How & Where to Find Lake Superior Agates

Photo of Lake Superior agatesLake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world, and Bayfield County is lucky enough to be located on some of the lake’s most scenic shorelines. Along these shorelines, you can find unique and beautiful souvenirs; Lake Superior agates. Start your journey at Old Rittenhouse Inn, just blocks from Lake Superior and a short boat ride to the Apostle Islands. During your summer vacation in Bayfield, we invite you to stroll along our beaches in search of these unique gems of Lake Superior.

How Were Lake Superior Agates Formed?

The formation of Lake Superior agates took over a billion years to become the beautiful rocks you see today! When North America began to split, lava filled the area of what is now Lake Superior. Air bubbles were trapped in the lava, and once it cooled, deposits of iron, quartz, and other minerals filled the holes, eventually forming agates. 

How to Identify Agates

When identifying agates, there are five things to remember: texture, luster, fractures, translucency, and banding. 

  • The best way to identify is by wetting the rocks and looking for translucency; agates should glisten when wet! 
  • They appear to have a waxy, plastic, or glass-type material. 
  • The banding pattern of most agates appears like growth rings of trees.
  • Don’t be afraid to dig to find agates below the surface!
  • The best place to start looking is on pebbly beaches after a storm or heavy winds. 

Where to Look for Agates in Bayfield County

Glacial drift and glacial lake sediments cover Bayfield County, yielding plenty of places where you can look for agates, including:

  • Chequamegon Bay
  • Big Bay State Park
  • Meyers Beach
  • Halvor Reiten Park 
  • Cornucopia Beach
  • Bayfield Quarry

Lake Superior Agate Setting Workshop

Join Silverwaves Jewelry for their spring jewelry workshop using Lake Superior agates. This April event offers an opportunity to pick out an agate and learn how to create a pendant and ring from local expert Bob Wright. 

Stay at Our Bed and Breakfast near Lake Superior

If you want to purchase Lake Superior agates instead, stop by Ricky Rocks & Jem on Madeline Island. They offer an impressive inventory of Lake Superior agates and one-of-a-kind jewelry. Return to Old Rittenhouse Inn after your rock hunting and unwind at our romantic bed and breakfast. We can’t wait to welcome you to “The Best Little Town in the Midwest!”