Rock Picking and Agate Hunting - Paradise Beach, near Hovland, Minnesota
Lake Superior Agate Beaches
SuperiorTrails Agate Hunting & Rock Picking Directory (Pictures and Guides to Identifying Lake Superior Beach Rocks, Minerals, and Agates)
As the picture at the top of this page suggests, Rock Picking and Agate Hunting is a popular family hobby and this particular beach - Paradise Beach - is one of the most popular agate hunting sites along the North Shore.
Most of the beaches we profile here were introduced to us by Sparky Stensaas's book Rock Picker's Guide to Lake Superior's North Shore (see ordering info near the bottom of this page). But some we discovered on our own and some of the beaches referenced in Sparky's manual, we've omitted because on our visit, we weren't impressed with the variety of available rocks. But beaches are constantly changing so we may have caught them on a bad day.
Burlington Bay, Two Harbors
Located on the north edge of town, adjacent to the municipal campground. Reputed to yeild agates, there is also good population of attractive polishing rocks.
Beaver River Bay, Beaver Bay
Access is just north of crossing the Beaver River. There are a few parking spots on the roadside shoulder. Otherwise, use the parking lot on the other side of the street just before you cross the river.
Cutface-Creek, Good Harbor Bay
This beach is four miles south of Grand Marais and is accessible from the Cutface Creek Wayside. We met some veteran agate collectors who thought this was one of the best agate beaches around the entire lake. Besides agates a bonus is the possiblity of finding Thomsonite zeolites.
Five Mile Rock Beach
This beach is about five miles north of Grand Marais, beginning about a half mile after you cross the Devil Track River. You'll need to find parking along the shoulder of the road. This one isn't listed in Sparky's book but we found a nice selection of rocks here and there is a lot of beach to explore.
Kadunce River Beach
Keep your eyes open for the Outpost Motel sign as the Kadunce River Hiking Trail parking lot is just past the motel on the right hand (lake side) of the road. Not a large beach, but lots of rocks.
Mile Marker 121 Beach
This beach is only a few miles north of Kadunce River. Look for mile marker 121. Parking is on your right (lake side) There is a short paved dead end road that leads down to the beach. Lots of rock and lots of beach to explore.
The Paradise Beach Wayside is only a mile or two down the road, shortly after you cross the Little Brule River and before you get to the Brule River and the turn to Judge Magney State Park. There is room to park a few cars in the wayside parking lot. People are always here beach combing so it has a reputation!
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.
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
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