunning views over the lake, especially at sunset.
Lake Diefenbaker is the largest lake in southern Saskatchewan with 800 kilometers of seemingly endless ribbons of caramel coloured beaches. Douglas Provincial Park in the southeast has miles upon miles of sandy beaches to explore as well as a forested campground and an interpretive trail that leads to the nearby sand dunes. The Store by the Shore is a one-stop shop for a hot meal, camping goods and a wide selection of hard ice cream. They also rent canoes, kayaks, SUP’s, and peddle and paddle boats right from the main beach.
Little Manitou Lake is unique to the northern hemisphere and considered “The Dead Sea of Canada.” Many believe the water has restorative health benefits due to its high salt and mineral properties. It’s also easy to float here since the mineral density is three times saltier than the ocean.
While the water is the main draw, the beach along the lake is excellent. The village of Manitou has built its businesses up around the shoreline with a beach bar and volleyball courts just feet from the water. Next door, Oda serves up delicious meals, coffee, and wine on their beachfront patio. The nearby mini-mart doles out extra-large helpings of ice cream and across the street the Manitou Springs Resort has heated mineral pools to relax in. If that’s not enough, there are paddleboard rentals and tours, a drive-in movie theatre, mini-golf, a dancehall with a world-famous horsehair-sprung dance floor and a variety of artists shops to check out along the boardwalk.
On a scorching hot midsummer’s day in Prince Albert National Park, an hour north of Prince Albert, you’ll find visitors parked at the Waskesiu Main Beach worshipping the sun amid umbrellas, beach balls, floaty toys and sand buckets. While there are nearly a dozen beaches throughout the park, most people choose to spend their time on this 600 metre stretch of sand. Main Beach is steps away from picnic shelters, a playground and the shops, restaurants, cabins and campgrounds located right in the townsite. A hot tip is to go early and pick up freshly baked cinnamon buns from the Waskesiu Trading Company.
While Katepwa Point Provincial Park is a day-use area, it’s one of the most popular beaches for those escaping the heat of the city in nearby Regina. Only an hour’s drive east into the scenic rolling hills of the Qu’Appelle Valley, the beach is cradled by lapping water on one side and a shaded grassy area on the other. Throughout the summer months, local yoga instructors offer classes in the shade on the lawn while the Queen City SUP shop operates a hut on the beach and offers lessons and rentals.
With so many amazing beaches to choose from – which one will you head to first this summer? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!
-Ashlyn George is an award-winning travel writer, photographer and content creator behind The Lost Girl’s Guide to Finding the World.
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