Written by Michel LaRivière
The last time I stayed at the Elkhorn Resort was a few years ago and I was very eager to return with my family since I had heard so many great comments about their brand new family friendly pool which was just completed last fall.
We began our vacation by packing the van and heading out Friday after work. The drive to Elkhorn took just over 3 hours and if I can suggest one tip, it would be to take Mountain Road (Hwy 357) off Hwy #5 which is an amazing scenic drive through the rolling hillsides of the Parkland region! A pit stop on Mountain Road was a must in order to stretch our legs, eat a snack and take some beautiful panoramic pictures.
We arrived at the resort on Friday evening and were greeted with a smile by a very welcoming staff member at the front desk which set the tone for a great weekend stay. My two young children, who were still awake, were eager to go see the new pool. To my surprise, the pool area was open until midnight for adults. We took a quick peek inside and they were wowed by the waterslide and the splashing buckets and couldn’t wait to go swimming the next morning. A games room next to the pool area is also new, featuring a pool table and a foosball table.
Elkhorn Resort had recently completed renovations to its rooms, and I was quite impressed when we walked into our room to see a modern bathroom with a large tile shower and granite countertops.
The next morning, my wife and I were awakened very early by our kids ……“Wake up dad, it’s time to go to the pool,” yelled out my son. As a parent, you realize quickly that there’s no time to rest when you’re on vacation!
To save time, we decided to order breakfast from the Buffalo Bar restaurant at the resort and have it delivered to our room. The kids thought that was such a treat. The breakfast omelet was just what we needed to kick start the day and everyone was now ready to go swimming!
Once the kids were in their swimsuits, it was difficult to keep them from running down the hallway to the pool. They entered the pool area and immediately started yelling “Mom/Dad, let’s go on the slide!” It put a smile on our faces to see them filled with so much joy, since that’s really what a family holiday is all about.
The slide was hours of fun both for the kids and for mom and dad and the pool was also very well designed with different water features in multiple areas. The innovative floating rubber logs with a cargo net were a big hit with the kids as well as the blue buckets which dumped water every few seconds. The resort has also built an exterior hot tub with a large patio great for relaxing under the sun.
No visit to Elkhorn is complete without spending at least one or two days exploring one of Manitoba’s most iconic parks, Riding Mountain National Park, which is rich in wildlife and vibrant shops and restaurants.
Riding Mountain National Park is by far one of my favorite areas to visit in Manitoba and I was enthusiastic for my kids to explore the park for the first time.
The townsite of Wasagaming is located just inside the park and is such a gem. We decided to park the van near the beach and went in search of adventure….and lunch.
We started off by visiting the Parks Canada Visitor Centre which is the best place to get ideas on what to do in the park.
Just steps away from the Visitor Centre, you can go inside one of the Parks Canada oTENTiks which is a unique blend of homey comfort and a taste of outdoor adventure. It is a great alternative to tent camping.
We strolled around the townsite of Wasagaming and grabbed some lunch at the Wigwam.
After lunch it was time for a walk along the dock and a quick peek at the relaxing beach overlooking Clear Lake.
I had always wanted to explore the bison enclosure in the park at Lake Audy and when I mentioned this to the kids they were all for it! Lake Audy is located 44 km from Wasagaming off Hwy 354.
We headed back in the van and hit the road for the 45 minute trip to the enclosure.
Along the way we stopped at the Wishing Well which I would compare to a real life postcard. It is such a majestic place to take pictures and has a stunning view of Clear Lake.
We then set back out on our trip to the bison enclosure and after driving for about 15 minutes, out of nowhere, we spot a black bear cub crossing the road. My kids had never seen a black bear in the wild and we were all very excited about our first wildlife sighting!
We finally arrived at the bison enclosure and the kids were quite anxious to see these large creatures. As we drove into the enclosure, to our surprise, the bison were all gathered only feet from the road. Seeing bison up close was one of the highlights of this trip and the kids were amazed of their actual size when they were only a few feet away from the van.
The drive back to town was just as incredible with picturesque views of the forest at every turn.
We eventually made our way back to Elkhorn Resort and had just enough time to explore the property which is quite vast and full of natural beauty.
All in all, we had such a marvelous weekend and I must say that and if you are planning a family trip to Riding Mountain National Park, I would highly recommend staying at the Elkhorn Resort!