Where to Find Lake Superior Agates

The Lake Superior Agate is Minnesota’s state gemstone, and for good reason. These banded stones are gorgeous when polished, made into jewelry, or even straight from the beach. With constant waves on Lake Superior, there is never a shortage of new rocks to search through. 

Lake Superior Agates are thought to have begun forming around 1.1 billion years ago by sulfur and carbon dioxide bubbles that formed in lava. Over time the hollow cavities filled with water and minerals evaporated and settled into the layers of agate seen today. Most Lake Superior agates are composed of primarily microcrystalline quartz and different minerals, with the bright red-orange, rusty, brick-red colors coming from iron. 

The North Shore of Lake Superior is the best place to look for Lake Superior Agates. You can search for and find agates at a number of different beaches. The best time to look for agates is after a storm or an exceptionally windy and wavy day on the lake. The waves will push new rocks from the lake up onto the beach. If you really want to get into the agate hunt, bring some tools: a hand rake, mining pan or colander, and a magnifying glass will make searching and identifying the agates easier. 

Important Note: While out rock hunting please keep in mind that it is illegal to remove stones from a National Shoreline, and that there are limits to the amount you can collect from State Parks. Make sure to check with the local DNR for exact rules and regulations.

Popular beaches on the North Shore to visit:

  • Cobblestone Beach
  • Stoney Point Scenic Drive
  • Flood Bay State Wayside
  • Iona's Beach Scientific & Natural Area
  • Bever Falls & Beaver River
  • Temperance River State Park
  • Thomsonite Beach
  • Artist's Point
  • Kadunce River
  • Paradise Beach
  • Horseshoe Bay
  • Moose Lake

*Fun Fact: The largest Lake Superior agate weighed over 110 pounds.

Lake Superior Agate Resources:


Lake Superior Agate Gallery