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28 best Illinois beaches you need to visit

Looking for the best Illinois beaches? You came to the right place.

Illinois may not be known for its beaches, but if you’re interested in a diverse beach-going experience, Illinois beaches are the way to go.

Offering traditional sandy beaches as well as various natural spaces for hiking, grilling, and exploring, Illinois has many beaches that are worth visiting.

This list covers 28 of the best beaches in Illinois.

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Top Illinois beaches you need to see

Facilities Highlights
12th Street Beach
  • Lifeguards
  • Restrooms
  • Designated grilling areas

There are sand dunes to explore and the currents are generally mild which makes it safe to swim here.

31st Street Beach
  • Lifeguards
  • Restrooms
  • Watersport rentals
  • Wi-Fi
  • Children’s playground
  • Designated grilling areas
  • Food stalls

The views of the Chicago skyline from the beach

41st Street Beach/ Oakwood Beach
  • Lifeguards
  • Designated grilling areas
  • Restrooms with outdoor showers
  • Changing areas
  • Food stalls

The beach is not far from the downtown area and there are plenty of resources that are available as part of the beach or within a few minutes walking distance. You can also enjoy views of Chicago’s skyline.

57th Street Beach
  • Lifeguards
  • Restrooms
  • Wi-Fi
  • Children’s playground
  • Food stalls

You can enjoy great views of the Chicago skyline from the beach

63rd Street Beach
  • Lifeguards
  • Restrooms
  • Changing areas
  • Wi-Fi
  • Outdoor shower for rinsing off
  • Food stalls
  • Rental bikes
  • Children’s playground

A stay in the historic 63rd Street Beach House is worth it!

Belmont Harbor Dog Beach
  • None

In addition to the beautiful beach, this is an area specifically designated as dog-friendly!

Calumet Beach
  • Lifeguards
  • Restrooms
  • Designated grilling areas

A unique backdrop of a power plant stacks painted red and white

Clinton Lake State Recreation Area
  • Restrooms
  • Changing facility
  • Showers
  • Boondocks Grill and Bait restaurant open seasonally

The beach is located within a larger recreation area which makes it a great escape from busy city life

Evanston Swimming Beaches
  • Lifeguards
  • Restrooms
  • Picnic tables
  • Sailboat and kayak rentals at Dempster St and Clark St beaches

There are six swimming beaches so you have plenty of options within a short distance of each other

Forest Park Beach
  • Lifeguards
  • Concessions stand
  • Boating center
  • Paddle boards and kayaks available for rent
  • Pavilions for rent

Feel free to stop by the concession stand for a glass of wine or beer on a visit

Foster Beach
  • Lifeguards
  • Restrooms
  • Wi-Fi
  • Food stalls
  • Bike rentals

Just a few miles east of O’Hare airport, this beach has a beautiful backdrop of the city skyline and planes on approach

Glencoe Beach
  • Lifeguards on duty during the summer (memorial day to labor day)
  • Playground, including interactive water toys
  • Beach house with bathrooms and vending machines open during summer
  • Volleyball court (complimentary volleyball rentals are available in summer)
  • Sailboats, catamarans, kayaks, and paddleboards for rent

The beach volleyball court and “sprayground” for children to play in are unique features of Glencoe Beach

Kathy Osterman Beach
  • Lifeguards
  • Restrooms
  • WiFi
  • Paddleboard, canoe, and kayak rentals
  • Food stalls

The birds that flock to the area make for an interesting alternative to people watching while at the beach!

Illinois Beach State Park Illinois Beach State Park
  • Restrooms
  • Showers
  • Drinking water
  • Picnic areas
  • Camp Store (seasonal)
  • Nearby lodge with facilities available for overnight guests

The park area is large and allows you to enjoy the natural beauty of Illinois

Lake Shelbyville
  • Lifeguards
  • Concession stand
  • Campsites
  • Visitor center
  • Aquatic center
  • Picnic areas
  • Fish cleaning stations

The abundance of outdoor activities at this recreational area

Leone Beach
  • Lifeguards
  • Restrooms
  • Designated grilling areas
  • Kayak rentals
  • Playground
  • Food stalls

The historic aspect of Leone Beach makes it a can’t-miss spot for Chicago beach fans

