Best Beaches In Chicago

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Best Beaches In Chicago

The 10 Best Beaches in Chicago, Illinois 2023

Another street-end beach near Loyola University in Rogers Park, North Shore Beach is full of families and students sharing a relaxing environment. Catch some rays or take a walk out on the pier.

The 28 best Chicago beaches

Chicago beach

When the sun comes out, there’s no better place to be than the best Chicago beaches.

Written by Time Out in association with Vizzy Wednesday July 19 2023

There are few better ways to beat the heat in Chicago than by hitting one of the many sandy beaches along the shores of Lake Michigan. From the North Shore to the South Shore, there are plenty of options to choose from, whether you’re looking for a chill day of sunbathing, want to take in the skyline from a kayak or paddleboard, or love to get competitive with a game of volleyball.

Make the most of summer in Chicago by packing a towel, snacks and some sunscreen and heading out early to secure a spot. If you’re really looking for vacation vibes, you can visit a waterfront restaurant serving drinks and hosting live music. Just be sure to check the water conditions before you go and consider visiting a public swimming pool if the lake is off limits.

Note: Chicago’s summer beach season runs through Labor Day.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in Chicago

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Top beaches in Chicago

Oak Street Beach

1. Oak Street Beach

One of Chicago’s most popular places to sunbathe, this Gold Coast beach has volleyball tournaments, a restaurant and a spectacular view of the skyline. On your way to this stretch of sand, seek out Jeff Zimmermann’s colorful mural “You Know What You Should Do” by the Oak Street Beach underpass—it’s meant as a reminder to avoid feeding wildlife and littering.

Amenities: concessions, chair rentals, volleyball, Wi-Fi, bike rentals, restrooms, lifeguard first aid station

2. Rainbow Beach and Park

Part of the 142-acre Rainbow Park, this South Side beach sits next to one of Chicago’s oldest public gardens, the Rainbow Beach Victory Garden. The northern edge of this beach is home to the 9.2-acre Rainbow Beach Dunes, a natural area managed by the Chicago Park District that hosts plants and wildlife native to the shores of Lake Michigan.

Amenities: concessions, playground, restrooms, lifeguard first aid station, Wi-Fi, gym, fitness center, volleyball, handball courts

North Avenue Beach

3. North Avenue Beach

Ever-popular during the summer months, North Avenue Beach features a quirky beach house inspired by a beached ocean liner. Visitors can hit the volleyball courts, grab a snack or rent a bike. Be warned: North Avenue is one of the busiest beaches in the city, so you’ll have to stake out your spot on the sand as early as you can.

Amenities: concessions, lockers, Wi-Fi, kayak rentals, jet ski rentals, water sports rentals, restrooms, volleyball courts, lifeguard first aid station

Margaret T. Burroughs Beach

4. Margaret T. Burroughs Beach

This South Side beach—known as 31st Street Beach before it was renamed in 2015 for Burroughs, the founder of the DuSable Museum who was later appointed to the Park District Board of Commissioners—features amazing views of the Chicago skyline in addition to a harbor for small boats. A nearby park includes a “green roof” picnic area and a public fishing dock.

Amenities: concessions, Wi-Fi, restrooms, lockers, harbor store, picnic area, fishing dock, lifeguard first aid station, playground

Kathy Osterman Beach

5. Kathy Osterman Beach

If your friends tell you that they’re spending the day at Hollywood Beach, this is where they’re headed. Located in Edgewater and named for a beloved former alderman, Kathy Osterman Beach has a silver LEED-certified beach house that was completed in 2010. It’s also (unofficially) the LGBTQ+ beach of Chicago.

Amenities: concessions, Wi-Fi, water sports rentals, restrooms, beach house, lifeguard first aid station

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57th Street Beach

6. 57th Street Beach

Located in Jackson Park, one of Chicago’s oldest green spaces, 57th Street Beach is easily accessible via a pedestrian underpass near the Museum of Science and Industry. The beach is also home to Tasty Grill, which offers Mexican fare along with hot dogs and drinks. Paddleboarding, canoeing and other non-motorized water sports are permitted at the north end of the beach.

