The 10 Best Beaches in Minnesota

Park Point Beach in Duluth, Minnesota
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Written by Volia Schubiger

Updated: June 22, 2023

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Minnesota, known as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” is an absolutely gorgeous state in America. There are tons of rivers and lakes throughout the state, making it a beautiful state for swimming, fishing, and lounging in the sun. The beaches are known for being hotspots for kayaking, paddleboarding, fishing, and so much more. This is why both locals and out-of-state visitors flock to the many beaches of Minnesota once the temperatures start to rise. Below, we’ve highlighted some of the best beaches in Minnesota and what makes each one unique. 

You’ll learn all about the beaches, where they’re located, and what sort of activities you can take advantage of as well.

Lake Nokomis Main Beach

Lake Nokomis Beach in Minneapolis, Minnesota

In Minneapolis is one of the best beaches in the entire state of Minnesota: the beach at Lake Nokomis.

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Are you looking for a large beach with tons of beautiful blue water to swim in? Then you’ll want to look no further than Lake Nokomis. Lake Nokomis Main Beach is located in Minneapolis. This is a fantastic beach option for families, especially since it has tons of amenities available for use. There are both restrooms and picnic areas. The beach area is pretty huge — this is what makes it so appealing to large families looking to spend a day at the beach. Additionally, parking in the area is easier than other options as there are many places for you to pay for parking. Overall, this is a fantastic beach if you happen to have kids and want plenty of space and facilities to use.

Park Point Beach

Park Point Beach in Duluth, Minnesota

Stretching six miles, Park Point Beach in Duluth is not small.

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Located in Duluth, MN, Park Point Beach is an absolutely gorgeous sight for beachgoers. This is definitely one of the prettiest beaches in the state. It is also particularly large as it stretches across six miles. The sand here is incredibly soft, and the water is stunning. When you’re at this beach you’re greeted by stunning views of Lake Superior. In addition, the sand dunes are breathtaking as well. Many amenities are available such as picnic tables, grills, and even volleyball courts. The area also offers playgrounds where your kids can run around and have fun in the sun.

Black Beach

Black Beach in Silver Bay, Minnesota

The sand at Black Beach is a stark, beautiful black, giving the beach its name.

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Also known as Onyx Beach, Black Beach is a stunning and unique experience for beachgoers. This is the only beach of its kind in Minnesota. This beach is a small area along Lake Superior that is memorable thanks to its gorgeous black sand. What makes this sand so fascinating is the fact that it is not actually naturally occurring. The black sand is the result of Taconite mining that used to take place in Minnesota. The beach is open year-round, and the amenities include restrooms and a picnic area. However, parking can be difficult here. The beach is also pretty small, and the water can be freezing — even in the middle of the hot summer season. However, we definitely recommend checking this beach out if you’re interested in a unique experience.

Afton State Park Beach

Afton State Park Beach in Minnesota

The beach at Afton State Park is beautiful all year, even during the snowy winter.

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If you’re looking for more of a hidden gem experience, then you’re going to want to head to Afton State Park Beach. Afton State Park is a beautiful area located on the shores of the St. Croix River. This park is absolutely beautiful any time of the year; however, if you’re looking for a more secluded beach experience, then you need to check out the beach here. The secluded beach features tons of sandy shore where you can park your beach towels and lounge in the sun. Additionally, there are tons of trees around where you can shade yourself when the heat gets unbearable. This is a fantastic option if you’re looking for a quieter beach experience.

Itasca State Park Beach

Itasca State Park in Minnesota

More than just a beach, Itasca State Park offers many recreational activities.

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Itasca State Park is one of the oldest parks in the United States. It is an incredible park to visit as there are lots of recreational activities that you can enjoy there. However, one of our favorites is the beach that is located inside the park. What makes this beach so unique is that it is located right on the headwaters of the Mississippi River. This means that you can witness the source of the Mississippi River! This is also an incredibly family-friendly beach. The shoreline is pretty shallow, so you can feel safe while splashing around with your kids. If you’re looking to visit, the beach is located to the north of Park Rapids, MN.

