McCarthy Beach State Park
By Jim Umhoefer
McCarthy Beach State Park covers 2,500 acres, but most visitors get only as far as the shoreline, picnic area and campground on the narrow isthmus between Sturgeon and Side Lake. The swimming beach is a very popular destination with its one-half mile long shoreline and shallow waters that reach hundreds of feet into the lake. McCarthy Beach State Park is located near Side Lake in Minnesota’s St. Louis County.
Visitors on mountain bikes can also explore county roads inside the park and get in about 17 miles of riding. Equestrians enjoy 16 miles of horseback trails. Most of the trail system in the park is shared. In addition, the Taconite State Trail, a natural surface trail between Grand Rapids and Ely, travels through the park and offers 165 miles of additional hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding.