Here are ten good road trips from Saskatoon. All of these picks are within an hour or so of the city.
Now that the snow has more or less melted I’ve got the itch to do some spring travelling on the open road. Finding good road trips from Saskatoon can be a cost-effective way to satisfy your wanderlust to more exotic destinations. And these places definitely won’t break the bank.
If you’re planning to get out of town for the weekend, here are ten of the best spots to check out within an hour of Saskatoon’s city limits. Each of these destinations will take you to an unexpected locale that’s far enough away while remaining close enough that you won’t need to get a room for the night.
Got the spring travelers’ itch? Scratch it off at one of these destinations. This is your pick ten for good road trips from Saskatoon.
Kick up your heels at Danceland on Manitou Beach.
If you’re like me you love to dance in the moonlight. But it can really wear you out if you’re on your feet all night at a regular bar or club. That’s when it’s time to take a special trip to Danceland, or “the world famous dancefloor built on horsehair”. Your tootsies will love you for it!
When I was around 16 years old my Aunt Alison planned a family trip to Danceland to celebrate with my grandma and her brother (my great uncle). I can’t remember what the celebration was for, but I do remember everyone having a really great time all night on the dance floor (including the grand kids all the way up to the grandparents).
Manitou Beach is also home to Canada’s largest indoor mineral spa, so make sure to plan accordingly for a truly memorable day trip.
Spook yourself silly at the Crooked Bush near Hafford.
Scientists have yet to explain why the Aspen trees are growing every which way but up. (Especially considering there is another set of Aspens right next to the crooked ones that are perfectly normal.) So locals have taken it upon themselves to develop many different explanations ranging from UFOs to lightening strikes.
While everyone is busy trying to explain the unexplained, I’ll be busy packing for a picnic lunch with the paranormal*.
*This natural phenomenon is considered a national treasure and one of Canada’s 54 Wonders. Please be respectful, so that it remains intact.
Go day drinking at Wolf Willow Winery in Outlook.
Saskatchewan has a new winery?! Why yes, it does! Wolf Willow is a seasonal winery that uses locally grown fruit to make their Cherry and Haskap vino. Plus, they have light fare to keep you grounded during an afternoon of non-stop sipping*.
*Buy your designated driver a bottle to sip when they get home.
**Pedestrian access is restricted on both bridges until enough funds can be raised to repair them.
FYI: If you remember swimming in the Regional Park as a kid, you’ll be happy to hear that they’re breaking ground on a new public swimming pool set to open in summer 2018.
Visit Zealandia, a town so small it doesn’t even have a website.
My mom took my brother and I to a Medieval Festival around Zealandia when we were kids. I remember that we spent an entire day jousting and shooting arrows. I couldn’t find relevant details on that event for this post, but Zealandia is still worth checking out if only for the northern light show on a quiet spring night.
If you can confirm the Medieval Festival is still a thing – get in touch with me!
SUP in the sun at Pike Lake.
SUP stands for Standup Paddleboarding. Supping is an offshoot of surfing that originated in Hawaii, only you use a paddle to propel yourself instead of the waves.
Good thing you don’t need ocean waves to SUP because Saskatchewan is renowned for our lakes. And Pike Lake is only about 20 minutes away from Saskatoon! It’s the perfect day trip where you can get comfortable on the board and relax in the sun before you head to a larger lake in the summer.
Pike Lake offers canoe, paddleboat, aquabike, surfbike, and kayak rentals from their boat shack. The season opens on May Long Weekend.
Note: due to the short distance to Pike Lake from Saskatoon, it can be insanely busy during the summer months. So take advantage of the cooler weather before it gets nuts.
Learn about Canada’s bloody past at Batoche and Fort Carlton near Duck Lake.
Both locations straddle Duck Lake, a town that steeped in history as told from three perspectives: Cree, French and English. It’s also famous for being the home of prolific Canadian artist Glen Scrimshaw.
If you’re a history buff, this is the perfect spot to check out. Batoche tells the authentic story of Louis Reil and Gabriel Dumont with thousands of artifacts, including bullet holes in the church and a real cemetery just a few steps away. Fort Carlton tells the other side of the story from the perspective of the RCMP and the Hudson Bay Company.
Duck Lake is a must-see for tourists, but you can make it your own by hiking, canoeing, and geocaching through the landscape.
Adventure at Blue Mountain Park near North Battleford.
If testing your limits is one of your favourite pastimes, Blue Mountain is the perfect spot for you. Get a group together for paintball, zip-lines, high ropes, trail rides and more. Plus, funding supports the Lighthouse Supported Living. It’s a win-win day trip you can feel really good about.
Slip away for a quiet afternoon tea at the Station Arts Centre in Rosthern.
Is there anything more quintessentially Saskatchewan than a slice of fresh-made Saskatoon Berry crumble? That’s a rhetorical question.
Head to Rosthern to enjoy a slice for yourself. You may like it so much that you’ll want to stay a little longer for one of their many arts events (check their calendar beforehand).
Go surfing at Lake Diefenbaker.
If you’re willing to get really creative with your time off it’s possible to catch a wave on the flatlands. Surf Anywhere, a Calgary-based collective, thought that Lake Diefenbaker would make a great spot to ride a wave. According to this article from CBC, Lake Diefenbaker Tourism supports the idea. Safety is still a concern that they’re working on getting permission from SaskPower who controls the Dam. In the meantime, there are plenty of other things to do at Lake Diefenbaker.
Hike up and down Blackstrap Mountain then relax with your fishing pole by the water.
Located just 40 minutes south of the city, it’s good day trip from Saskatoon that you’ll find super relaxing. The trail up to the top of mountain and back is only about 5 km loop, so you can spend the rest of the day with your fishing rod at the beach*.
When I was a kid, after we were done swimming at Blackstrap Lake we came out caked in algae. Wiping away all the gooey-gunk was honestly part of the fun, but I’m not totally sure if things have changed much since then (please correct me if they have).
*If you decide to catch your dinner ensure you purchase a valid fishing license.
BONUS TRIPS that are slightly more than an hour away, but worth checking out this spring.
Tuck and roll down the sand dunes at Douglas Provincial Park.
This is one of many sand dunes in Saskatchewan, it just happens to be a bit closer to Saskatoon than most.
Although I have never been my friend Diane highly recommends it. She says, “When you arrive a park staff will give you directions to two beaches. One is the main resort and the other is further down the highway. The latter is harder to reach, but there’s a private beach with clear water that goes for miles.
It’s a one lane road and it doesn’t have bathrooms, but it’s worth the effort for those with a sense of adventure. You’ll also spot cacti on your way to the dunes. Saskatchewan has cacti!”
Slither onto a Springtime Snake Orgy at Fort Livingstone.
I had you at snake orgy, didn’t I?
Full disclosure: this place is NOT within an hour of Saskatoon, but it’s so odd that I had to add it to the list.
Whether or not you can appreciate a tangled mass of writhing Discovery Channel sex or not, you must be intrigued about the history of the Fort Livingstone Snake Pit.
In the middle of winter back in the late 1800’s, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police set up a permanent camp on the banks of Swan River. Little did they know it was a thriving snake den. According to many journals when spring came around they learned of their mistake and spent most of their days catching (relatively) harmless serpents.
Although the Mounties and the Fort are long gone the snakes make a big appearance every spring for the first few weeks in May.
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