Millard Beach
  • None

The nearby rock garden combined with the beach makes for a peaceful getaway

Moraine Beach
  • Sculpture garden
  • Restrooms
  • Picnic tables

The beach park is calm and ideal for dogs to explore

North Avenue Beach
  • Lifeguards
  • Restrooms
  • Changing areas
  • ATM
  • Wi-Fi
  • Designated grilling areas
  • Equipment rental from independent retailers located nearby (both for land use, such as bikes, as well as water gear)
  • Yoga lessons on the beach provided by a nearby studio
  • Restaurants and cafes available

The views of the Chicago skyline from the beach

Ohio Street Beach
  • Lifeguards
  • Restrooms
  • Locker rooms
  • Designated grilling areas
  • Food stalls

The views of the tall city buildings of Chicago from the beach

Oak Street Beach
  • Lifeguards
  • Restrooms
  • Wi-Fi
  • Beach volleyball courts
  • Rentals: Beach chairs, umbrellas, bikes
  • Designated grilling areas
  • Food stalls

The potted palm trees throughout the beach give it a unique tropical flair!

Rainbow Beach
  • Lifeguards
  • Restrooms
  • Wi-Fi
  • Multipurpose club rooms available for rent
  • Fitness center
  • Community garden
  • Handball courts
  • Playgrounds

The views of the Chicago skyline from the beach

Rend Lake
  • Restrooms
  • Showers
  • Changing areas
  • Picnic areas
  • Playground
  • Boat launch
  • Restaurants and cafes
  • Shopping
  • Nearby businesses such as auto repair facilities and pharmacies help you avoid emergencies

The options you have with two different beaches at the lake

Rogers Beach
  • Lifeguards
  • First-aid
  • Designated grilling areas
  • Tennis courts in the nearby park

The nearby tennis courts

Rosewood Beach
  • Lifeguards
  • Restrooms
  • Interpretive center
  • Nature cove
  • Picnic tables
  • Nearby restaurants and cafes

The Interpretive Center

South Shore Beach
  • Lifeguards
  • Restrooms
  • Wi-Fi
  • Showers
  • Restaurants

The nearby theater, galleries, golf course, and restaurants make this is an all-in-one destination

Sunrise Beach
  • Lifeguards
  • Restrooms
  • Charcoal grills
  • Playground equipment
  • Two shelters with fireplaces
  • Complimentary beach chairs

The two swimming beaches offer variety

Waukegan Municipal Beach
  • Designated grilling areas
  • Mobile food vendors during the summer weekends

It’s home to one of the only natural sand dunes at any Chicago beach

12th street beach (photo credits: Melody Joy Kramer)

12th Street Beach

  • Address: 1200 S. Linn White Dr., Chicago IL 60605
  • Entrance fee: None; parking fees may apply
  • Swimming allowed: Yes, only when lifeguards are present
  • Dogs allowed: No
  • Distance from Chicago: Located within Chicago, part of downtown
  • Highlights: There are sand dunes to explore and the currents are generally mild which makes it safe to swim here.

Description of the beach

12th Street Beach offers a getaway just minutes from the heart of downtown Chicago.

While parking does have a fee, it’s easy to walk to this beach or take public transit.

The beach consists of a sandy beachfront that borders a crescent-shaped cove which makes the waters here safe for swimming.

Beach hours

The beach is open daily from 6:00 AM to 11:00 PM, swimming is only permitted when lifeguards are on duty between 11:00 AM and 7:00 PM.

The Chicago Park District monitors 12th Street Beach from sometime May to September.

Facilities

  • Lifeguards
  • Restrooms
  • Designated grilling areas

Activities

When you visit the southern part of 12th Street Beach, you’ll be able to find areas where kayaking, canoeing, and other non-motorized paddle sports are allowed.

Parking

There is paid parking available in a lot as well as some street parking although the latter is quite limited. If you are able to park in the lot, the walk to the actual beach is quite short.

What people are saying about this beach

We love 12th Street Beach – even when some of the waves are choppy, there are areas where my children can safely swim.

This is not a party beach – it’s great for families!

Conclusion

Chicago’s 12th Street Beach is ideal for families and casual beachgoers who want to relax and enjoy the water without going too far.