Amenities: concessions, Wi-Fi, restrooms, lifeguard first aid station

Oakwood Beach

7. Oakwood Beach

One of Chicago’s newest stretches of sand, this South Side beach boasts a restaurant called Lunch Box—which serves Mexican food and hot dogs—as well as a LEED-certified beach house (which, among other environmentally-friendly features, uses rainwater to supply the toilets).

Amenities: restrooms, concessions, beach house, lifeguard first aid station

Foster Beach

8. Foster Beach

This popular Edgewater attraction offers a beach house with concessions and bike rentals in addition to an adjoining dog beach for everyone’s favorite four-legged friends. It also hosts the monthly Full Moon Jam, a free event featuriing acoustic music and fire dancers celebrating the lunar cycle.

Amenities: restrooms, Wi-Fi, beach house, concessions, lifeguard first aid station

Montrose Beach

9. Montrose Beach

A fenced-off dog area at this popular Uptown beach provides a place for your pooch to run around. Elsewhere, visitors can play volleyball, sit under an umbrella or take a dip in the lake. Into kiteboarding? That’s allowed here, too. Migratory birds flock to an area to the south of the beach in the spring and fall, so don’t leave any unguarded snacks on your towel.

Amenities: concessions, beach house, kayak rentals, volleyball rentals, restrooms, showers, lifeguard first aid station, Wi-Fi

South Shore Beach

10. South Shore Beach

Situated near the beautiful South Shore Cultural Center, this beach has something for everyone. A country club–esque beach house, nine-hole golf course, tennis courts and a sand dune-studded nature sanctuary await visitors.

Amenities: restrooms, beach house, lifeguard first aid station

12th Street Beach

11. 12th Street Beach

Make a day of it by visiting this Near South Side beach—located within Northerly Island Park—and then walking to the Adler Planetarium for an array of summer events. You’ll often find lines forming at the Del Campos food stand, which is one of the only places to grab a snack on Northerly Island.

Amenities: concessions, beach house, restrooms, lifeguard first aid station, non-motorized boat launch

Ohio Street Beach

12. Ohio Street Beach

Located within walking distance of Navy Pier and sheltered by the curve of the shoreline, Ohio Street Beach offers calm waters for open water swimmers and amazing views of downtown. The beach itself faces north and is easily accessible via the Lakefront Trail.

Amenities: concessions, restrooms, lifeguard first aid station

13. 63rd Street Beach

If you need a beach vacay but can’t get away right this second, head to 63rd Street Beach and its beach house, where adults and kids alike can splash around in the interactive spray fountain. Reggies on the Beach hosts free shows on Thursdays and Sundays and rents cabanas, kayaks, paddleboards and waverunners.

Amenities: concessions, beach house, restrooms, playgrounds, lifeguard first aid station, non-motorized boat launch

14. Helen Doria Beach

Located in Rogers Park, Helen Doria Beach (a.k.a. Columbia Beach) is one of Chicago’s hidden gems. It offers great views of the Chicago skyline without the crowds that you’ll find on stretches of sand that are closer to the Loop.

Amenities: lifeguard station, restrooms

15. Calumet Beach

Bordering the Indiana state line, Calumet Beach can be a bit of a trek from elsewhere in the city. The beach connects to a sprawling 200-acre park that offers an artificial turf soccer field and fields for football and softball.

Amenities: concessions, restrooms, lockers, playground, lifeguard first aid station

16. Marion Mahony Griffin Beach

Sometimes referred to as Jarvis Beach due to its proximity to the Jarvis Red Line stop, this small Rogers Park beach is frequented by residents of the nearby apartments. Walk out on the small pier for a great view of the distant skyline.

Amenities: lifeguard first aid station

Loyola Beach

17. Loyola Beach

This beach attracts college students and families and features a walking trail along Lake Michigan. It’s adjacent to the 21.5-acre Loyola Park, which has a field house, basketball court, tennis courts and boxing center.

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Amenities: concessions, restrooms, playground, lifeguard first aid station

18. Leone Beach

This Rogers Park beach has a kayak launch and plenty of sandy acres to enjoy. Don’t be surprised if you see members of the Junior Lifeguard program training in the lake.

