Big Marine Park Reserve is a regional park serviced by Washington County. The park's family-friendly amenities was selected as a regional facility because of its excellent natural resource features, including the St. Croix Valley / northeast ground moraine and high-quality upland and wetland wildlife habitat. When completed, the park will be 1,800 acres, with 80 percent of its acreage set aside for preservation and protection. This 80 percent will eventually resemble the land as it was prior to the arrival of the settlers in the mid-1800s.
Washington County encourages hiking, biking, cross-country skiing (with Minnesota Ski Pass), snowshoeing, in-line skating, horseback riding, and walking its trials and paths. This park has trails available in summer and winter. Washington County has created this printable PDF Big Marine Map and Brochure.
Big Marine Park Reserve Play Area
There is a large "destination" play area in the park that is actually two play areas installed in one general location. The gigantic creative playground is a favorite for children of all ages. The highly accessible playground features a towering 18-foot slide, a colossal climbing rock, and a 20-foot geodesic climbing web.
Big Marine Park Reserve Beach
Beach season runs from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend. The beach is guarded and is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m, with scheduled safety breaks for the lifeguards. Washington County suggests this park as a good beach for families because of the gentle grade of Big Marine Lake and Anne recommends this beach in 10 Twin Cities Beaches & Playgrounds to Try This Summer.
New in 2019: If needed, families can borrow Coast Guard approved life jackets from a life jacket loaner station recently installed at the beach.
Pavilion rentals are available for birthday parties and other private parties. The pavilion costs $40 and holds 4 picnic tables. There are two grills and a drinking fountain available and restrooms are nearby. Find more birthday party ideas: Twin Cities Birthday Parties for Kids: Party in the Park.
The park offers all ages guided bird hikes. Participants learn to identify birds of the St. Croix Valley and how to collect data as citizen scientists. Participants are reminded to dress for the weather and activity and expect to walk for an hour. You may want to bring along binoculars, water, sunscreen, and bug protection. If you prefer to strike out on your own, we have put together a birding checklist for families with kids.
Washington County Library sometimes hosts FREE story strolls at this park. Families can read a story as as they take a walk through the park. Story pages for each stroll are placed along a paved trail that is ADA and stroller accessible. Find upcoming Story Strolls on the Washington County Library calendar, Keyword Story Stroll.
Learn More About Story Strolls and Walks here: Family Fun Idea: StoryWalk
Fishing Big Marine Lake
Washington County encourages families wishing to introduce children to the sport of fishing to use the fishing pier north of the swimming beach area, as it is the only public fishing pier on Big Marine Lake. Big Marine Lake boasts healthy populations of panfish, large mouth bass, northern pike, and walleye. Families can borrow poles and tackle from the park’s contact station as well as purchase bait and fishing licenses.
For other family fishing locations, Gianna's family has compiled The Best Fishing Holes in the Twin Cities.
Winter at Big Marine
Washington County Parks announced that they would be moving away from the DNR's MN Ski Pass to use their own Nordic Ski Pass. The prices are about the same $6/daily and $30/season, but you will no longer be able to purchase one pass to cover both State Parks and Washington County Parks.
Ski are required for anyone age 18 and older using the ski trails. Learn more about Cross Country skiing in Washington Parks here.
- Lake Elmo Park Reserve and Beach
- Square Lake Park, Stillwater
- St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park, Hastings