Visitors don't exactly flock to Manitoba and Saskatchewan, but that can be a plus if you like unpopulated, wide-open spaces. Located where the northern Great Plains meet the southern reaches of the subarctic boreal forests, these two provinces boast miles of fertile farmland, beautiful wilderness and parkland, and an almost infinite chain of lakes, making them terrific choices for fishing, canoeing, wildlife-watching, and more.

Manitoba is famous for its friendly people, who not only brave long, harsh winters but also till the southern prairie lands in summer, making the region a breadbasket for the nation and the world. Along the southern border outside Winnipeg, wheat, barley, canola, sunflowers, and flax wave at the roadside, the horizon is limitless, and grain elevators pierce the skyline. The province's northern half, punctuated by Lake Winnipeg and Lake Manitoba, is one of North America's last wilderness frontiers, a paradise for anglers and outdoors enthusiasts of all sorts. Here, you'll find many of the province's thousands of lakes, which cover about 20% of Manitoba (the province is sometimes claimed to have 100,000 lakes). In the far north, Churchill is a legendary destination for viewing beluga whales (in summer) and is one of the world's most accessible places to see polar bears (during the fall).

Five times the size of New York State, with a population of a little over a million, Saskatchewan, like neighboring Manitoba to the east, is an outdoor adventurers paradise. Hiking, fishing, camping, cross-country skiing, and wildlife viewing draw visitors to the province's two national parks and 33 provincial parks. The two major cities are the capital, Regina, which is home to one of North America's largest urban parks, and Saskatoon, a progressive university city.