31st street beach (photo credits: Yooperann)

31st Street Beach

  • Address: 3100 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60616
  • Entrance fee: None; parking fees may apply
  • Swimming allowed: Yes, only when lifeguards are present
  • Dogs allowed: No
  • Distance from Chicago: Located in Chicago, three miles south of downtown
  • Highlights: The views of the Chicago skyline from the beach

Description of the beach

The 31st Street Beach, officially known as the Margaret T. Burroughs Beach, is an amazing spot just a few minutes south of downtown Chicago by car. You can enjoy the views of the Chicago skyline from the beach and the nearby park and public areas and the lack of crowds can also make it a desirable spot.

Beach hours

31st Street Beach is open between 6:00 AM and 11:00 PM daily, but swimming is only permitted when lifeguards are on duty between 11:00 AM and 7:00 PM.

The Chicago Park District monitors this beach from sometime May to September.

Facilities

  • Lifeguards
  • Restrooms
  • Watersport rentals
  • Wi-Fi
  • Children’s playground
  • Designated grilling areas
  • Food stalls

Activities

The activities available here vary, but you may find some special events if you visit on a weekend. For example, you might encounter a DJ or even a spin class! Beyond that, many typical beach activities are available apart from motorized watercraft.

Parking

There are plenty of parking options here – garage parking, street parking, and private parking lots.

What people are saying about this beach

They have a splash park and a nearby playground that was great for my kids!

I came across this beach by accident but was so happy to find it! Can’t think of any negatives to it. Loved the views of the Chicago skyline and the restaurant and the bar is right on the beach!

Conclusion

This is a great beach that is often less crowded than its neighborhoods but is still near many of the same amenities. The parking is easy to access and there is a spot to buy food that is open seasonally.

41st Street Beach/ Oakwood Beach

  • Address: 4100 South Lake Shore Drive Chicago, IL 60653
  • Entrance fee: None; parking fees may apply
  • Swimming allowed: Yes, only when lifeguards are on duty
  • Dogs allowed: No
  • Distance from Chicago: Located in Chicago; five miles south of downtown
  • Highlights: The beach is not far from the downtown area and there are plenty of resources that are available as part of the beach or within a few minutes walking distance. You can also enjoy views of Chicago’s skyline.

Description of the beach

Oakwood Beach is Chicago’s newest – it opened in 2010 and is a great place for those who want to experience the beach without needing to purchase much equipment or bring much with them. There are bathrooms and beachgoers can even try food from the Lunch Box which has a selection of food and beverages for purchase.

Beach hours

Oakwood Beach is open between 6:00 AM and 11:00 PM daily, but swimming is only permitted when lifeguards are on duty between 11:00 AM and 7:00 PM.

The Chicago Park District monitors this beach from sometime May to September.

Facilities

  • Lifeguards
  • Designated grilling areas
  • Restrooms with outdoor showers
  • Changing areas
  • Food stalls

Activities

There are no canoes/kayaks/paddleboards allowed but there are still plenty of things to do when you visit Oakwood Beach. It’s great for laying out and enjoying the weather and swimming when a lifeguard is on duty. Beach sports like volleyball are also available to play.

Parking

There are parking lots available along the beach and across the street for a fee,

What people are saying about this beach

This beach has everything – I have no complaints!

It’s a bit challenging to get to via bus but you can park nearby on the street or parking lot and walk for a minute or two to actually get to the beach.

Conclusion

41st Street Beach/ Oakwood Beach is a great place for families and is a classic Chicago beach as you can even see the city’s famous skyline from the sandy shores.

57th street beach

57th Street Beach

  • Address: 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60611
  • Entrance fee: None; parking fees may apply
  • Swimming allowed: Yes, only when lifeguards are on duty
  • Dogs allowed: No
  • Distance from Chicago: Located within Chicago, roughly seven miles from downtown
  • Highlights: You can enjoy great views of the Chicago skyline from the beach

Description of the beach

The 57th Street Beach is a clean and safe beach destination that is ideal for families.

During the offseason it can also be a great option – although some of the facilities may not be available or open during the colder days, you’ll get to enjoy the mild weather while getting the beach to yourself.

Read Also:

Beach hours

57th Street Beach is open between 6:00 AM and 11:00 PM daily, but swimming is only permitted when lifeguards are on duty between 11:00 AM and 7:00 PM.

The Chicago Park District monitors the beach from sometime May to September.

Facilities

  • Lifeguards
  • Restrooms
  • Wi-Fi
  • Children’s playground
  • Food stalls

Activities

Surfboards and boogie boards are allowed to be used in certain areas of the beach.

You can also explore nearby Jackson park which is home to a beautiful Japanese garden. It also features tennis and basketball courts as well as a gymnasium.

