Crystal Beach in Burnsville, MN

burnsvillebeach6Places to Play: Crystal Beach in Burnsville, MN

This is the start of my new series about places to play in the South Metro area of the Twin Cities (Apple Valley, Bloomington, Burnsville, Eagan, Eden Prairie, Edina, Inver Grove Heights, Farmington, Lakeville, Mendota Heights, Prior Lake, Richfield, Rosemount, Savage, Shakopee, South St. Paul, West St. Paul.)

Place: Crystal Beach

Where: 1101 Crystal Lake Road East
Burnsville, MN 55337

Cost: Free

This is a city park in Burnsville, MN.  It has a wonderful beach area, as well as playground and open green space for running around.  There are picnic tables, indoor bathrooms, and a concession stand as well.  Plenty of mature trees are throughout the park, including near the beach, allowing lots of shade areas.


  • The beach has a wonderful play station for children to explore.  So even when it isn’t practical to go swimming at the beach, you can still enjoy a bit of water and sand play.  The two play stations have running water, allowing children to investigate the science of water flow while engaging in sensory and imaginative play.  I saw children as young as 2 up through pre-teens enjoying these station.  The water turns on by pushing a knob, then fills a variety of trays and bins.  There are movable parts that allow re-configuration of the water flow, as well as movable stoppers to drain the tubs.  Bring a few buckets, scoops, or cups to find new ways to play.
  • Playing at the beach is a great chance to explore sensations- sand, water, wind, sun, seaweed, etc.  For children who are sensory seekers, there is a lot of input to seek out (the beach gets busy on weekends and after 11 on hotter days).  For children who avoid sensations, go early in the morning or on a cooler day for a calmer environment to allow they to slowly explore at their own pace.
  • For children with motor impairments, the beach has a cement pad that extend into the sand that would allow access to the sand on a fairly firm surface (but not to the water).  There are paved trails throughout the park and indoor bathrooms that are accessible as well.

Looking for other local ideas in or near Burnsville?

Paige Hays is an occupational therapist who provides in-home, pediatric occupational therapy services in the south metro area of the Twin Cities, MN. She is a mother of 2 girls, avid DIYer, and a highly skilled and experienced OT. She specializes in working in pediatrics, with diverse expertise ranging from cognition and sensory issues to working with children with neuromuscular disabilities or complex medical needs.