Known as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” Minnesota is the perfect state for a dog-friendly beach trip. Nothing makes a day at the beach more special than playing in the water with your best four-legged friend. From massive Lake Erie to the smaller lakes nestled in state and national parks, Minnesota is an idyllic destination. Book a stay at one of many pet-friendly Minnesota vacation rentals. That said, take a look at the five best beaches in Minnesota to explore with your dog.

1. Minnesota Point

On a sandbar in the Nemadji and St. Louis Rivers, Minnesota Point is a dog-friendly beach, where you and your pup can play in the water and chase the waves as they wash into shore. The beach here stretches for three miles, and access includes a nearby parking lot or a hike through the boreal forest. After some time in the water and soaking up the sun, walk down to the beach to find and explore the ruins of the Minnesota Point lighthouse that once warned sailors of danger.

Park Point Trail is a pleasant four-mile hike, where the two of you can stretch your legs and see some original settler cabins. The park includes a volleyball area and a boat launch if you bring one from home to spend the day on the river. This small area has several homes and a nearby community to look for a vacation for those wanting to spend a couple of days.

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2. White Bear Dog Beach

In White Bear, dogs have their own beach to use as an exercise area with sand and a lake to do a little swimming. Dogs entering the White Bear Dog Beach must be leashed if they don’t get along well with other pups. This is a day use park and closes in the evening until reopening again in the early morning. Shallow water makes it easy for even small dogs to splash and have a good time.

The city of White Bear has many choices to stay during your trip and lots to do. Gateway State Trail is a trail that runs 18 miles, and you can walk or bike all or just part of it. Dogs on leashes can accompany you on this trail. Hit the links and play 18 holes of golf at the Phalen Regional Park. Learn more about the local area at the White Bear Lake Area Historical Society.

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3. Camden State Park Beach

Dogs are welcome to come play on the beach and swim in the water at the Camden State Park Beach. However, your furry friend must remain on his leash at all times, and that leash can’t be longer than six feet. Fish for brown trout, bass and bluegill for a fish fry dinner back at your vacation rental. Enjoy an afternoon hike through the park and take in the stunning wildflower in the spring and the autumn foliage in the fall.

Lynd is the closest small city. Enjoy dinner at the Lyndwood Tex-Mex Bar and Grill for American classics. If you want to stay somewhere a little larger but within easy driving distance of the beach, Marshall is about half an hour away. Tour the Lyon County Historical Society Museum to learn more about the local history and what life was like during the old days.

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4. McCarthy Beach State Park

McCarthy Beach State Park provides plenty of sand beaches for you and your pup to spread out and enjoy the water and sunshine. The beach is day use, and you must keep Fido on his six-foot or less leash throughout your visit to this state park and beach area. Sturgeon Lake has the best beach in the park as it runs for half a mile. Wade out into the water that remains shallow for quite a distance from the shore, making it an ideal location for small children and dogs. Wind your way through the pine-covered ridges and stands of birch trees with your furry friend by your side on an afternoon hike. The five lakes in the park are connected so bring a kayak or canoe to explore each one. Hibbing, a former mining community, is the closest town to stay during your time in the area.

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5. Zippel Bay State Park Beach

As one of the largest lakes in the world, Zippel Bay State Park has miles of beaches for you and your family to explore. Toss a blanket on the sand to soak up the sun or dine al fresco before swimming in the lake. For protected access to the Lake of the Woods, there is a marina and rock jetty so you launch your boat or canoe without fighting the waves. Hiking and birdwatching are two of the most popular activities, and if you’re lucky, you might catch sight of sandhill cranes and piping plovers. In the winter months, Jeffs Ice-O-Miniums can help you do a little ice fishing on the lake. Baudette is the closest town to this state park, and its nickname is Walleye Capital of the World so you know it’s a great place to do a little fishing too.

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