Some of my favorite summer memories as a kid were those that involved Silver Lake Beach in North St. Paul. I took swimming lessons there, I—along with my best friend Gina—made up synchronized swimming routines there, I ripped the bottom of my favorite swimsuit going down the curly slide there. (That particular memory isn’t really a favorite memory, more like a traumatic one, but you get my point.)
Many seasons passed between the carefree days of my youth and the next time I thought about spending a sunny summer afternoon at the beach—just a few years ago—because I now have little ones of my own. (And apparently those little ones think a day at the beach is just about as good as it gets.)
I live in Ramsey County, my parents live in Washington County, and my sisters-in-law live in Anoka County, so I’ve been to a few different areas in search of the best beach. So far one of my favorites is Lakeside Commons Beach in Blaine, which is free to Blaine residents and $5 to non-residents. It includes a beautiful, clean 300-foot beach on a man-made lake, a volleyball court, playground, beach house, picnic pavilion, and splash pad. Lakeside Commons Park is located on the north side of “The Lakes” subdivision at 3020 Lakes Parkway in Blaine.
Another nice man-made beach—complete with giant beach umbrellas and filtered, chlorinated water—is the Elm Creek Swimming Pond in Maple Grove. And I will always have a soft spot for Silver Lake Beach, since it was such a big part of my childhood.
Here’s a list of other local swimming beaches in the area. Pack up the beach towels, the sunscreen, and the kids (if you have ‘em) and enjoy some fun in the sun.
Carver County Beaches: Baylor Regional Park (Norwood Young America); Lake Minnewashta Regional Park (Chanhassen); Lake Waconia Regional Park (Waconia).
Dakota County Beaches: Lake Byllesby Beach (Cannon Falls); Schulze Lake Beach at Lebanon Hills Regional Park.
Minneapolis Beaches: Nokomis, Cedar, Calhoun, Harriet, and Hiawatha.
Ramsey County Beaches: Bald Eagle – Otter Lakes Beach (White Bear Township); Lake Gervais Beach (Little Canada) – unguarded; Lake Johanna Beach (Arden Hills); Long Lake Beach (New Brighton); Lake McCarrons Beach (Roseville); Lake Owasso Beach (Shoreview) – unguarded; Vadnais-Snail Lake Beach (Shoreview); Phalen Beach (East St. Paul); Turtle Lake Beach (Shoreview) – unguarded; White Bear Lake Beach (White Bear Lake).
Three Rivers Park District Beaches: Baker Park Reserve (Maple Plain); Bryant Lake Regional Park (Eden Prairie); Cleary Lake Regional Park (Prior Lake); Elm Creek Park Reserve (Maple Grove); Fish Lake Regional Park (Maple Grove); French Regional Park (Plymouth); Hyland Lake Park Reserve (Bloomington); Lake Minnetonka Regional Park (Minnetrista); Lake Rebecca Park Reserve (Rockford).
Washington County: Big Marine Park Reserve (Marine on St. Croix); Carver Lake Beach (Woodbury); Forest Lake Beach (Forest Lake); Lake Elmo Park Reserve (Lake Elmo); Square Lake Park (Stillwater); Point Douglas Beach.
Minnesota DNR State Parks with Beaches: Afton State Park; Camden State Park; Father Hennepin State Park; Flandrau State Park; Fort Snelling State Park; Hayes Lake State Park; Itasca State Park; Lake Carlos State Park; McCarthy Beach State Park; Sibley State Park.