By Lori Janeson
If you’re a parent, you know that taking a family vacation can be a precious time of bonding and making the memories of a lifetime. You also know that keeping children interested and engaged can be a challenge.
If you’re looking for a destination that hits all the right spots both for yourself and the children, you can’t do better than Hecla Island and the Interlake region. The children will be so busy they won’t have time to say “I’m bored.”
A Vacation at Hecla is Affordable
If you’re on a budget, and most families are, money matters. A vacation to Hecla Island and the Lake Winnipeg region is an affordable destination that packs a whole lot of attractions and activities that rival more expensive locations. Enjoy a variety of free and budget-friendly activities from walking the beaches to visiting historical sites without worrying about spending too much.
So Many Beaches, Too Little Time
It might seem like there’s not enough time to get everything in, but choosing one or two beaches to visit gives you much-needed relaxation time and children the fun they look for.
“Sunset Beach and Gull Harbour give families ample opportunities to swim after a day of hiking, kayaking, fishing or biking.” — Lori Janeson
Swimming is best left for late summer vacations, but even when the water’s cold, the beautiful surroundings provide plenty of fun.
Patricia Beach Provincial Park is another great family beach with picnic areas, scenic walks and swimming. Shifting sand dunes, deciduous forest and a marsh/lagoon area gives children a lot to explore.
There’s nothing like hiking one of the region’s enchanting parks or trails to tire the children out. Seriously though, getting back to nature after living, working and going to school in the city is vital for the well-being of the entire family. The Interlake region is full of parks, wilderness areas hiking trails and historical sites ideal for recharging the spirit.
Hecla Island is part of the Hecla-Grindstone Provincial Park. Enjoy self-guided tours of Hecla Village, the restored early-20th century Icelandic fishing village, visit Grassy Narrows Marsh to see wildlife, maybe even a moose and experience the Lighthouse Trail near Gull Harbour.
A visit to FortWhyte Alive provides a unique and compelling connection to nature and sustainable living. The 640-acre protected green space is a haven to wildlife and is particularly dramatic in September because of fall bird migration.
What began as a war of the railroads in the 1880s is now a wildlife and environmental education area. Open year-round, FortWhyte Alive has more than seven kilometres of hiking trails where people can hike or snowshoe through breathtaking forests and meadows.
One of FortWhyte’s unique attractions is a 70-acre bison prairie where bison roam free. Bison viewing safaris are available throughout the summer months. Other family activities include nature walks, wildlife viewing, a family treehouse, canoeing and year-round fishing.
FortWhyte also has Manitoba’s largest indoor aquarium, a gift shop, museum and plenty of environmental and historical exhibits.
A family vacation to Hecla Island and the Interlake region is sure to provide more than just a getaway but also builds those precious memories you and your family will always remember.
Lori Janeson and her husband David are the owners of the Gull Harbour Marina on Hecla Island