As I mentioned in my last post (oTENTik Camping), we recently took our first overnight camping trip as a family. We chose Riding Mountain National Park because of how close it is to us (a 4 hour drive) and the amount of family-friendly activities in and around the park. Ford Canada offered us a Ford Escape to use for our weekend adventure. We normally drive a mini van but we really don’t need that much space for a weekend trip. I found that the Ford Escape was big enough for our family and supplies. Also, I could easily reach my son in the backseat to play games with him and keep him entertained. He did so well during the drive! Maybe this means more road trips in the near future!
The vehicle handled really well on the highway and on the back roads around the park. We were able to travel the 4 hour drive on less than one tank of gas. The long sunroof was certainly a bonus on hot summer days with the wind blowing through our hair and the sounds of nature all around us.
Packing For Our Adventure:
Within the next few days, I’ll be making a free printable packing list for camping trips. As you can see from the back of the vehicle, we used all of the space available. I’ve been known to overpack so I tried to keep our packing list down to the necessities. I still packed way too many snacks but I never want to run out of snacks with a toddler!
Riding Mountain National Park:
Riding Mountain National Park is located in Manitoba, Canada. It is one of Parks Canada’s National Parks and is home to the beautiful town of Wasagaming and Clear Lake. From camping in a tent to staying in a luxury lodge, there is something for everyone. Our travel plans included one night in the Elkhorn Resort Spa followed by one night in an oTENTik tent.
Activities in Riding Mountain National Park:
I did a bit of research before we left on our trip and the first thing on my list was to try one of the family bikes. They have a basket on the front for toddlers along with pedals for the adults. My son loved being up on the front of the bike and kept saying “Wee!” as we toured around town. After a while, he insisted on sitting in my husband’s lap so that he could help steer. This is affordable family fun and certainly something that I’d recommend.
While on your bike ride, you can see all of the little shops and restaurants around the main area of town. There are many that you’ll want to check out during your stay in the area. There are small souvenir shops, beach wear stores, a movie theatre (perfect for a rainy day), lots of delicious places to eat, ice cream shops with cozy lounge chairs that overlook the lake and more.
There is even a Beavertails pastry shop just off the beach by the pier. I LOVE Beavertails! I first discovered them while on vacation in Montreal a few years ago and I’ve been dreaming of them ever since. Seriously, they are that delicious! While in the area, you must stop here for a beavertail treat. Let me know what you think of them!
A visit to the Riding Mountain National Park wouldn’t be complete without a day at the beach. Clear Lake is home to a beautiful beach, gorgeous scenery and a large park area. There are public washrooms (very clean), picnic areas, BBQ areas, lots of trees for shade, a pier to walk down and more.
When you are in the area, look at a local map for the “Wishing Well” area. It’s a short drive off the highway and it is absolutely beautiful! There are plenty of flowers and a gorgeous view that can’t be beat. There is a walking path here as well and it’s a great area to explore with your family.
While out exploring we also came across quite a few animals like a baby black bear and a mom deer with two babies. Adorable! Certainly not something we’d see while driving around our city.
Around the Riding Mountain National Park area there are also playgrounds, camping, mini golf, golfing, guided adventures, plenty of restaurants, horseback riding, boat rentals, boat tours, hiking and so much more. You can check the Parks Canada site for a listing of all the activities in the area.
Have you been to Riding Mountain National Park? What do you recommend there for tourists?
*Disclosure: Parks Canada provided my family with a Parks Pass in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own.