A guide to agate and sea glass hunting on Minnesota's North Shore
Minnesota’s North Shore has a unique geological history that makes it a destination for rock hunters. Many people come to the North Shore to search for the Lake Superior agate, and it’s easy to see why. Rock hunting can be a great family activity that takes you on an outdoor adventure, and many people often leave with memories and beautiful souvenirs they discovered.

The most common items rock hounders seek on Minnesota’s North Shore are agates and sea glass. These unique stones can be easily found and make for great crafts and gifts like jewelry. Below, you’ll find some tips on where to find agates and sea glass. We’ve even included some of the more uncommon stones you could discover while you search.
Collect memories, not rocks.

To preserve the natural beauty of our state parks, rock hunters are free to explore so long as they leave the stones in their natural habitat.

Agates

The Lake Superior agate is Minnesota’s state gem. The agates found in Minnesota differ from other agates around the world. Their unique red, orange, and yellow coloring comes from the oxidation of iron in the area. These stones can be traced back billions of years, and they are prized by rock collectors worldwide.

Where to find them:

Agates are most commonly found along the shore of Lake Superior, though you can find them near many areas with exposed gravel. They are most likely to be found after big storms or heavy winds when they are swept out of the lake and onto the shore. Flood Bay Beach by Larsmont Cottages and Grand Superior Lodge is a great place to find agates.

What to look for:

Look for a glossy, waxy appearance, especially if they are chipped. If you have seen agates for sale in stores, they will likely be much shinier as they have been polished, so keep in mind when you find an agate, they will appear duller. Agates are easier to see if they are wet, so often, you’ll find rock hunters spraying water on rocks along the shore.

Sea glass

Sea glass starts as discarded glass that is smoothed over by time and water. These brightly colored, smooth pieces of glass take 5 to 50 years to form. Searching for sea glass is a popular hobby for many as you never know what you’re going to find.

Where to find them:

Much like agates, the best place to find sea glass is on a rocky or pebbly beach. You can easily find sea glass around Lake Superior after heavy winds or a big storm. Burlington Bay Beach near Breezy Point is an excellent place to find sea glass.

What to look for:

Sea glass comes in various colors. The most common colors you’ll find are white or brown. Lighter blue, green, or amber-colored sea glass is more difficult to find, so consider giving yourself extra points if you discover one of these sought-after colors.

Hunting for agates and sea glass can
be a fun activity for all ages.

When you go, you’ll likely meet other enthusiasts who share the same love of discovery. A rock doesn’t have to be rare for you to consider it a treasure; if you find something you think is special, you’ll have a souvenir of your own. Just remember not to take anything from state parks – only photos and memories.

Check out our Rock & Agate Hunt, where you will be taken on a journey by experienced rock hunters who will passionately take you on an adventure of discovery.

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