Minnesota shook off the bitter winter cold and now it’s time to break out the sunscreen and swimsuits. When the temperatures soar, metro area regional parks are a great place to “beat the heat.”
In Anoka County, Lake George Regional Park, is a great spot for families and youth. Amenities include a boat launch, a beach, and a picnic pavilion. Hours are from 9 a.m. - 8 p.m. from early June through late August. Outdoor swimming lessons are also offered at this location by the local YMCA.
At 5,550 acres, Rice Creek Chain of Lakes Regional Park Reserve is one of the largest park reserves in the metro region. Summer amenities include a boat launch, canoeing, fishing, and a campground.
Ride the waves and splash in the pools
Are lakes not really your thing? Would you rather slide down a water slide or splash around in the waves? Try Bunker Beach in Bunker Hills Regional Park, one of the largest water parks in Minnesota. Among the key attractions of this water park are the Wave Pool, the Lazy Loop for tubing and the Adventure Pool, a zero-depth-entry pool perfect for children of all ages. The park also offers concession stands, and cabana rentals for celebrations. . Bunker Beach is open the first week of June through Labor Day.
Bush Lake Beach in Bloomington is open now through Labor Day. Lifeguards are on duty between the hours of 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The beach area features a beach house, floating docks, picnic tables, picnic shelters, and BBQ grills.
Battle Creek Waterworks is a great way to cool off on a hot day. The water park, located in Battle Creek Regional Park, is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is $7. Families can enjoy free water fun at any of 8 beaches in Ramsey County parks; 5 with lifeguards and 3 without. Lifeguards are on duty from noon till 8 p.m. daily through Sunday, August 10.
Looking for some shade when you go to the beach? Or are you looking to soak up some rays? Lake Minnewashta and Lake Waconia in Carver County have both amenities. Lake Minnewashta is family-oriented and provides plenty of shade. Lake Waconia appeals to youth because it has more the typical sunny and sandy beach atmosphere. Lifeguards are on duty from noon till 6 p.m.
The Swimming Pond in Elm Creek Park Reserve, Three River Parks District, offers filtered, chlorinated water, a sand beach, changing shelter, and concessions. On-duty lifeguard hours are noon to 8 p.m. daily through Aug. 10.
Try paddleboarding for summer fun
Lebanon Hills Regional Park in Dakota County has 100 wetlands, ponds, and lakes making it a great summer destination for swimming, fishing, and other summer activities.
Schultze Lake Beach in Lebanon Hills Regional Park provides unguarded swimming. Canoes, kayaks, and stand-up paddle boards are available for rental every day. Adjacent to Schultze Lake is McDonough Lake, which has a fishing pier. At the visitor center, families can pick up free fishing poles and catch fish at the pier. This lake also features grills and picnic areas.
Looking for more aquatic recreation? Lake Byllesby Regional Park has a boat launch for fishing and waterskiing as well as canoeing and kayaking.
Special events in the regional parks
Many parks feature additional summer fun, such as festivals and beach bashes. Three Rivers Park District hosts the Elm Creek beach party each July. See live animals, play games, try a beach obstacle course and minnow races as well as other beach time fun. Entertainment will begin at 1 p.m. Admission fee is $5 for attendees between ages of 2 and 17 and $3 for adults 18 plus. Registration is required.
Spring Lake Park Reserve in Dakota County is the site of a music festival on August 17. The festival takes place on the bluff overlooking the Mississippi River, and the line-up includes community bands and smaller bands that are all local.
Find more summer special events in the regional parks.
Posted In: Parks
Tags: parks, summer