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Guests observing polar bear at ground level. Seal River Heritage Lodge. Quent Plett photo.

Guests observing polar bear at ground level. Seal River Heritage Lodge. Quent Plett photo.

Can you really see polar bears during the summer? We get asked this question time and time again, and the answer is a resounding YES! And you can see them in their home environment, at ground level!

When most people start researching a trip to see polar bears in Canada, they often focus on the traditional polar bear viewing months of October and November in Churchill, Manitoba, but viewing polar bears in the summer flora and fauna of the tundra has provided our guests with some of their favourite lifetime travel memories.

Polar bear lounging by the river. Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge. Andre Erlich photo.

Polar bear lounging by the river. Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge. Andre Erlich photo.

Our recent February and March Nanuk Emergence Quest and Cloud Wolves of the Kaska Coast safaris were our best ever for moms and cubs, and wolves, and we’re hoping for more of the same this summer!

At Churchill Wild’s remote fly-in ecolodges on the Hudson Bay coast, our summer guests start seeing polar bears in the second week of July, shortly after these grand carnivores come off the ice.

There’s nothing more exciting than seeing your first polar bear of the season. It never gets old. And this is the time of year when the bears are often “just-off-the-ice” pure white and gorgeous.

Polar bear relaxing in fireweed. Seal River Heritage Lodge. Dennis Fast photo.

Polar bear relaxing in fireweed. Seal River Heritage Lodge. Dennis Fast photo.

The summer polar bear viewing season begins in early July with our Birds, Bears & Belugas safari at Seal River Heritage Lodge, which is located 60 km north of Churchill near the Seal River estuary.

Next comes the Artic Discovery in late July at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge, which is located 250 km southeast of Churchill near York Factory. The Arctic Discovery is followed by the Hudson Bay Odyssey at Nanuk, which begins in mid August and runs through late September into the fall colours season.

The Summer Dual Lodge Safari offers guests the chance to experience the best of both lodges and takes place from mid August to early September.

Okay, you’re interested… but which safari do you choose? Here are the differences:

Birds, Bears, & Belugas

  • 7 nights, 8 days (5 nights at Seal River Heritage Lodge and 2 nights at The Grand Hotel in Winnipeg)
  • Daily treks at Seal River Heritage Lodge to view polar bears and other Arctic wildlife, up-close-and-personal, in their natural habitat
  • Zodiac tours to view beluga whales near the mouth of the Seal River
  • Common Sightings: polar bears, beluga whales, fox, hare, shorebirds, sik-siks
Beluga whale watching. Seal River Heritage Lodge. Churchill Wild photo.

Beluga whale watching. Seal River Heritage Lodge. Churchill Wild photo.

Arctic Discovery

  • 8 nights, 9 days (2-night stay at a hotel in Churchill, 4 nights at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge and 2 nights at The Grand Hotel in Winnipeg)
  • Boat and kayak tours with Sea North Tours to view beluga whales while in Churchill
  • Guided hikes and “tundra rhino” excursions at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge to view polar bears and other Arctic wildlife, up-close-and-personal, in their natural habitat
  • Common Sightings: polar bears, beluga whales, wolves, black bears
Summer polar bear mom and cub. Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge. Robert Postma photo.

Summer polar bear mom and cub. Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge. Robert Postma photo.

Hudson Bay Odyssey

  • 6 nights, 7 days (4 nights at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge and 2 nights at The Grand Hotel in Winnipeg)
  • Guided hikes and “tundra rhino” excursions at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge to view polar bears and other Arctic wildlife, up-close-and-personal, in their natural habitat
  • Common Sightings: polar bears, black bears, wolves, moose, northern lights
Guests photographing polar bear at fence. Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge. Robert Postma photo.

Guests photographing polar bear at fence. Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge. Robert Postma photo.

Summer Dual Lodge Safari

  • 10 nights, 11 days (4 nights at Seal River Heritage Lodge, 4 nights at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge and 2 nights at The Grand Hotel in Winnipeg)
  • Guided hikes to view polar bears and other Arctic wildlife in their natural habitat, Zodiac tours to view beluga whales at Seal River Heritage Lodge, “tundra rhino” excursions at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge
  • Common Sightings: polar bears, beluga whales, sik-siks, black bears, moose, wolves, shorebirds, northern lights
Polar bear enjoying the sunshine at Seal River Heritage Lodge. Charlotte-Horner photo.

Polar bear enjoying the sunshine at Seal River Heritage Lodge. Charlotte-Horner photo.

Testimonials

A truly unforgettable 5 star experience!

“The folks at Churchill Wild and specifically Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge provided a ‘next level’ experience. Set in a remote and tranquil part of Hudson Bay the incredible staff, the lodge, the individualized attention and of course the magnificent polar and black bears made this an excursion to remember for a lifetime. We can’t wait to visit Seal River Lodge in the future!”

Sheldon L. – visited Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge in August

Read more 5-Star Reviews of Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge on Tripadvisor

Spectacular from beginning to end

“How blessed we feel to have had an experience of a lifetime . Every effort is made by the whole team to ensure all guests have the best experience ever, and we most definitely did. We LOVED everything. Of course wildlife viewing was our number one priority, the guides are so knowledgeable, work incredibly hard, safely and patiently to ensure you have the best chances of seeing everything this place has to offer.”

Kay123k – visited Seal River Heritage Lodge in July

Read more 5-Star Reviews of Seal River Heritage Lodge on Tripadvisor

Playful polar bear. Seal River Heritage Lodge. Jad Davenport photo.

Playful polar bear. Seal River Heritage Lodge. Jad Davenport photo.

Each of our lodges has their own unique aspects and each safari has been tailored to suit the interests of our worldwide guests. And if you really can’t choose, we offer the Summer Dual Lodge Safari to satisfy our Goldilocks travellers.

If you’d like to walk with polar bears, but prefer to avoid the frigid temperatures of fall and winter, our summer polar bear safaris allow you to watch them laze amongst the flowers or bathe in the bay instead.

Polar bear smelling the flowers. Seal River Heritage Lodge. Judith Herrdum photo.

Remember to stop and smell the flowers. Seal River Heritage Lodge. Judith Herrdum photo.

We transport you into the heart of polar bear country to view polar bears at eye level and show you everything Canada’s wild and pristine Hudson Bay coastline has to offer.

The summer polar bear tours and safaris above are filling up quickly. (Birds, Bears & Belugas is almost sold out.) If you’re interested, or have any questions, please email us at info@churchillwild.com or call us Toll Free at 1 (866) UGO-WILD (846-9453).

See you on the tundra!


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Please note: Our staff will be away from the office for a team building retreat May 23 - May 25, 2024.
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