Minnesota’s North Shore remains one of the country’s last remaining hidden gems, especially for those with a penchant for adventure, photography, and fresh fish entrees. Every year, the North Shore’s subtle mountain ranges, dramatic cliffsides, and angry Lake Superior waves draw thousands of travelers to Two Harbors’ Superior Shores Resort. And a common mid-day resting place for families, couples, and groups is at one of the countless picturesque North Shore beaches. While most people don’t dare swim inside Lake Superior’s cool waters, there’s no better spot for a picnic, selfies, or agate hunting than a rocky beach in-between Duluth and Silver Bay.
The 4 Best North Shore Beaches
We’ve set foot on seemingly every public beach along the North Shore in or near the communities of Grand Marais, Beaver Bay, and, yes, Two Harbors. Most North Shore beaches have a defining feature, whether that’s a traversable island or granular black taconite sand. It’s also worth noting that Superior Shore Resort boasts a private agate beach along the calm shores of the aptly-named Flood Bay. To ensure that your next visit to this glorious land is nothing short of stupendous, we’ve created a handy Lake Superior beach guide that highlights four unique destinations.
Pebble Beach | Ellingson Island
Over the years, Split Rock Lighthouse State Park’s rocky Pebble Beach has evolved into the premier proposal location along the North Shore. Not only does Pebble Beach offer unobstructed views of the lighthouse and ceaseless opportunities for stone skipping, but Ellingson Island is traversable during most seasons (if you’re willing to get a tad bit wet—boots are recommended). For those aiming to photograph Lake Superior’s November gales, Pebble Beach’s southern shoreline is a prime destination.
Very few North Shore beaches boast a sandy shoreline—that’s what makes this area one of the most-popular agate hunting regions in the world. But Silver Bay’s Onyx Beach (also known as Black Beach) doesn’t offer the classic, saturated reddish-yellow sand that you see on most shorelines. Oynx Beach’s jet black taconite sand is a massive draw for those searching for a distinct North Shore feature. The beach’s enormous copper-coated rock formation is a sight to behold.
After visiting Duluth’s Canal Park and crossing the oft-photographed Aerial Lift Bridge, make a pit stop at Park Point for a picnic and perhaps a dip in Lake Superior. Park Point has the most alluring “beachy feel” among these four North Shore beaches. In fact, it’s the only Lake Superior beach that allures droves of swimmers (during the summer months, of course). On particularly warm summer afternoons, you’ll often spot families flocking through the grassy dunes en route to the lake’s crisp, shallow waters.
Agate Beach | Gooseberry Falls State Park
It’s hard to pry yourself from the Gooseberry River’s rushing, jaw-dropping waterfalls that spill near scenic Highway 61. But Gooseberry Falls State Park’s Agate Beach is a four-season delight that sees much less foot traffic than most highly-praised North Shore beaches, especially in comparison to Park Point and Oynx Beach. Visitors often skip rocks, climb boulders, and explore the southern shoreline’s dazzling volcanic formations.
Flood Bay | Lake Superior Lodging
Superior Shores Resort rests along the edge of a serene private beach that overlooks Flood Bay, a crescent-shaped cove that hosts some of the prettiest sunsets along the North Shore. Guests are urged to search for agates, swim (when it’s warm outside), and build a bonfire on this classic Lake Superior beach when they’re not dining at Kamloops Restaurant & Lounge or soaking in a private Jacuzzi tub. To book a long-awaited escape to Minnesota’s breathtaking North Shore, please give us a call today at 800-242-1988.