Guide to Lake Superior Beaches on the North Shore, MN
The Best Minnesota Beaches on Minnesota’s North Shore of Lake Superior
Discover the incredible beaches on Minnesota’s side of Lake Superior! From Duluth to Grand Portage, there are so many beautiful options! Firstly, consider Iona’s Beach, which wows visitors with its pink pebble shoreline, creating a stunning and unforgettable sight. Then, Silver Bay’s Black Beach boasts a mysterious charm, with its distinct black pebbles setting it apart from any other beach in Minnesota. Grand Marais Harbor welcomes you with its lighthouse, adding romance to the shore. And, you can’t miss Brighton Beach in Duluth, often hailed as one of Minnesota’s finest beaches. It’s the ideal spot for a day of swimming (if you dare to enter Lake Superior’s year-round chilly waters!), picnicking, and fun. Whether you seek unique colors or serene beauty, Lake Superior’s Minnesota beaches offer something extraordinary for beach lovers of all ages. Keep reading to discover all of my top picks for the best beaches on Lake Superior!
Brighton Beach, Duluth
The vibrant Kitchi Gammi Park, a haven for lake enthusiasts, is nestled at the eastern tip of Duluth. Originally established to grant public access to Lake Superior, this park captivates visitors with its picturesque Brighton Beach. Start your visit by embarking on the Lakewalk, which commences at the park’s eastern entrance, adding a touch of adventure to your visit. Then, the park offers picnic tables and grills, inviting you to savor delicious meals while also relishing stunning views of Lake Superior. Along the beach, you can also skip stones, hunt for agates, watch huge ships pass by, wade in the water, or simply indulge in leisurely pursuits. Discover the joy of this pebbly treasure and immerse yourself in the beauty of Lake Superior.
Please note: Brighton Beach Road is closed for improvements – park at the visitor center near Lester River, or on Scenic 61, and enter from there.
Knife River Marina Beach, Scenic Highway between Duluth + Two Harbors
Experience the charm of Knife River Marina Beach, a hidden gem on the shores of Lake Superior. Located off Marina Road along Scenic Highway 61, the beach and marina invite you to indulge in picnics, rock skipping, agate-hunting, and boat-watching. Not to mention, it’s a great spot to watch the sunrise! Knife River Marina, ensures public access to Lake Superior and provides essential services for a thriving small craft harbor system. As a community treasure, it holds a special place in the hearts of locals and visitors alike. After strolling the beach, don’t miss the opportunity to explore this close-knit community, where artisans find inspiration around every corner and the Superior Hiking Trail awaits you. Finally, this beach also offers a range of amenities, including a small playground, trash receptacles, and convenient portable washrooms.
Agate Bay Beach, Two Harbors
Indulge in the captivating beauty of Two Harbors’ Agate Bay Beach, a rocky lakeside paradise made even more charming by its long pier and lighthouse. Meander along the concrete path of the breakwater, immersing yourself in the vastness of Lake Superior. Then, witness the awe-inspiring sight of massive iron ore tankers maneuvering through the harbor. Agate Bay Beach offers more than just breathtaking views, though. It’s perfect for rock skipping and offers picnic tables, park benches, and a delightful waterfront path. A well-protected public access area is also available, complete with a boat launch and docks. This pebbly beach invites you to unwind, enjoy the mesmerizing ore ship activities, and perhaps even uncover a few souvenir agates. Staying in the area? Discover more Things to do in Two Harbors, MN.
Iona’s Beach (Pink Beach), north of Two Harbors
Discover the hidden treasure of Minnesota’s pink beach at Iona’s Beach Scientific and Natural Area. Nestled along Highway 61, this beach awaits down a 0.6-mile out-and-back trail from the parking lot. Prepare to be enchanted as you set foot on this unique shoreline. The entire beach is adorned with smooth, round, pinkish/reddish stones – which give the beach its nickname. These stones derive their rosy hue from a nearby cliff, whose fallen stones wash ashore here thanks to the protected bay and the lake currents. Listen carefully as the waves crash upon the shore, for a delightful surprise. The rocks “sing” as the water dances around them. Experience the magic of Minnesota’s pink beach, where nature’s artistry and soothing melodies intertwine for an unforgettable North Shore experience. Traveling with kids? Discover this and other treasures to fill your itinerary by reading about the 22 Best Things to Do with Kids on the North Shore.