Parking

There is no designated parking for this beach but there is street parking available along Lake Shore Drive. It’s best to arrive early if you don’t want to waste time searching for a parking spot.

What people are saying about this beach

What’s not to like? There’s a clean beach, clean water, bright sun, crowds were a minimum and they have bathrooms, showers, and a place to buy food.

Conclusion

57th Street Beach is a clean and safe beach that has showers and bathrooms open throughout most of the year.

63rd Street Beach

  • Address: 6300 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60637
  • Entrance fee: None; parking fees may apply
  • Swimming allowed: Yes, when lifeguard is on duty
  • Dogs allowed: No
  • Distance from Chicago: Located in Chicago; eight miles south of downtown
  • Highlights: A stay in the historic 63rd Street Beach House is worth it!

Description of the beach

The beautiful 63rd Street Beach is a family-friendly destination in Chicago.

The beach is generally quite calm and the waters are safe for swimming.

There are also several restaurants nearby where you can grab a quick bite to eat when you need a quick break from enjoying the beach.

Beach hours

63rd Street Beach is open between 6:00 AM and 11:00 PM daily, but swimming is only permitted when lifeguards are on duty between 11:00 AM and 7:00 PM.

The Chicago Park District monitors the beach from sometime May to September.

Facilities

  • Lifeguards
  • Restrooms
  • Changing areas
  • Wi-Fi
  • Outdoor shower for rinsing off
  • Food stalls
  • Rental bikes
  • Children’s playground

Activities

In addition to standard beach activities like swimming and playing in the sand, you can rent bikes from Bike Chicago at this beach and explore the area that way.

63rd Street Beach House

The 63rd Street Beach House is an eye-catcher at this beach.

The elegant building was constructed in 1919 when the beach also got its sandy shorefront.

Its classical open-air design, along with the commanding views on the beach, make it a popular location for weddings.

The beach house will undoubtedly add a charming element to your beach day.

Parking

The 63rd Street Beach has metered parking spots available as well as free street parking available.

What people are saying about this beach

Very impressed by the lifeguards here – they were professional and alert throughout our entire visit.

Such a fun beach – no frills but you don’t need any.

Conclusion

The 63rd Street Beach is great for families and the nearby cafes, restaurants, and shops make it a convenient place to visit.

Belmont Harbor Dog Beach

  • Address: Belmont & Lake Shore Drive Chicago, IL 60614
  • Entrance fee: None; parking fees may apply
  • Swimming allowed: Yes, specifically dogs are allowed to swim here!
  • Dogs allowed: Yes
  • Distance from Chicago: Located in Chicago, about five miles north of downtown
  • Highlights: In addition to the beautiful beach, this is an area specifically designated as dog-friendly!

Description of the beach

The Belmont Harbor Dog Beach is essentially a dog park that consists of a small sandy area and a lot of swimming space.

There is plenty of space for your furry friend to explore and enjoy the beach their way.

Your dog can swim in the waters of this beach, but make sure you keep a close eye on them as boats can occasionally get quite close to the shores and swimming areas here.

Beach hours

There are no specific hours listed for the Belmont Harbor Dog Beach.

Facilities

  • None

Activities

There are no activities for humans available at this beach, but it’s a great spot for your dog!

Parking

The Waveland parking lot is the closest publicly available parking lot near Belmont Harbor.

What people are saying about this beach

The beach would be too small for humans but for dogs, it’s completely perfect! My dog loves swimming around and playing with some of the other dogs.

Conclusion

While not a beach you should go to if you want to explore the water and stretch out on the sand, it’s an amazing place to go with your furry friend.

Calumet Beach (photo credits: Carol Mitchell)

Calumet Beach

  • Address: 9801 S. Avenue G, Chicago,IL 60617
  • Entrance fee: None; parking fees may apply
  • Swimming allowed: Yes, when lifeguard is on duty
  • Dogs allowed: No
  • Distance from Chicago: Located in Chicago; 14 miles south of downtown
  • Highlights: A unique backdrop of a power plant with red and white striped chimneys

Description of the beach

If you’re looking for an easy beach spot within Chicago, consider Calumet Beach.

Calumet Beach is located on Chicago’s south side of Lake Michigan and is part of Calumet Park.

It’s a terrific spot to cool down on hot summer days, and it’s conveniently located near a number of shops and restaurants.

