Minnesota is known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes. If you’re someone who has a fondness for being around the water, you’ll love it there. Many hobbyists flock to the lakes throughout the state to partake in fishing, kayaking, and some much-needed relaxation.
Of course, you cannot forget about the nearby beaches as well. Minnesota may not be the first place you think of when talking about the best beaches, but there are some waterside locales there that are well worth visiting.
In this article, we’ve highlighted some of the top beaches in Minnesota because that’s the best way to enjoy the summer like a true Minnesotan.
We’ve also included some important details about each beach so you know what to expect once you’re there.
Read on and find out more about the best beaches in Minnesota!
Table of Contents
Best Minnesota Beaches to Visit
Afton State Park
To get things started, let’s take a closer look at Afton State Park. It’s found along the eastern side of Minnesota in Washington County and it’s a pretty fun location to explore.
Before you even get to the beach, you can check out the visitor center. Many visitors head there if they want to have a meal before heading out to visit the rest of the park.
Sprawling trails crisscross the park. Bridges are in place to connect the trails so feel free to check out the locations that catch your eye. You can also hike to the overlook and take in the majesty of your surroundings.
Upon finally arriving at the beach, jump in and go for a swim! The water is typically shallow and calm. It’s a safe spot for your kids and there’s a picnic area close by so you can keep an eye on them.
You can also rent a boat to explore the waters better, but that’s all you’re getting in terms of rental options.
There are also campgrounds on Afton State Park. Go ahead and stay over for the night if you want to make the most out of your vacation.
See Related: Best Museums in Minnesota
Bear Head Lake State Park
Next up in this article detailing the top beaches in Minnesota is Bear Head Lake State Park.
Bear Head Lake State Park can be found in Saint Louis County and it’s also pretty close to the Boundary Waters region.
Simply put, Bear Head Lake State Park features one of the most breathtaking beaches in the entire country.
Watching the sunset or sunrise while framed by the verdant trees in the park is an experience unlike any other.
Bear Head Lake State Park offers more than just beautiful scenery though. Rent a canoe, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard there so you can explore the area better.
When it comes to campsites, you have a few options to choose from. You can set up a tent and use one of the campsites in the park.
Alternatively, you can rent out the camper cabin and enjoy a somewhat more luxurious vacation there. It’s kind of like your own personal hotel located deep in the wilderness of Minnesota.
Big Bog State Recreation Area
Big Bog State Recreation Area is another of the nicer beaches in Minnesota. This area found just to the north of Waskish Minnesota boasts a varied collection of attractions that are well worth seeing and experiencing in person.
Let’s start with the beaches in the area. What we like so much about them is that they cater to visitors of all ages and skill levels.
There are safe and shallow spots that are absolutely ideal for kids. For the more advanced swimmers, there are deeper areas that allow you to walk into the water.
Ride the water after renting a canoe, kayak, or paddleboard. That should allow you to experience the beach in a whole new way.
Big Bog State Recreation Area also offers different kinds of accommodations to guests. You and your family can make use of the available campgrounds or stay in one of the camper cabins.
The camper cabins provide electricity, fire pits, and vault toilets. If this is your first time going camping with your family, you may want to rent one of the camper cabins.
See Related: Best Cabins in Minnesota
Are you looking for black sand beaches in Minnesota?
You won’t have a wide selection to choose from, but you can head over to the Black Beach on Minnesota’s North Shore which on its own is one of the best things to do in Minnesota by far.
There are some pictures online that showcase the Black Beach but there’s nothing like seeing it in person.
The black grains of sand on the shore create a scene that looks like it was ripped out of a sci-fi movie. And yet, there you are, experiencing it in person.
The rocky terrain surrounding the Black Beach only adds to its unique charm. Stay safe if you decide to climb those rocky formations though.
Although there are picnic tables on the beach, you won’t find much else in terms of amenities. Parking can also be a bit troublesome because of how small the area is. Consider those factors before paying a visit to Black Beach.
See Related: Tettegouche State Park Travel Guide
Camden State Park
Camden State Park is one of the must-visit beaches in southern Minnesota.
It all starts with the accommodations. You won’t have to contend with other guests over lodgings if you decide to stay for a while in Camden State Park, as there are numerous options available.
Stay in the group campgrounds if you’re traveling with a large party. Have fun relaxing there and enjoy a meal using the picnic tables provided.
The upper campgrounds in Camden State Park are suitable for those bringing the RV if you own one.
Park your RV there then head out to enjoy all that the beach has to offer.
You and your family can also stay in the enclosed shelter if you want to stay somewhere more comfortable.
The beach itself is accessible to all guests. You may find it a bit lacking if you’re an avid swimmer, but it’s great for kids.
Head over to the spring-fed pool in the park if you want to swim around more. Canoe, kayak, and paddleboard rentals are also available for those looking to have fun along the water.
See Related: Best Parks in Minneapolis
Fort Snelling State Park
Located along both the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers, Fort Snelling State Park features one of the top beaches in Minnesota.
