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Mccarthy Beach State Park

Side Lake MN, Side Lake, Minnesota 55781 USA

  • Pet Friendly

“Not named after the Novelist!”

Come to McCarthy Beach State Park and you’ll remember the lakes. The sandy beach on Sturgeon Lake was rated one of the top 17 beaches in North America by Highway’s Magazine. Walk along the half-mile of shoreline, or venture out into the shallow water that extends hundreds of feet into the lake. Launch a boat on Side Lake or Sturgeon Lake to explore the five connected lakes of the Sturgeon chain. Hikers, mountain bikers, and skiers enjoy scenic trails that wind along pine-covered ridges and through stands of birch. Snowmobilers and horseback riders take advantage of the Taconite State Trail to access miles of trails outside the park. Located near many tourist attractions, McCarthy Beach State Park offers opportunities for both relaxation and exploration. Archaeologists have found American Indian artifacts in the park that help tell the early history of the area. A well-crafted stone spear point made of Jasper Taconite, and later reworked into a drill, was recovered in an archaeological excavation near the park office in 1999. The spear point and small copper awls found with it date back 10,000 years ago when Paleoindian people would have hunted this area. Other stone artifacts suggest Archaic people lived here. During Woodland times, 2,000 to 500 years ago, Woodland people made their camps along the shores of the lakes in the park. They used ceramic pots for cooking, processing and storing food. The same attributes that draw visitors to the park today have made this a popular stopping place for thousands of years. In the park office, you will find an interpretive display of these artifacts called "Pieces of the Past". Before the European settlers arrived, giant red and white pines stretched as far as the eye could see. These pines attracted loggers looking to provide timber for booming sawmills in Hibbing and Minneapolis. The Swan River Logging Company built a railroad to the Sturgeon Lake area in 1895. Remnants of the old logging railroad grades can still be seen along the park trail system. In the 1930s, "McCarthy’s beach" became a popular picnic and swimming spot for families living along the Mesaba Iron Range. Named for former property owner John A. McCarthy, the park was established in 1945 as a living memorial to area servicemen that lost their lives in World War II. The original 135 acres of virgin pine between Sturgeon and Side lakes was purchased with money raised by the Chisholm and Hibbing communities and matched by the State of Minnesota. The park boundary has since expanded to include 2471 acres.

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Mccarthy Beach State Park

Side Lake MN
Side Lake, Minnesota
55781 USA

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  • Pet Friendly
  • 86 Camp Sites
  • Tent Sites
  • Dump Station
  • Showers

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