Beach hours

Calumet Beach is open between 6:00 AM and 11:00 PM daily, but swimming is only permitted when lifeguards are on duty between 11:00 AM and 7:00 PM.

The Chicago Park District monitors the beach from sometime May to September.

Facilities

  • Lifeguards
  • Restrooms
  • Designated grilling areas

Activities

When you visit Calumet Beach, you’ll be able to find areas where kayaking, canoeing, and other non-motorized paddle sports are allowed.

Additionally, you can enjoy the beach and cook up a meal at one of the designated grilling spots.

Parking

There are a few paid parking lots within a few minutes walking distance from Calumet Beach.

What people are saying about this beach

Amazing views. The beach is very calm and relaxing. It’s a great place to sit and watch the waves!

Conclusion

Calumet Beach is a relaxing spot where you can enjoy the calmer side of beach life.

There are places where you can enjoy the more active side but if you’re looking for a serene moment, Calumet Beach is your best bet.

Clinton Lake State Recreation Area

Clinton Lake State Recreation Area

  • Address: 7251 Ranger Road, DeWitt IL 61735
  • Entrance fee: There is no admission fee for the state park, but you will have to pay for beach access and camping (at the time of writing there is a $2 beach fee)
  • Swimming allowed: Yes
  • Dogs allowed: No
  • Distance from Chicago: 148 miles/2.5 hours from downtown Chicago
  • Highlights: The beach is located within a larger recreation area which makes it a great escape from busy city life

Description of the beach

Clinton Lake State Recreation Area is a larger outdoor space that includes a 1,000-foot white sandy beach.

You can easily spend a few days enjoying the area without getting bored because there’s so much to see. Spend your time relaxing on the beach, swimming, or even waterskiing.

The Boondocks Grill and Bait restaurant is nearby and is a great place to grab a snack or a full meal in between water activities.

Beach hours

The beach is open from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM.

The beach may close down if the weather conditions make the beach unsafe.

Facilities

  • Restrooms
  • Changing facility
  • Showers
  • Boondocks Grill and Bait restaurant open seasonally

Activities

In addition to hiking and exploring the entire park, you can spend your time at Clinton Lake State Recreation Area boating, fishing, swimming, or water skiing!

Lodging

Clinton Lake State Recreation Area is a great spot for camping – there are nearly 300 individual campsites that are suitable for tents, motorhomes, and RVs. There is also a group camping area that includes a large shelter, electrical hookups, restrooms, and more.

Parking

There are free parking lots available throughout the park.

What people are saying about this beach

It’s such a great spot to get away but it’s not too far! I loved the restaurant and the beach was really peaceful.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a chance to truly get away from the city and enjoy nature, the beach at Clinton Lake State Recreation Area is a perfect spot for you.

Evanston beach

Evanston Swimming Beaches

  • Address: 1251 Lake Shore Blvd, Evanston, IL 60202
  • Entrance fee: Yes; $8 for a daily beach token or $28 – $18 for a seasonal pass depending on how late in the summer you buy it
  • Swimming allowed: Yes, as long as weather conditions allow
  • Dogs allowed: No
  • Distance from Chicago: 14 miles/30 minutes north of downtown Chicago
  • Highlights: There are six swimming beaches so you have plenty of options within a short distance of each other

Description of the beach

The Chicago suburb of Evanston is located along the shores of Lake Michigan and certainly takes advantage of its geography by offering six swimming beaches.

These beaches are all generally calm and more notable for swimming, relaxing, and some low-key games.

Beach hours

The beach is open between 6:00 AM and 11:00 PM.

Swimming is allowed from late May until Labor Day.

Even when swimming is prohibited due to weather conditions, the sandy part of the beach will remain open during these hours.

Facilities

  • Lifeguards
  • Restrooms
  • Picnic tables
  • Sailboat and kayak rentals at Dempster St and Clark St beaches

Activities

The Evanston Swimming Beaches are open for swimming but there are also a few other activities permitted here.

You can play ball games on the beach and snorkeling and scuba diving is permitted in certain areas.

The lighthouse houses a museum and can be visited for a fee.

Parking

There is a parking lot near Lighthouse Beach, Clark St beach, and Greenwood St beach.

What people are saying about this beach

It is a very nice beach with a shallow swim area which made it perfect for me and my kids! Clearwater and clean sand. No complaints.

