It can get pretty hot and muggy in Minnesota and unless you’re next to water during the summer months, it can be pretty rough. Most of us cherish rest and relaxation and who doesn’t like a tan during the summer? Here are four great beaches that will help you achieve this goal and smile while you do it.

Lake Calhoun

(credit: Explore Minnesota Tourism)

Lake Calhoun Thomas Beach
Thomas Ave. S. & W. Calhoun Parkway
Minneapolis, MN 55417
(612) 230-6400
www.minneapolisparks.orgLake Calhoun is one of largest and most popular beaches in Minnesota. It can be found immediately west of the fashionable Uptown neighborhood. This vacation beach is very popular for those of us who love the outdoors and the sports and activities that come along with it. The beach only has one restaurant nearby and it is called the Tin Fish. Pack a picnic if you plan on spending the day. There are multiple beaches around the lake. Some are more suitable for families and others attract a younger, rowdier crowd.

Hidden Falls (Regional) Beach
1313 Hidden Falls Drive
St. Paul, MN 55116
(651) 632-5111

This park was established around 1887. The beach has a tree nursery, some nice scenery and a promising sand beach for the shy sunbathers in the group. Hidden Falls does have some dredging around the river so swimming does not come recommended. If you love to hike or take photos, this beach should be at the top of your list.

Related: Ask A Minnesota Guide: Packing List For Your Next Campout

Fort Snelling

(Credit: Friends of Fort Snelling)

Fort Snelling Beach
101 Snelling Lake Road
St. Paul, MN 55111
(612) 725-2389 Snelling Beach is attached to Snelling Island. This particular spot is known for its awesome sandy beaches, swimming, seasoned lifeguards and other amusement and activities. You and your group will absolutely love the beach and its daily offering of enjoyment. A parking permit is quite pricey but the benefits definitely outweigh the costs.

Lake Phalen Beach
1530 Phalen Drive
S. Paul, MN 55106
(651) 776-9833

Lake Phalen Beach is the second largest beach in Minnesota. The beach offers activities to satisfy even the most hard-to-please in your party. It has lovely sunbathing spots, fishing areas and multiple sporting activities such as volleyball and golfing. There are an assortment of hotels and restaurants nearby if you want to make a weekend out of it. The whole family will be thrilled with a visit to Lake Phalen.

(credit: Amy Rea)

(credit: Amy Rea)

Lake Harriet
4135 W. Lake Harriet Parkway
Minneapolis, MN 55409
(612) 230-6400
www.minneapolisparks.orgThis is one of the most picturesque and beautiful lakes in all of Minnesota. It has two supervised beaches for you to visit, the South and Northeast. It also has watersport activities and watercraft rentals if you so choose. Stop by during one of the many performances at the bandshell to catch a live performance after your day in the sun.

Related: Ask An Expert: Best Bike Rides In Minnesota

Misty Wesley is a freelance writer covering all things Minnesota. Her work can be found on