Visiting Black Beach

Minnesota’s Mysterious Black Sand Beach On Lake Superior Is A Must-See Natural Wonder

Minnesota is known for its stunning landscapes, and one of its most treasured destinations is Black Beach on Minnesota’s Northern Shore of Lake Superior.

With its dark sand, calm waters, and breathtaking sunrise, Black Beach is a hidden treasure along Minnesota’s North Shore.

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What is Black Beach in MN?

Black Beach, officially known as Onyx Beach. Black Beach is a picturesque and serene beach in Silver Bay, Minnesota

Black Beach is located about 1 hour north of Duluth along the shore of Lake Superior.

The beach is known for its black taconite sand, clear waters, and scenic views. It’s a popular destination for tourists and locals.

It’s a popular spot for swimming, relaxing, paddleboarding, and hiking.

Black beach

Why is the Beach Black?

Over several decades, the North Shore mining sector operated the area. They discharged the residual taconite tailings produced from taconite ore straight into Lake Superior.

Presently, stringent environmental policies are in place to ensure safe disposal of such byproducts, but those from the mid-20th century have already merged with the indigenous sand to produce an exquisite ebony shoreline.

Black Sand beach

When is the Best Time to Visit Black Beach MN?

Summer is the high season in Black Beach, and it’s easy to see why. With warm temperatures and plenty of sunshine, it’s the perfect time to swim, relax, have a picnic, fly a kite, and explore the surrounding area.

It’s also the only time you can swim in the lake. More on that later.

If you’re looking to avoid the crowds and don’t mind cooler temperatures, fall is an excellent time to visit Black Beach.

The changing colors of the trees and the crisp air make it a beautiful time of year to explore the hiking trails surrounding the beach. The temperature can range from 30 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit during the fall, so pack accordingly.

Black Beach in MN North Shore

When is Black Beach open?

Black Beach is a public beach, open year-round.

Can you swim at Black Beach MN?

One of the most important things to keep in mind when considering swimming at Black Beach MN is the water temperature.

Because of its location on the shores of Lake Superior, the water can be chilly even during the summer months. Visitors should expect the water temperature to be between 35-60°F (2-16°C) depending on the season.

The underlying rock formations at Black Beach MN pose a significant threat. It is important to be careful.

Can you walk barefoot on Black Beach?

Black beach is not fine black sand. While you can walk barefoot, it comprises small pebbles and could be uncomfortable. I recommend wearing sandals.

Where is Black Beach?

Black beach park is at E Lakeview Drive Water Plant Rd, Silver Bay, MN 55614. From Two Harbors, take Highway 61 about 20 miles north. Turn off on Water Plant Road.

Black Beach in MN

Where is the Best Place to Park for Black Beach?

There are two places to park for Black Beach. The beach actually extends a way across the shoreline, so it can get kind of confusing.

Coming from Water Plant Road, you’ll reach the main parking area first.

The parking lot takes you to two coves on the shoreline with a spit in the center leading to an outcropping. There are fire pits, benches and more to enjoy the location. There are even restroom facilities.

If you keep driving down the road, you’ll reach another parking area. This gives you great access to the less popular beach location. Filled with unique black sand and rocks you can scale!

How long is the walk down to Black Beach?

Black Beach is a just a short walk from the car. Maybe an 1/8 of a mile.

What to do at Minnesota’s Black Sand Beach

Black beach is a great place to relax. You can take a walk out to the rock outcroppings and do some bouldering.

You can take advantage of the wind off Lake Superior and fly a kite.

You can pack a picnic and have a BBQ.

You can brave the waters and go paddle boarding on a calm day, or even dip your toes in and swim.

Or you can walk across the shoreline and take in the view.

North Shore Roadside Stops

Looking for more places to visit on the North Shore? This is just one of the fun things to do along the north shore. We usually stop on once on our way to take in the sites to the other great things to do. Check out my full post on all my favorite stops: 28+ Stops on the North Shore’s Highway 61 – Minnesota’s Road Trip

Where can you stay near Black Beach?

There are a bunch of great options for places to stay near Black Beach.

The AmericInn Wyndham is in downtown Silver Bay just minutes from Black Beach.

Cove Point Lodge is a great place to stay in Beaver Bay. It’s a short drive away and has lakeside views.

If you love lodge options, the Grand Superior Bay Lodge is amazing too.

You can also stay at the nearby Burlington Bay Campground. It has a beautiful view of Minnesota’s North Shore with direct access to Burlington Bay.

Black Beach Campground

Black Beach Municipal Campground is the closest place to stay nearby. They have 49 sites over 14.5 acres. The park is designed for large RV’s but accommodates tenters as well. 

Staying on the north shore

If you’d like to see more great places to stay, check out: Where to stay on Minnesota’s North Shore.

What else can you do near Black Beach MN?

This is a great area to explore. Coming from Highway 61 you’ve probably noticed the North Shore Adventure Park. This is so much fun to do for all age groups. We took our kids there a couple of years ago and they are still talking about it.

For natural sites, Palisade Head is beautiful. It’s a quick stop and just a few miles away.

Tettegouche State Park is beautiful and one of the best places to hike on the north shore. From Shovel Point, to Two-Step Falls, they isn’t a bad hike in the park.

If you love hiking, make sure to take a day trip on the Superior Hiking Trail.

Split Rock Lighthouse is just 10 minutes away.

Things to do in Silver Bay MN

Want some more great ideas nearby? Check out my full guide on things to do right in the city of Silver Bay MN.

Plan your trip

Black Beach on Minnesota’s North Shore of Lake Superior is a must-visit destination. With its stunning views, black sand, and clear waters, it’s a hidden treasure that’s worth exploring. A trip to Lake Superior’s North Shore is not complete without a stop at this beautiful beach.

While summer is the best time to swim and enjoy the warmth, fall offers a beautiful setting to hike the surrounding trails.

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