Amenities: playground, restrooms, lifeguard first aid station, tennis courts

19. North Shore Beach

Another street-end beach near Loyola University in Rogers Park, North Shore Beach is full of families and students sharing a relaxing environment. Catch some rays or take a walk out on the pier.

Amenities: none

20. Lane Beach

This Edgewater beach, once known as Thorndale Avenue Beach and Park, is connected to a small park and just a short walk away from the much larger Osterman Beach to the south.

Amenities: playground

21. Hartigan Beach

Formerly known as Albion Beach, this no-frills street-end beach in Rogers Park is a great spot to catch some rays and enjoy the waters of Lake Michigan.

Amenities: playground

22. Tobey Prinz Beach

The Chicago Park District renamed Pratt Beach in 2014 to honor Tobey Prinz, a civil rights and community activist who worked to preserve beaches and parkland. The adjacent Tobey Prinz Beach Park is home to Lynn Takata’s “Windform,” a 100-foot-long abstract concrete sculpture representing the movement of water.

Amenities: none

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Belmont Harbor Dog Beach

23. Belmont Harbor Dog Beach

Pups love to play in the sand and water, too, which is why you should bring them to this small dog beach at Belmont Harbor. They’ll get to socialize with other furry friends while you bask in the sun.

Gillson Park and Beach

24. Gillson Park and Beach

  • Things to do
  • Ice skating
  • Suburbs

Up in Wilmette, Gillson Park and Beach offers 60 acres of green space and sandy shores to spread out on. It’s great for swimming, sailing, kayaking and picnicking, and The Fat Shallot serves sandwiches and fries in the beach house. A daily beach pass is $10 for Wilmette residents and $16 for non-residents.

Amenities: swimming beach, dog beach, restaurant, picnic area with grills (reservations required), rentals

Glencoe Beach

25. Glencoe Beach

This North Shore beach is a popular family-friendly attraction as it offers amenities like a playground, volleyball courts and beach equipment rentals. If you’re looking to host a private party or event, you can book a sun shelter or the trellis as well. Lifeguards are on duty during the summer season. A daily beach pass is $10 for Glencoe residents and $20 for non-residents, though the beach is only open to season pass holders on weekends, holidays and before noon on weekdays.

Amenities: beach house, sprayground, lifeguards, restrooms, rentals, lockers, showers, vending machines, volleyball courts, snack stand, playground

Lee Street Beach

26. Lee Street Beach

The suburb of Evanston is home to six public beaches and Lee Street Beach is one of the most popular. There are lifeguards on duty and everything is clean and well-kept, making it well worth the drive up north. Admission is free for Evanston residents; a daily beach pass is $10 for Skokie residents and $12 for all other non-residents.

Amenities: Restrooms

27. Forest Park Beach

Part of a 29-acre park, Lake Forest’s large beach features a fishing pier, boat launching ramp and a boating center that rents paddle boards and kayaks. Visit the north pavilion to relax with a glass of wine and beer, then take a stroll along one of the walking paths. A non-resident day pass costs $25.

Amenities: Concessions, boat launch, pavilions, lifeguards, fishing pier

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28. Rosewood Beach

Head up to Highland Park to visit this beach bordering wooded bluffs. Take a stroll on the boardwalk, grab a slice and ice cream from Judy’s Pizza, and bring the kids for creative programs run by the Heller Nature Center. The beach also hosts yoga classes. A daily pass is $10 for non-residents.

Amenities: Concessions, lifeguard, restrooms, interpretive center, boardwalk

https://media.timeout.com/images/106026543/image.jpg

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The 10 Best Beaches in Chicago, Illinois [2023]

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The 10 Best Beaches in Chicago, Illinois [2023]

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Chicago is one of the most popular cities to visit in the U.S., but it’s not the first place people think about when they’re planning a beach vacation. However, just because Chicago doesn’t border an ocean doesn’t mean it lacks places to go for a day on the sand.

Though you’ll be staying within the boundaries of a single city, figuring out which Windy City beach you should spend your time at can be tricky and involves careful planning. To help you out, we’ve come up with this list of the best beaches in Chicago.

Map of the 10 Best Beaches in Chicago

The Best Beaches in Chicago

1. Belmont Harbor Dog Beach

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