Square Lake Park Beach

Square Lake Park Beach is an absolutely gorgeous beach option that both locals and tourists head out to. What makes this beach so special is that it features both a sandy area and a lush green area with lots of grass. This is a perfect spot if you’re looking to have both a picnic and a day at the beach. Square Lake Park Beach is also a favorite among parents because the water is incredibly clean, and there are always lifeguards on duty during the summer season. Another fun fact about this beach is that it is known for being a popular destination for scuba diving. In fact, many people head out here with scuba teachers to learn how to scuba dive.

Fort Snelling State Park Beach

Once again, if you’re looking to get away from the crowds, you will need to find specific beaches that don’t attract huge crowds. Fort Snelling State Park Beach happens to be one of those beaches. This is a fantastic option if you’re looking to relax on the sand and open up a book to read. The beach is located in the heart of the Twin Cities and offers beachgoers a relaxed atmosphere. While you’re there, you can even rent a canoe or a kayak and enjoy the water and nature that way. Overall, this is a fantastic beach option if you want to hear the sounds of nature.

Iona’s Beach Scientific and Natural Area

Iona's Beach on North Shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota

Pink pebbles dot the shore at Iona’s Beach.

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If you’re less interested in sunbathing and more interested in walking along the beach, then check out this small beach known as Iona’s Beach. This beach is actually a Scientific & Natural Area (SNA). This beautiful coastline is located in Two Harbors, MN. You’ll immediately notice the beauty of the beach thanks to the pink pebbles that cover the shorelines. This is an excellent spot to hike around and explore for a bit. The sound of the water and the beauty of the beach make it a perfect spot for a relaxing day trip. This is also an excellent beach for fishing if you consider yourself an angler!

Lake Harriet North and South Beach

Lake Harriet in Minneapolis, Minnesota

With a separate beach on its north and south shores, Lake Harriet offers much to visitors.

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The Lake Harriet area is known as a fantastic family-friendly spot. There are actually two beaches found at Lake Harriet — Lake Harriet North Beach and Lake Harriet South Beach. Many families often head to both of these beaches. Both of these small beaches are great for families with small kids. The sand is soft, and the water is perfect for swimming. The beach also features a floating swimming dock and playgrounds for the kids to enjoy. It’s also important to note that this is an incredibly popular beach in Minneapolis. That means that the beach will fill up pretty quickly in the summertime.

Bde Maka Ska 32nd Street Beach

Bde Maka Ska Beach in Minnesota

The Bde Maka Ska 32nd Street Beach is only one of three beaches that Bde Maka Ska offers.

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Also located in Minneapolis, Bde Maka Ska 32nd Street Beach is a fantastic beach if you’re looking to mingle with others. This beach was once called Lake Calhoun Beach and is one of three beaches that Bde Maka Ska has to offer. This beach gets pretty crowded in the summertime as it has a lot to offer. From sand volleyball courts to swimming docks, there’s a lot that you can do in this area. You can even rent bikes nearby and ride them along the bike pathways. Despite this beach being a popular and often crowded destination, we still think this is a great option as you can meet new people and have lots of fun!

Summary of the 10 Best Beaches in Minnesota

BeachFeatures
1Lake Nokomis Main BeachBlue water, large beach area, good parking, lots of amenities, family-friendly
2Park Point BeachGorgeous views, very large, sand dunes, picnic tables, grills, playgrounds, volleyball courts
3Black BeachBlack sand, small lake, can be cold, restrooms and picnicking
4Afton State Park BeachLarge lake, blue water, lots of amenities, picnicking, family-friendly
5Itasca State Park BeachHeadwaters of Mississippi River, historical, shallow shoreline, family-friendly
6Square Lake Park BeachClean water, sand and lush grass, picnicking, lifeguard on duty, scuba diving
7Fort Snelling State Park BeachUncrowded, kayaking & canoeing, relaxed atmosphere
8Iona’s Beach Scientific and Natural AreaScientific & Natural Area, pink pebbles, hiking, fishing
9Lake Harriet North and South BeachFloating swimming dock, soft sand, playgrounds, family-friendly
10Bde Maka Ska 32nd Street BeachSwimming, biking, volleyball, mingling


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About the Author

Volia Schubiger is a freelance copywriter and content editor with a passion and expertise in content creation, branding, and marketing. She has a background in Broadcast Journalism & Political Science from CUNY Brooklyn College. When she's not writing she loves traveling, perusing used book stores, and hanging out with her other half.

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