Pebble Beach, Split Rock Lighthouse State Park
Next on our list of the best beaches on Minnesota’s North Shore, Pebble Beach is tucked along the shores of Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. This unique shoreline offers pebbly terrain along the waters of Lake Superior, providing the perfect canvas for skipping stones and creating unforgettable memories. Here, marvel at the majestic views of Lake Superior and the historic Split Rock Lighthouse, a favorite subject for photographers near and far. Whether you seek a refreshing dip in Lake Superior, an enjoyable kayaking experience in the protected cove, or a leisurely picnic along the shore, Pebble Beach offers a delightful retreat for all ages. Finally, don’t forget to explore the other wonders of Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, from scenic hiking and biking trails to self-guided tours of the lighthouse grounds.
Black Beach, Silver Bay
Prepare for a truly unique Minnesota experience at Silver Bay’s captivating Black Beach—a destination that promises a quick stop or hours of exploration. Follow a short wooded trail from the parking lot and brace yourself for an awe-inspiring sight. As the trees part ways, an extraordinary beach emerges. Here, countless tiny black pebbles make up the beach, nestled within a protected bay along Lake Superior. Although this phenomenon is not a natural occurrence, its beauty is undeniable! Dip your toes into the water or embark on a thrilling adventure along the bay’s imposing rocky formations. And when hunger strikes, take advantage of the available picnic tables for a scenic road trip snack or a leisurely packed lunch by the beach. Undoubtedly, Black Beach promises an unforgettable blend of wonder, natural beauty, and fun—a must-visit destination on the North Shore. Finally, find Black Beach and other great picnic ideas amongst my top picks for 10 Beautiful Picnic Areas on the North Shore.
Sugarloaf Cove Nature Center, Schroeder
Immerse yourself in a natural paradise at Sugarloaf Cove Nature Center in Schroeder. Upon arrival, you can check out the seasonal indoor nature center and nearby birding areas. Afterward, it’s time to hit the beach! Venture along the 1.3-mile loop trail, winding through scenic woods and along the picturesque shore of Lake Superior. The cove here is renowned for its 1.1 billion-year-old lava flows and breathtaking cobblestone beach. When you reach the beach, revel in the joy of wading in the water and climbing the impressive rock outcroppings along the shore. Have you ever seen trees grow out of the rocks before? You can here! Discover the beauty of nature, ignite your curiosity, and create lasting memories at Sugarloaf Cove Nature Center—a haven for beach-goers and North Shore exploration.
Father Baraga’s Cross, Schroeder
For a truly unique stop along the North Shore, consider taking in the lakeside views at Father Baraga’s Cross. This idyllic spot offers a serene retreat overlooking the picturesque shores of Lake Superior. Many visitors have sought solace here, spending hours basking in the beauty of this beachside haven, whether alone or in the company of loved ones. In the summertime, vibrant flowers bloom, adding a splash of color to the surroundings and creating a lovely backdrop for moments of relaxation and leisure. Lay back on the rocks, immerse yourself in a good book, and let the worries of the world drift away. Adjacent to Father Baraga’s Cross, you’ll find the Cross River Heritage Center—a fascinating destination where you can delve into the rich history, art, and culture of the Ojibwe (Anishinaabe) people and the region.
Tofte Community Park, Tofte
Tofte Community Park, tucked away from bustling Highway 61 on Tofte Town Road, is a serene park that beckons travelers and locals alike with its enchanting 1,000 feet of rocky Lake Superior shoreline. It’s an excellent stop for a romantic picnic or to relax along the shore listening to the waves. Then, immerse yourself in the park’s historical interpretation and artistic displays, adding an extra layer of intrigue to your beach day. For those seeking adventure, the renowned Gitchi-Gami State Trail can also be easily accessed via Town Road, opening opportunities for scenic biking or hiking experiences. Lastly, you will find ample parking, a convenient boat/kayak launch, a welcoming picnic shelter, and well-maintained restrooms here.
