Prairie provinces full of 'bucket list' destinations, says author

Have you driven all of Alberta's highway and trekked through the province's trails to your heart's content? If so, you may want to look to the east for your next roadtrip.

Robin Esrock says Saskatchewan and Manitoba are full of quirky destinations

Robin Esrock, author of the Great Canadian Bucket List, has written a similar book about the Prairies. (CBC)

Originally published May 2.

Have you driven all of Alberta's highway and trekked through the province's trails to your heart's content? If so, you may want to look to the east for your next road trip.

That's according to author Robin Esrock, who in 2013 released The Great Canadian Bucket List: One-of-a-Kind Travel Experiences. He's back again with two new books that focus on Canada's north and the prairies.

"There were so many experiences that I couldn't get into [the first] book," Esrock told CBC's The Homestretch on Monday. "Bucket lists are like whack-a-mole. The more you tick, the more you want to tick. So I discovered a lot more experiences, especially in the prairies, which is this overlooked part of the country."

When Canadians are looking for travel inspiration, they often look to the city, Esrock said. But he said the prairies have their own kind of magic.

"I personally find the prairies to be a really reflective part of the country and also perfect for road trips," he said. "I know that some people find it to be kind of dull, but if you just stop and look around once in a while, just to feel the big sky, I find it to be really reflective."

Esrock, who was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and is now based in Canada, said he still finds it a bit odd to have a best-selling travel book about a country in which he has only lived since 1999.

"The irony is not lost on me that a Canadian immigrant has written a best-selling book about things to do in Canada. It says a lot about Canadian culture, I heard this great quirk that Canadians are arrogant with their modesty," he said.

"When I first set out to do this book I was amazed that no one had written a book like this before. We know how to go to places, we just don't know why. My books are the why.'"

In his own words, here are three of Esrock's recommendations for prairie destinations:

Float on Little Manitou Lake

Robin Esrock calls Little Manitou Lake "Canada's Dead Sea." (Damien Gabrielson/Flickr)

Located 100 kilometres south-east of Saskatoon

"I've been to the Dead Sea numerous times between Israel and Jordan. Go to Little Manitou Lake, you float on your back effortlessly, just like the Dead Sea. It's amazing that people don't come from all over the world, all over North America, never mind all over the prairies to actually float in Canada's dead sea."

Tour the Big Muddy Badlands

Castle Butte is hard to miss in Saskatchewan's Big Muddy Badlands (Shannon Dyck/Flickr)

Located near Coronach, Saskatchewan

"I heard about this and I was like, 'badlands in southern Saskatchewan?' This is part of the Outlaw Trail that Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid developed, where outlaws could go from farm to farm where friendly farmers would help them. It's just an interesting topography. It's not what you expect to see in the prairies."

Find culture in Winnipeg

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is located in Winnipeg. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

Manitoba's capital city

"Churchill gets a lot of the attention [in Manitoba] with its polar bears and beluga whales. Winnipeg, to me, is the most cultural city in the country. It punches way above its cultural weight. The new Canadian Museum for Human Rights is phenomenal, very controversial but absolutely crucial that everybody visits that place."