McCarthy Beach State Park

Find 18 miles of hiking trails, 17 miles of mountain bike trails and 12 miles of horse trails among towering red and white pine forests and scenic lakeshores of Side Lake and the four connected lakes of the Sturgeon chain. McCarthy Beach State Park is also home to nine miles of groomed cross-country ski trails and 12 miles of snowmobile trails in the park, with a spur to the Taconite State Trail.

Hilly trails create excellent opportunities for birding – more than 175 species have been counted in the park. Thirty-three species of wildlife live here, too, including timber wolves, raccoons, whitetail deer and black bear. Great pine forests along with aspen and birch trees make for stunning scenery.

In summer, McCarthy Beach is popular for its excellent swimming and sunning. Warm, shallow water in the swimming area is great for young swimmers, and wide, clean beaches offer plenty of room for family fun. It was voted one of the best beaches in the Midwest. Enjoy picnicking and recreation of all kinds at this one-of-a-kind state park. Fishing and wildlife viewing pier is available for use.

Directions: Take Highway 169 west of Virginia 17.5 miles and go past Chisholm to County Road 5. Take a right on 5 and follow it north for 16 miles to Side Lake. Take a left on McCarthy Beach Road to the park. Watch for signs.

Admission: A state park vehicle permit is required at a cost of $4 for a daily permit or $20 for an annual permit. Rates subject to change.

To learn more, visit the McCarthy Beach State Park DNR website.

Click here for a FREE McCarthy Beach Park Brochure including information on cross-country skiing, hiking, and recreational opportunities.

McCarthy Beach State Park
7622 McCarthy Beach Road
Side Lake, MN 55781