Known as the ‘Land of the Living Skies’ for its spectacular cloud formations and sunsets, the province of Saskatchewan offers holidays with a wide variety of activities and attractions across its diverse landscapes – from the flat prairies of the south, to the forests of the north, with a smattering of hills, valleys and marshes along the way. The province has two main cities: its largest city, Saskatoon, and the capital, Regina. There are also many smaller towns and although its total population is less than half of the city of Toronto, the people are warm and welcoming wherever you go.
Despite being landlocked, there are a great many opportunities to get out onto the water with over 100,000 lakes, rivers and streams across the province. Paddle along secluded rivers and coves in a canoe, enjoy a serene sailing adventure on Lake Diefenbaker or cruise down the rapids on the Churchill River. Rent a houseboat and explore the wilderness, try your hand at fishing or bounce around the bays on a jetski.
For those who prefer to keep their feet on the ground there are endless possibilities for hiking. Discover many beautiful trails through the national and provincial parks, whether you are looking for a challenge such as the 16km rugged trek in the centre of Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park or simply a scenic nature walk. There is something rather special about spotting wild animals as you explore the countryside and the province is teeming with these, from the elk and white-tailed deer of the south, to the beaver, wolves and river otters of the north, alongside a host of bird species.
Horse riding goes hand-in-hand with Western Canada and to indulge your inner cowboy you can head out on a trail ride across rolling hills or lush forests. For a real Canadian adventure, visit a working cattle ranch and learn how to tie a lasso or rope cattle.
In winter, the landscapes provide a different sort of entertainment – with skiing, boarding and tobogganing available on some of the steeper hills and highlands, as well as a huge variety of cross-country trails to follow through snow-covered forests and icy lakes. Ice-fishing is a popular pursuit while dog sledding is a fantastic way to see the countryside traditional-style or watch the Northern Lights shimmer across the night skies.
A Saskatchewan holiday in the winter months promises celebrations, with masses of festivals and events across the province. Choose from stunning ice sculpting competitions and exciting dog sled races to lively beach festivals and King Trapper contests – where contestants compete in events such as tree felling, wood splitting and trap setting.
Saskatoon and Regina offer all the big city amenities you might expect, from excellent shopping and restaurants to fascinating museums and galleries, but boast a welcoming small-town feel. Regina is a lovely place to explore with a beautiful leafy lake and some impressive historic buildings such as Government House and the Legislative Buildings. It is also home to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s training centre which has an interesting museum attached where you can discover the history of the ‘Mounties’, a Canadian institution.
Saskatoon also has some lovely outdoor spaces with a river running through the centre of town offering plenty of pretty walks and cruises. There are attractions including the Farm Park & Zoo and the unusual Western Development Museum which houses a replica of the original 1900s Saskatoon boom town, complete with entertaining demonstrations and a working café.
Saskatchewan is a beautiful province in which nature is often all the eye can see. It boasts many different attractions throughout its contrasting landscapes and seasons, but two things always remain: the warmth of its people, and the chill of its winters!
Things to do
Popular Saskatchewan holiday ideas
Top tips for visiting Saskatchewan
Top Tip 1
• There are over 100,000 lakes and rivers in the province and lots of opportunity to get out on the water, but for an unusual day out head to Little Manitou Lake. With a higher salt content than even Israel’s Dead Sea, you can enjoy floating weightlessly in the lake or in the indoor spa pool.
Top Tip 2
• The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have been trained in Regina since 1885 and the image of the red-uniformed ‘Mountie’ is classic Canada. Visit the heritage centre and discover the interesting story of the mounted police and their origins here in the west.
Top Tip 3
• The town of Moose Jaw has a colourful history as a result of its involvement in bootlegging during the 1920s prohibition period. The underground tunnels used to smuggle alcohol to and from the railway station now make up part of an entertaining tour in the Tunnels of Moose Jaw museum.
Top Tip 4
• Though known as a flat province, there are hills enough to enjoy downhill skiing during the winter months and the stunning cross-country trails regularly feature in top ten lists of the best Nordic terrain in Canada.
Top Tip 5
• In the aptly named Valley of Hidden Secrets, one of the country’s most complete T-Rex skeletons was discovered and is now on display in the T-Rex Discovery Centre in Eastend alongside many other fascinating artefacts and information.
Top Tip 6
• If you are looking for a shopping destination away from the big cities, head to local’s favourite Fort Qu’Appelle which has a great mix of restaurants and quirky boutiques to explore.
Top Tip 7
• The friendly Saskatchewans love to throw a party and there are festivals and events throughout the year. From thrilling dog-sled races to vibrant First Nations Pow Wows, music festivals of all kinds to dusty rodeos, there is always something to get involved in.
Top Tip 8
• If you are staying in Regina during the hot summer months, don’t miss a trip to the Milky Way. Serving over forty delicious and unusual flavours of ice cream - from grape to rootbeer - as well as milkshakes, sundaes and many other tasty dishes, the queues around the block prove just how good it is.