McCarthy Beach State Park
Come to McCarthy Beach State Park and youll remember the lakes. The sandy beach on Sturgeon Lake was rated one of the top 17 beaches in North America by Highways 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.
Tell me more about this park's wildlife, history, geology and landscape.
Fall CampingThe Side Lake and Beatrice Lake Campgrounds will both be open for fall camping this year. The new shower building in the Side Lake Campground will be open until October 4th. The campground will continue to be open on a rustic basis until November 22nd, unless we get a big snowfall earlier. Camping reservations can be made until October 18th.
Office hours are limited in the fall so you may wish to call ahead if you have any questions. Firewood is available from several local vendors when the office is closed.
Taconite State Trail Master Plan - Update
The existing Taconite State Trail Master Plan was approved in 1980. A new master plan is under development to accurately reflect the developed alignment and existing trail uses, while also considering opportunities for new or future uses based on the current needs and demands of trail users.
To find out more and/or provide input, visit the Taconite State Trail Planning website.
Be fascinated. Check out the naturalist programs and other activities scheduled at the park.
Narrow Roads (RVers, take note!): The Side Lake Campground has narrow roads with sharp turns and may not be suitable for some large RVs. The road leading to sites 46 - 59 is especially narrow, so even though some of these campsites are long, they may be unsuitable for large rigs.
Group Camp: The camp is typically open mid-spring to fall, but water may not be available at the group camp outside of the Memorial Day to Labor Day period.
State Forest Campgrounds: McCarthy Beach State Park manages four state forest campgrounds and day-use areas: Button Box Lake, Thistledew Lake, Togo Horse Camp, and Stony Brook Horse Camp. These campgrounds are located in the George Washington State Forest. Camping is first-come, first-served at these areas. The cost is $14/night for a regular campsite and $16/night at the horse sites. For more information, call the park at 218-254-7979.
Purchase a Minnesota State Parks Gift Card.
Don't move firewood!
Burning non-local firewood can spread invasive species, and it's against Minnesota state law. Learn more. Always buy your firewood at the park, or from an approved local vendor. Find firewood vendors for McCarthy Beach State Park.
Bird Checklist at McCarthy Beach State Park.
Office opens at 9 am through Labor Day. Office closes at 9 pm on Friday nights through Labor Day. Office closes at 6 pm the week of 8/24 and 4 pm the week of 8/31.
7622 McCarthy Beach Road
Side Lake, MN 55781
From the town of Hibbing, take U.S. Highway 169 north to County Road 5, then 16 miles to the park.