The Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board operates beaches at a few lakes in the Twin Cities area. Access is free and seasonal lifeguards are present during specified hours. Bathroom facilities vary.
Beaches in St. Paul
St. Paul has one official beach - the one at Lake Phalen. It has a seasonal lifeguard, changing rooms and bathrooms. Access is free.
Hidden Falls Regional Park has a sand beach made from dredging the Mississippi River. Access is free. Swimming here isn't recommended.
Fort Snelling State Park Beach
Fort Snelling State Park has a swimming beach with bathrooms, a visitor's center, and seasonal lifeguards. The beach is on sheltered Snelling Lake. A state park parking permit is required to park here.
Three Rivers Park District Beaches
The Three Rivers Park District maintains several parks in the western suburbs, on otherwise undeveloped lakes. The park offers free, unguarded swimming beaches at seven of their parks, with scenery, bathrooms, and often concessions. There is a beach at Baker Park Reserve, Bryant Lake Regional Park, Lake Rebecca Park Reserve, Fish Lake Regional Park, Cleary Lake Regional Park, French Regional Park, and Cedar Lake Farm Regional Park.
Ramsey County Beaches
Ramsey County operates several guarded and unguarded beaches across Ramsey County. There is a beach at White Bear Lake, Lake Johanna, Lake Josephine, Long Lake, Lake McCarrons, Snail Lake (all have lifeguards), and Lake Gervais, Lake Owasso, Turtle Lake (no lifeguards).
Washington County Beaches
Washington County Parks has a couple of swimming beaches. Square Lake Park, near Stillwater, has one of the clearest lakes in the metro area. Point Douglas Park has a beach on the St. Croix, Lake Elmo has a swimming pond, Big Marine Park reserve has a large beach with modern bathrooms and changing rooms.
All beaches are free but vehicles need a Washington County Permit to enter the parks, except at Point Douglas Park.
Also in Washington County, the City of Woodbury has Carver Lake Park and Beach, with a free, unguarded beach.
North St. Paul has a swimming beach at Silver Lake Park.
Anoka County Beaches
Anoka County Parks have several large lakes with clean beaches. There's a beach at these parks: Lake George Regional Park, Martin-Island-Linwood Lakes Regional Park, Coon Lake County Park, and Centerville Beach at Rice Creek Chain of Lakes Regional Park. The beaches are free but vehicle permits are required at some Anoka County parks.
Anoka County also operates the vast Bunker Beach water park, with all kinds of slides, rivers and pools, as well as a large sand area with play construction equipment. Admission charges apply.