Get all your preparations out of the way as you prepare for a fun weekend in Fort Snelling State Park.
The beach that spans along Snelling Lake is truly one of the most stunning you’ll find anywhere in the state. You also won’t have to wait for a spot on the shore to open up because this is an especially wide beach.
Also, note that Snelling Lake Beach is handicap-accessible. Lifeguards are also on standby to keep watch over the folks having fun under the sun.
Fort Snelling State Park’s Picnic Island is where you and your family can go once you’ve had your fill of fun for the day. The shelters there are handicap-accessible and they also feature electricity.
See Related: Best Parks in St. Paul, Minnesota
Glacial Lakes State Park
This list of the top beaches in Minnesota continues with Glacial Lakes State Park.
You can find this place close to Starbuck; one of the best beach towns in Minnesota!
We can discuss Starbuck some other time though. For now, let’s focus on Glacial Lakes State Park.
The beach found inside the park is not for beginners. It gets very deep in certain spots and the drop-off is not always obvious. Keep your kids close to the coastline if you’re letting them swim.
Consider renting a kayak or canoe instead if you and your kids want to traverse the waters in Glacial Lakes State Park.
Stand-up paddleboards are also available but don’t use them unless you have prior experience. Secure protection for yourself and your kids beforehand so you’re prepared no matter what happens.
The campgrounds in the park are well maintained and handicap-accessible. You can also park your RV there if you brought it along for the trip.
When it gets chilly at night, buy some firewood from the attendants and cozy up next to the fire.
See Related: Cascade River State Park Travel Guide
Hayes Lake State Park
You can find numerous lake beaches in Minnesota. Among the best you can find in the North Star State is undoubtedly Hayes Lake State Park.
Situated in the northwestern portion of Minnesota, Hayes Lake State Park is one of the best-maintained natural locales anywhere in the state. That becomes evident right away as you check out the fishing pier and boat access in the area.
The beach is also perfect for families paying a visit. There’s more than enough space on the sand for kids to play around in and there are plenty of shallows too.
You can also rent a kayak or canoe and row together with your children. That’s a great way to spend the day in Hayes Lake State Park.
See Related: Frontenac State Park Travel Guide
Itasca State Park
It’s time to take a trip to Itasca State Park next. Head to the park in your RV and get ready to have one of the most enjoyable outdoor weekends ever.
There are so many reasons why this beach located to the north of Park Rapids, Minnesota is worth visiting.
Let’s start with the beach. Get into the water and relax as you absorb the beautiful scenery around you. The beach is also a great place for any kids who are looking to let some energy loose.
If you want to go exploring, hop on a bike and ride through the trail that goes through the park. You can also explore this place by hitching a ride on the tour boat.
Upscale accommodations are also available in Itasca State Park. Staying in the Douglas Lodge is an incredible experience unto itself.
Itasca State Park presents visitors with one of the top beaches in Minnesota and so much more.
Plan a vacation there and you certainly won’t regret it!
See Related: Best Museums in Minnesota
Lake Shetek State Park
It’s time to take a trip back to the southwestern region of Minnesota. This time around, we’re doing so in order to learn more about Lake Shetek State Park.
After visiting there, you may come to know Lake Shetek State Park as one of the best lake beaches in Minnesota.
Lake Shetek State Park actually features multiple beaches. If you cannot find a good spot along one sandy shore, take a trip around the area. There will likely be a less populated beach close by.
The aforementioned locale also presents visitors with multiple accommodation options.
Splurge for a camping cabin or a private campsite if you so choose. You can also check out the spacious group campsites if you’re looking to save some money.
See Related: Best Van Camping Equipment
McCarthy Beach State Park
McCarthy Beach State Park has a special place in the hearts of many Minnesotans. It’s been considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Minnesota for decades. You’ll have a tough time finding people who grew up in Saint Louis County who haven’t been to McCarthy Beach.
The beach is an ideal hangout spot for families. The water is not too deep so your kids can safely swim around in it.
Boats are also available to rent if you’re interested. You can also rent a kayak, canoe, or paddleboard if you so choose.
The campgrounds in McCarthy Beach State Park are quite large.
It’s easy to find a suitable camping spot for your family and you don’t even have to pay a premium for it.
Scenic State Park
Our last entry into this article detailing the must-visit beaches in Minnesota can be found in none other than Scenic State Park.
Scenic State Park is not just a place where you can hang out during the summer. It’s also a location steeped in history. Pay a visit there and marvel at the ingenuity of the people who came before us, both native and European pioneer.
It’s also tough to come up with a better name for Scenic State Park. Regardless of where you are in the park, you will be treated to some stunning views.
Stay in one of the available cabins or set up your tent in one of Scenic State Park’s many camping areas. Canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards are also made available to those who want to see more of the park.
Hop in your rental car now because you don’t want to miss out on that tourist hotspot.
Now that you know more about the beaches in Minnesota, you should be able to pick out the right vacation spot for your family. Truth be told though, there is no wrong option there for you to choose.