Beach at Copper Harbor near the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula
Best Lake Superior Rock Picking & Agate Beaches - Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula
Lake Superior Agate Beaches
SuperiorTrails Agate Hunting & Rock Picking Directory (Pictures and Guides to Identifying Lake Superior Beach Rocks, Minerals, and Agates)
The beach pictured above is across the bay from the Copper Harbor Lighthouse. As you can see lots of rocks. But it seems to be mainly basalt, rhyolite, and sandstone. We didn't see much evidence of quartz or chert which we've found are present on beaches where we've found agates. So you'll see this beach is not among the ones we've profiled below. Many other beaches along the western side, north of Eagle River are more sand than rock or are slabs of conglomerate rock or huge basalt boulders. The eastern side of the Keweenaw is very sandy with close to zero chances of finding an agate.
For a complete list of Upper Peninsula Lake Superior beaches get Susan Robinson's illustrated guide entitled "Is this an Agate" listed in the books section at the bottom of this page.
Beaches North of Houghton-Hancock
McClain State Park Beach
From Hancock take highway 203 north and west to the entrance to the park. Most of the beach is quite sandy and great for swimming. However we found a nice collection of rocks and a seam agate at the far northern end of the beach. As a state park, an entrance fee is required. It is a very popular camping park so if you plan to stay overnight, advance reservations are recommended.
Calumet Waterworks Park Beach
From McClain State Park, continue north-east on highway 203 a short distance until the intersection with C-50 (Lakeshore Drive). Turn left and follow the road about two miles to the beach parking lot. The waterworks beach is about a 1000 feet long but you may be able to walk further either way even though private homes line the beaches.
Beaches South of Houghton-Hancock
From Houghton, south on M-26 to the town of Toivola. Turn east on S-71 Misery Bay Road and follow it for 6 miles to the fork in the road, take S-71F about 1 mile to Agate Beach Road. It's about another two miles to the park. Don't have a picture and my notes are sketchy on the quality of the rocks here. We visited it once in the early days of our rock hounding hobby when we didn't know that much about finding an agate.
Misery Bay Beach
You also follow S-71 Misery Bay Road from Toivola. Stay on it past the fork with S-71F and go about another five miles to the beach and park. With higher water levels returning to Lake Superior, there may not be much of beach to walk so I'd take a pass on this one for now.
Books on Lake Superior Agate Hunting & Rock Picking
Recommended by a SuperiorTrails friend & rock hound, this new guide has actual photographs of various rocks and minerals found on Lake Superior beaches. Co-author Bob Lynch is owner of Agate City Rocks and Gifts in Two Harbors Minnesota
Karen Brzys. Director, Gitchee Gumee Agate & History Museum, has created this comprehensive tutorial to finding agates. Includes over 750 photographs and diagrams.
This is required handbook for rock pickers who love to comb Lake Superior beaches looking for pretty rocks and hoping to find an agate. Identifies some of the UP's best rock picking beaches.
Here is another book recommended by a Superior Trails reader and rock hound who was able to identify over 50 rocks found on the beach using this guide by Kevin Gauthier and Bruce Mueller. Also included are tips for polishing the stones and rock. Kevin and Bruce also publish a similar guide for Lake Michigan rocks.
My wife Jo found this agate hunters book while traveling in the UP and thought it would help her find her first Lake Superior Agate. It is full of tips for agate hunting (and rock picking) and has some very good color photographs of a number of agate variations as well as photos of the other kinds of rocks you'll find on Lake Superior beaches.
Sparky's guide covers what north shore beaches to comb, a bit of history on the formation of the various rocks found on beaches, and helpful information and pictures on identifying beach rocks and minerals.
Lake Superior Agate Links
The 2021 13th Annual Rock On Agate Festival will be held held in Sept 11 & 12 at the Community Center in Grand Marais, Michigan.
What last year's agate festival was like:
Pictures & Story from the
2014 Rock On Agate Festival.
Continuing your Travel & Trekking
Around Lake Superior
Superior Trails Lake Superior Circle Tour
SuperiorTrails.com - Reinhold Development - 2022
Lake Superior Camping
& Campground Directory
Best Camping along Lake Superior.
Outstanding Fall Color from Porcupine Mountains Lake of the Clouds scenic overlook.
See our Directory of our favorite Upper Peninsula Scenic and Recreation areas.
Don't miss experiencing Duluth's Canal Park, Shopping and Entertainment District.
Duluth's Enger Park Tower provides a panaramic view of the city of Duluth.
See our reviews on Best Hiking and Camping Guides around Lake Superior.
Enjoying lake breezes and views at the Duluth Canal Park Brewery Beer Garden - Canal Park.
See the lighthouses on an Apostle Islands Cruise.