When you ask trans-Canada travellers if there's anything to do in Manitoba, the answer is often "Hmm, well, let's see.... not much".
It turns out that often-ignored Manitoba has plenty of nice little places to enjoy, if you're willing to get off the highway for a while. It's a relatively short hop (a bit under an hour north of Highway One) to get to Lake Winnipeg.
This place is alive and vibrant in a way that few southern Ontario lakes are. The minnows, tadpoles and other water life are hard to catch on camera, but the leopard frogs are photogenic- and plentiful.
The combination of high lake levels and dune erosion has left much of Patricia Beach a fair bit smaller than usual, or so we've been told. There's still plenty of space for sunning and swimming, though.
And the trail back to the parking area is green and vibrant. (Private vehicles are prohibited in the quieter, more natural northeast part of the park, although you can drive right up to the edge of the dunes at the louder, busier west area.)
If you're in the Winnipeg area and need an afternoon off, Patricia Beach is on a gravel road on the west side of MB-59 S, just south of Stead Road. It's about half an hour past Selkirk and almost exactly a one-hour drive from downtown Winnipeg. Hit the beach at the main parking lot by the concession stand and start walking until you find a spot that suits you; the noise, chaos and clothing all gradually disappear as you head east towards Beaconia.