7 Best Swimming Beaches Near Duluth, MN That are Perfect for Summer (2023)

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Are you looking for a few swimming beaches near Duluth, Minnesota to get out and enjoy the warm summer sun this season?

It can be kind of tough to find beaches in the area because Lake Superior tends to sort of ‘take over’ the lake scene in Duluth.

So whether you’re looking for somewhere to take a dip, a nice place to lay out and get a tan, or somewhere to just hang out with friends, there are just a few options that may work.

In this post, we’ll go over a few of the best for swimming in Lake Superior and around the Duluth area.

Swimming Beaches Near Duluth, Minnesota

If you’re looking for somewhere to hit the beach in Duluth, then look no further than this list of the top options. When the weather is nice enough to get outside, be sure to check these out!

1. Park Point Beach

Park Point is one of the most popular places for locals and visitors to the beautiful city of Duluth to spend a hot summer day at.

This sandbar stretches for 7 miles out into Lake Superior, just before reaching the Wisconsin border.

To reach Park Point Beach, you’ll need to drive over the Aerial Lift Bridge, past the famous Canal Park, and for about 4 miles, until you almost reach the end of the road.

A rocky beach near Duluth on Lake Superior.

From here, you’ll find a large parking lot with a few small paths to reach the sandy beach, where you can relax and spend the day swimming in Duluth on Lake Superior.

Aside from just the beach, there are also sand volleyball courts, multiple hiking trails, and a boat launch.

There are also restrooms at the beach, as well as pavilions and barbeque grills where you can cook up some lunch for the day.

2. 12th Street Beach

12th Street beach is actually also located on Park Point, but rather than driving almost to the end of the road, you’ll drive only about 1/2 mile over the Aerial Lift Bridge.

The beach is located just off of South Lake Avenue, before it turns into Minnesota Avenue.

It’s actually located in an area called Franklin Square, where you’ll also find a small playground for little ones.

It’s definitley one of the closest swimming beaches within such a short distance of the most popular parts of Duluth.

While there aren’t any other things to do at the beach (no volleyball, etc.), it is likely to be less crowded than Park Point Beach.

3. Brighton Beach

Found further up the coast of Lake Superior, just past the Glensheen Mansion, is Brighton Beach, located in Kitchi Gammi Park.

While Brighton Beach isn’t quite as soft and sandy as others such as Park Point Beach, it’s still a nice place for some swimming in Lake Superior.

A wave crashing into shore on Lake Superior.

It is also about a 30 minute drive up North Shore Scenic Drive from the center of Duluth to reach the beach.

There are some nice picnic tables and barbeque grills here that you can enjoy using for a picnic during your time at the beach.

Kitchi Gammi Park is also the far eastern point of Duluth’s Lakewalk, so you can spend some time wandering the trail and walking the lake.

4. Lester River

Lester Park is a popular location for hiking and biking right within the city limits of Duluth, but also offers a few nice places to take a dip.

While there really isn’t a beach to check out, you can walk along some of the hiking trails and find your own spot to wade in the water along Lester River.

There is actually a 5 milke loop trail that follows Lester River and Amity Creek before they dup into Lake Superior.

Along the river you’ll find a few nice waterfalls that are fun to admire and wade in.

If you have little ones, be careful with them by the waterfalls, as the current can become pretty strong.

5. Amnicon Falls State Park

About 30 minutes from Duluth, and over the Wisconsin border, is Amnicon Falls, a beautiful state park on the Amnicon River.

While there aren’t technically any beaches here, and swimming should be done at your own risk, it’s a beautiful place for a quick dip.

Amnicon Falls in Wisconsin, flowing over some large rocks.
Photo by Dave Hoefler on Unsplash

Plus it’s a really unique experience to be able to swim near a waterfall, rather than just in your everyday lake or river.

But as I mentioned above, if you choose to swim here, use caution, as the currents can become strong.

And never jump off of the rocks lining the falls, as you really just don’t know what’s underneath the water.

6. Pattison State Park

Also located in Wisconsin, about a 30-minute drive from Duluth is Pattison State Park, technically located in Superior.

Here you’ll find a beautiful beach along Interfalls Lake, which has 300 feet of sandy shoreline to enjoy.

While this swimming beach near Duluth is a bit further of a drive, it’s a nice location to get away from some of the crowds than tend to gather on the Lake Superior beaches.

There’s also a large patch of grass where you can sit underneath the shade trees, or eat a picnic lunch on the tables.

Also located within the park is Big Manitou Falls, the largest waterfall in Wisconsin, which is highly worth the visit.

Although it’s not recommended to swim in the river or near the waterfall, because it can be dangerous.

7. 42nd Avenue East Beach

This nice and somewhat hidden beach is located just off of Voygeuer Highway (Highway 61), known as 42nd Avenue East Beach.

While some of the others on this list are nice and sandy, this one is pretty rocky, but still offers some nice, secluded swimming in Duluth.

A view of a lake at sunset where you can go swimming near Duluth, MN.

Because of its location a bit further away from town and with limited street parking, you won’t see as many people here as at other popular beaches.

It does take a little walk from where you’ll park your car to get down to the beach, but it’s not too terrible. Although it can get slippery after rain.

Tips for Swimming in Lake Superior

Because Lake Superior isn’t your average Minnesota lake, it can be dangerous out there.

With the strong currents and waves, sharp rocks in the water, and the vastness of the lake, you should follow these tips to stay safe.

  • Never swim alone. Always have a friend or family member with you.
  • Check the weather before swimming, as strong winds can cause large waves and strong currents.
  • Be prepared for the cold, because Lake Superior is cold year-round.
  • Have a towel and warm clothes nearby for after you finish swimming since it is so cold.
  • Avoid swimming when the waves are large because they can pull you out into the lake.
  • Do not jump off of cliffs or rocks into the water, because you don’t know what is at the bottom.
  • Try swimming on Duluth beaches where there are lifeguards.

FAQs

Where Can You Swim in Duluth?

You can swim at a few spots in Duluth along Lake Superior, including Park Point Beach and 12th Street Beach, or in a few spots along Lester or French Rivers.

Are There Any Sandy Beaches on Lake Superior?

There are a few sandy beaches on Lake Superior, but once you get into the water, it can usually be pretty rocky. It’s recommended to wear water shoes and always use caution in the lake.

Does Duluth Have Any Beaches?

Yes, Duluth, MN does have a few beaches, mostly along Lake Superior. If you’d like to visit another lake, you’ll have to drive a bit further away.

Can You Swim in Lake Superior?

Yes, you can absolutely swim in Lake Superior in many places, although it is very cold year-round, and it can get dangerous if the waves are large or strong.

Conclusion: Best Swimming Beaches in Duluth, MN

If you’re looking to take a dip or spend some time sunbathing this summer on a beach, then you might have a tough time finding many places near Duluth.

There aren’t a whole lot of options, but I hope that you’re able to use this list of a few of the best swimming beaches near Duluth, MN to plan your summer day.