It’s time to bust out that yellow polka dot bikini and hit the beach. Whether you’re looking for sand and sun or entertainment and activities for the kiddos, this guide has you covered.
The Commons Beach
Corner of Lake and Water streets in Excelsior
Open June 7–August 8; lifeguarded noon–6 p.m.; free beach access and metered street parking
This natural swimming beach is located within the 13-acre Commons Park that dates back to the origins of the city. When the kids tire of swimming, there are many recreation areas, playgrounds, sports courts and more to keep them occupied. Check out the band shell or hop on board one of the public excursion boats.
Lake Independence Beach
2309 Baker Park Rd., Maple Plain
Open DATES, 9 a.m.–8 p.m. daily; no lifeguards; free
Nestled within the Baker Park Reserve lies Lake Independence, this is a refuge for fishermen and beach-goers alike. The buoyed area and sandy beach on the southeast portion of the lake are perfect for kids and families, and the two-lane concrete boat access allows fishermen to explore the 844-acre lake.
Shady Oak Beach
5200 Shady Oak Rd., Minnetonka
Open 10 a.m.–9 p.m., June 7–August 1; 10 a.m.–8 p.m., August 2–August 25; lifeguarded; $6 per person, $3 after 6 p.m., season passes available (ages 2 and under are free); free parking
The beach on Shady Oak Road has been a part of the community for more than 80 years. Step through the entrance and discover 85 acres of recreational fun, including 76 feet of sandy shoreline, a high dive, canoe and kayak rentals, sand volleyball, concessions and more.
Libbs Lake Beach
16515 Park Ln., Minnetonka
Open 8 a.m.–8 p.m., June 7–August 25; lifeguarded noon–6 p.m. from June 7–Aug 9; free, with limited parking
Just off a Lake Minnetonka bay, Libbs Lake Beach is a small neighborhood beach that’s perfect for little kids and families, picnics and low-key fishing excursions. With limited parking, locals often opt to walk to this beach.
Lake Minnetonka Swimming Pond
4610 County Rd. 44, Minnetrista
Open 9 a.m.–8 p.m. daily, May 25–September 2; lifeguards on duty noon–8 p.m.; $3 per person, $10 season pass; free parking
This 1.75-acre man-made pond was designed to feel like a lake, with its circular shape, surrounding sand and shallow shoreline gradually deepening towards the center. But with filtered and chlorinated water, concessions and changing shelters, guests enjoy the amenities of a health club pool with the aesthetics of swimming at the beach.
Summit Beach Park
East Long Lake Road, Orono
Open 10 a.m.–8 p.m. daily, May 1–November 1; no lifeguards; free
On the east end of Long Lake sits a 5-acre wooded park with picnic tables, a small recreation area, portable toilets and parking for a dozen cars. Although the beach is not life-guarded, enthusiasts enjoy swimming in the buoyed area, renting canoes and casting fishing lines. Sunnies, crappies, walleye and northern are known to swim along the shore.
220 Grove Ln. E., Wayzata
Open mid-June to mid-August; lifeguarded noon–6 p.m.; free beach access; free parking nearby, but beach parking requires City Hall sticker (free to residents, $36 for non-residents)
The dog days of summer are best spent at a beach that has it all. Wayzata Beach is known for its diverse amenities, including a large sandy beach, a grassy peninsula for sunbathers, picnic areas under large ash trees, boat slips, canoe racks, volleyball courts and more. Kids can burn off excess energy on the playing fields, tire swings or playground.