Minnesota is famous as the "land of 10,000 lakes." Many of those lakes have beaches. The top 10 Minnesota beaches include a beach on Lake Superior, the mile long beach in Detroit Lakes, and several Minnesota state park beaches.
Detroit Lakes - The mile long beach in Detroit Lakes is a major Minnesota tourist attraction. This beach is a personal favorite so I'm giving it first place on my list of top 10 Minnesota beaches. I spent many hours of my teen years here with my friends, swimming, learning to water ski and lying in the sun. When my own children were young, we also spent many happy days here as a family.
Lake Phalen in St. Paul - This beach is the second largest of the top 10 beaches in Minnesota. It is less than a mile from where we have lived for the past 30 years.
This is where we go when the grandkids visit St. Paul, for walks around the lake and for picnics with family and friends. You will find beautiful sunbathing spots, fishing spots, and activities like volleyball and golfing. There are many hotels and restaurants nearby.
While you are in St. Paul be sure to take time to enjoy more of the many St. Paul attractions here. If you want another way to get out on the water, head to Harriet Island for a Mississippi Riverboat Cruise on one of the Padelford Boats.
Thomas Beach on Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis was voted "best beach in Minnesota" by viewers of WCCO TV. This is one of the most picturesque and beautiful lakes in all of Minnesota. Take time to explore this wonderful lake. Canoe and kayak rentals are available on the northeast shore of Lake Calhoun.
Lake Harriet - This beach should be high on anyone's list of top 10 Minnesota beaches. It is the largest lake on the Minnesota Chain of Lakes and one of the most beautiful lakes anywhere in Minnesota. It features two lifeguard staffed beaches: South Beach and Northeast Beach. Sailing and windsurfing are popular on Lake Harriet. You can rent canoes on the north shore of the lake.The Lake Harriet Bandshell is a popular place to enjoy music and other performances.
Minneapolis is famous for many things including the Chain of Lakes. These four lakes are interconnected by narrow channels that allow you to explore all of them from your non-motorized watercraft. The lakes that make up the "chain" are Lake Calhoun, Lake Harriet, Lake of the Isles, and Cedar Lake. Paved walking paths and bike paths surround the lakes.
Park Point Duluth - The six miles of Park Point beach easily make it the largest beach in Minnesota. You will find shallow, warm water...hard to imagine in Lake Superior!
This public beach is part of the Park Point Recreation area. Amenities include changing rooms, rest rooms, and lifeguards. This area of sand dunes and beach begins just east of the iconic Aerial Lift Bridge. Several hotels here offer views of the lift bridge. A favorite of ours is the Park Point Marina Inn.
Grand Marais is situated all along a broad swath of beach on Lake Superior's North Shore. You will find it hard to believe you are in Northern Minnesota! We love camping in the state parks along the North Shore. These vacations always include trips to the beach in Grand Marais. You will love this artsy small town. While you are strolling on the beach you might take in the Grand Marais Lighthouse, hike to Artist's Point or Sweetheart's Bluff.
Square Lake near Stillwater - We love family picnics on the shady shores of this amazingly clear lake. Make this a "must" if you are vacationing near Stillwater. It's also just a short trek from anywhere in the Twin Cities.
Bike riders love this area as it is near the Gateway State Trail. You may see scuba divers exploring the clear waters here.
To get to Square Lake, go north on Minnesota 95, then west on Square Lake Trail. From St. Paul, take Hwy. 36 east, Manning Avenue north, Minnesota 96 east, Norell Avenue north and Square Lake Trail east.
There's a daily vehicle charge of $5 at Square Lake.
Fort Snelling Beach in Fort Snelling State Park is well-known for its gorgeous sandy swimming beaches. Lifeguards are on duty here.
There are many other amusements and activities on the almost 3,000 acres of Fort Snelling State Park. Don't be surprised to see wildlife in this urban wilderness. Your state park sticker will give you access to all of this.
Lake of The Woods at Zippel Bay State Park - We have many wonderful memories of camping at Zippel Bay and enjoying the two miles of wonderful sandy beach. In this farthest north state park visitors to Zippel Bay State Park can look across 80 miles of inland sea toward Kenora, Ontario. You will find many wildflowers in the park, including our state flower, the Showy Lady's Slipper.
Father Hennepin State Park on Lake Mille Lacs is little more than an hour and a half north of the Twin Cities. This small but lovely park includes prime beachfront on big Mille Lacs Lake. This is also a great place to camp if you want to bike the paved Soo Line Trail between Onamia and Isle. A larger state park on Mille Lacs Lake is Mille Lacs Kathio State park. You will want to use your state park sticker to enjoy both!
Bonus Beach - Black Sand Beach in Silver Bay: Black Sand Beach is located below Silver Bay on the city access road. There are actually three beaches here. The soft black beach sand is the result of taconite mining. This seemingly "secret" beach is in a small cove and is a wonderful place to swim.
Almost all of Minnesota's famous vacation resorts are located lakeside. Here are reviews of some of our favorite Minnesota Resorts and Lodges.
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