Grandview Park, Lutsen
Grandview Park, in Lutsen, offers endless fun and relaxation! Near the beach area, discover a spacious, accessible pavilion perfect for family or friend gatherings. Enjoy a picnic at the provided tables and charcoal grills, or gather around the fire ring for some cozy campfire moments in the evening. When you’re not enjoying the lakeside views, the expansive lawn is a playground for kids and adults alike, inviting everyone to run and play games. Alternatively, you can embrace friendly competition on the sand volleyball court, adding an extra layer of excitement to your visit. For little adventurers, there is also a playground here. Grandview Park is a family-friendly North Shore location, offering a blend of amenities for all to enjoy, including restroom facilities. Come and create cherished memories at this welcoming beach and park destination!
Cutface Creek Wayside Rest Beach, south of Grand Marais
Discover the beauty of Cutface Creek Wayside Rest Beach, located in Cook County, along the captivating shores of Lake Superior. This cobblestone beach offers a serene oasis, perfect for a refreshing break while traversing the North Shore Scenic Byway. The rest area provides a range of amenities to enhance your visit, including inviting picnic tables set in a grassy area overlooking the lake and convenient restroom facilities. Rock collectors will delight in the abundant treasures to be found on this beach. Explore the shoreline, where you’ll encounter a plethora of stones showcasing an array of colors and unique features. You can enjoy quality time together, picnicking or simply basking in the sun. Cutface Creek Wayside Rest Beach offers a remarkable experience with its accessible location and scenic beauty, making it a true gem along the North Shore.
Grand Marais Harbor, Grand Marais
Perhaps one of the most iconic North Shore locations, don’t miss the pebbled beach of Grand Marais Harbor! The beach is centrally located and easily accessible from downtown Grand Marias. Spend your visit dipping your toes in the water, skipping rocks, wandering along the shore, and enjoying sunny days with loved ones. While strolling along, admire the Grand Marais Lighthouse, watch for seagulls overhead and fish jumping in the water, and keep an eye out for the purple-sailed Hjørdis (a resident schooner that does tours!). Nearby picnic tables provide the perfect spot for morning coffee and donuts or a leisurely lunch. Afterward, continue your adventure out to Artists’ Point, where you can explore the woods and walk out to the lighthouse. Undoubtedly, this is one of the best beaches on Lake Superior!
Kadunce Creek Beach, north of Grand Marais
Nestled between Superior National Forest and Judge C.R. Magney State Park, Kadunce Creek Beach offers a picturesque escape in Minnesota’s serene wilderness. Equipped with convenient picnic tables, this area invites you to relax and savor the tranquil surroundings. Nature enthusiasts will be delighted by the opportunity to explore the breathtaking trails that provide spectacular views year-round. Hike along a trail or meander along the shoreline, discovering hidden gems along the way. You can even find a nice spot to dip your toes in the water and enjoy a quiet moment by the water’s edge. Afterward, follow the enticing trails leading to the river’s secluded bends, offering peaceful seclusion and a chance to immerse yourself in nature. Kadunce Creek Beach is a gateway to a world of natural wonders and family-friendly fun!
Paradise Beach, north of Grand Marais
Experience the sheer beauty of Paradise Beach, located 8.5 miles northeast of Grand Marais. This cobblestone beach along the stunning shores of Lake Superior offers a serene escape from the bustling world. Enjoy a leisurely stroll, search for agates, and savor a picnic at one of the scenic shoreline picnic tables. Paradise Beach is renowned as one of the North Shore’s top agate hunting sites, providing ample opportunities to uncover precious treasures. Its proximity to the Superior Hiking Trail also makes it a perfect starting point for breathtaking hikes and lake views. Take a moment to wander along the long stretch of pristine shoreline, leaving behind all your worries. If you’re searching for the best beaches on Lake Superior, add this Minnesota gem to your list!
Hollow Rock Beach, Grand Portage
Discover Hollow Rock Beach, a picturesque pebbly shore located 25 miles northeast of Grand Marais and 3 miles south of Grand Portage. Accessible via county road 89, follow the route to Hollow Rock Resort and the beach area. This enchanting beach takes its name from the striking hollow rock formation situated just off the shore. Whether you’re a guest at the resort or simply visiting for the day, Hollow Rock Beach offers an incredible experience and is one of the most photographed attractions in the area. Marvel at the stunning natural arch rising from Lake Superior, capturing the imagination of photographers and nature lovers alike. With its captivating views and rugged charm, Hollow Rock Beach invites you to immerse yourself in the beauty of Minnesota’s North Shore, making it one of the best beaches on Lake Superior!