Located 34 miles north of Prince Albert in Saskatchewan’s scenic Lakeland area, Emma Lake features clear waters bordered by pristine forests. Popular summertime activities include swimming, kayaking, boating and golfing, while winter brings all the fun of skating, ice hole fishing, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. Given that many vacation rentals near Emma Lake have waterfront access, you might not want to venture far from the porch. With all of Prince Albert National Park on your doorstep, however, you could easily be tempted to get out into the wilderness for long family hikes. Pop into Murray Point to top up with essential provisions or make the longer trip to the shopping malls at Prince Albert for some more extensive retail therapy.
1. Head out to the Beach for a Swim
If your kids love the freedom of swimming in open water, Lake Emma has plenty of swimming beaches for waterside fun. The sandy beach at Emma Lake Recreation Site is a popular destination with clear, shallow waters surrounded by a thick forest. You can listen to the birds sing as you relax on the beach, and you might even spot a deer as it comes down to the water to drink. A grassy park up from the beach has a playground, a gazebo with barbecues, and picnic tables — everything you need for a great family day out. Just remember to pack your towels and inflatables. There’s a parking lot nearby and a small fee to enter the area.
2. Visit Sunset Bay Marina
Head on down to the Sunset Bay Resort for all your boating needs. If you have your own boat, you can fuel up at the marina and use the boat launch. If you would like to rent a boat, the marina has a range of canoes, kayaks and aqua bike rentals. The marina also features a swimming beach, and volleyball courts, and hosts the only licensed lakeside restaurant on Emma Lake. Round off a great family day out by enjoying a relaxing meal as you watch the sun set.
3. Go Fishing
Be sure to pack your fishing gear, as the lake is a popular place to catch jacks, pike, and walleye. If you have a waterfront vacation rental, you can kick back on the front porch swing and sip your morning coffee while watching your kids dangle a line from the shore of your private dock. Don’t worry if it’s winter and the lake is a sheet of thick ice — now’s the best time to try your hand at ice hole fishing.
4. Take a Dogsled Excursion
Enjoy the thrill of a dogsled excursion and learn about the area’s ecology as you pass through silent, snowy forests. Stop for a campfire and trail snack in a backcountry camp. Sundogs Sled Excursions have a lower age limit of 10 but recommend the activity is best suited for children aged 12 or over. Younger children can enjoy visiting their Puppy Camps to have some educational fun in the snow with some of the youngest and veteran sled dogs.
5. Go Hiking
Take a drive north to the Prince Albert National Park Visitor Centre to learn about the various activities in the park. The numerous trails give plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife like red squirrel, stag elk, osprey, and beaver. Older kids will enjoy the challenge of hiking deep into the wilderness to track down the turn-of-the-century backcountry cabin home of legendary trapper-turned-conservationist Grey Owl.
6. Cross Country Skiing and Snowshoeing
Winter is a great time to get out those skis and follow one of the many groomed cross-country skiing trails that cross the Lakeland area. The Emma Lake Valleyview Trail stretches approximately 3.5 miles and offers a warming shelter along the way to keep the family cozy and motivated on colder days. There is a charge for skiers, but snowshoeing is free.
Families with older teenagers can experience the thrills of taking a snowmobile out along the many trails that connect the area’s lakes. Gas stations and warm-up shelters along the route help keep your family safe and warm. One of the longer trails in the area runs from Emma Lake to Candle Lake and back, offering 60 miles of beautiful scenery.
8. Play a Round of Golf
The area around Emma Lake has plenty to offer to golfing enthusiasts. With 11 courses in reasonable driving distance, including the 18-hole Emma Lake Golf Course and the Lady K par 3 9-hole family course, you’ll have a full itinerary. With so much choice, you can enjoy great tee times with minimal lineups. Younger children will enjoy playing mini-golf at Sunnyside.
9. Cool off at the Water Park
For an afternoon of family fun during the summer season, pop into the Kinsmen Water Park in Prince Albert. With swirling water slides and trained National Lifeguards on duty, you can relax while your older kids get up speed on the chutes. Children under the age of eight must be accompanied by an adult in the water, so you have no excuse but to jump in join in the fun.
10. Indulge in Retail Therapy
The city of Prince Albert has several malls just off the main highway making it an easy trip down from Emma Lake to top up on family essentials or simply browse the big anchors, popular chains, and specialty stores. The Gateway Mall has 55 stores and a food court so you can grab a family meal while you’re there.