Conclusion

The Evanston Swimming Beaches offer a variety in water depth so there are places where it’s safe for kids, suitable for swimming, and great for diving and snorkeling!

Forest Park Beach

  • Address: 801 N Lake Rd Lake Forest, IL 60045
  • Entrance fee: Yes; $25 per person
  • Swimming allowed: Yes
  • Dogs allowed: No
  • Distance from Chicago: 33.6 miles/44 minutes north of downtown Chicago
  • Highlights: Feel free to stop by the concession stand for a glass of wine or beer on a visit

Description of the beach

The 29 acre Forest Park facility lies just north of Chicago off of I94. It’s a great place to get outside and enjoy the water.

Keep in mind there is no onsite parking for nonresidents so be ready to make the 15-20 minute walk from the nearby public parking.

Beach hours

Forest Park Beach is open between 6:00 AM and 11:00 PM daily. Lifeguards are on duty between Memorial Day and Labor Day during the hours of 9:30 AM and 7:00 PM.

Facilities

  • Lifeguards
  • Concessions stand
  • Boating center
  • Paddle boards and kayaks available for rent
  • Pavilions for rent

Activities

A pier for fishing and a boat ramp allows you to enjoy the water in many different ways at this beach. As a change of pace, enjoy some walking trails on the 29-acre property.

Pavilions are available for rental in case you have a party or family gathering.

Most require reservations, but the North Pavilion is first come first serve.

Parking

There are designated parking lots for residents.

Cars need to have a City of Lake Forest vehicle sticker.

Non-residents must park in the public lots in the business district or at the train station from where it is a 3/4 mile hike to the beach.

Non-residents who use the beach often could consider buying a non-resident parking sticker that allows them to park their car at the on-site parkings.

What people are saying about this beach

The day passes and no parking for non-residents isn’t ideal but once you actually get to the beach, it’s great. Beautiful views and beautiful water.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a well-maintained beach with a high level of amenities, it will be hard to surpass Forest Park Beach.

Foster beach (photo credits: Alanschottwalker)

Foster Beach

  • Address: 5200 N. Lake Shore Dr. Chicago, IL 60611
  • Entrance fee: None, parking fees may apply
  • Swimming allowed: Yes
  • Dogs allowed: Yes, only at designated dog beach
  • Distance from Chicago: Located in Chicago; 8.1 miles/15 minutes north of downtown
  • Highlights: Just a few miles east of O’Hare airport, this beach has a beautiful backdrop of the city skyline and planes on approach

Description of the beach

Foster Beach is a great spot for families – enjoy the public grilling areas and swim safely thanks to the lifeguards on duty during certain hours.

There’s a beach house where you can grab some concessions and bathrooms are also available for use.

Beach hours

Foster Beach is open between 6:00 AM and 11:00 PM daily, but swimming is only permitted when lifeguards are on duty between 11:00 AM and 7:00 PM.

The Chicago Park District monitors the beach from sometime May to September.

Facilities

  • Lifeguards
  • Restrooms
  • Wi-Fi
  • Food stalls
  • Bike rentals

Activities

Foster Beach is a great place for swimming and beach activities like volleyball. You can rent bikes here and explore the surrounding area on safe bike trails.

Parking

There is a paid parking lot available just south of the beach.

What people are saying about this beach

It’s one of the few beaches in Chicago’s Sheridan neighborhood. Beach volleyball is popular here throughout the summer. Dogs are allowed in certain areas.

Conclusion

Foster Beach is an ideal spot for anyone who is looking for a place for beach recreation in the summer months.

There are also areas where dogs are allowed to play and swim so you can bring your furry friends with you when you visit.

Glencoe beach

Glencoe Beach

  • Address: 55 Hazel Avenue, Glencoe IL 60022
  • Entrance fee: Free during off season, daily admission ticket is $20 for non-residents, can only be purchased on the day itself and is not valid on weekends and holidays
  • Swimming allowed: Yes
  • Dogs allowed: Yes, from September 16th to May 14th
  • Distance from Chicago: 24.7 miles/30 minutes north of downtown Chicago
  • Highlights: The beach volleyball court and “sprayground” for children to play in are unique features of Glencoe Beach

Description of the beach

Glencoe Beach is great for solo beach adventures, but it’s ideal for families and group outings.

You and your friends or family can reserve a sun shelter to celebrate a special occasion or enjoy a beach picnic together.

Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, you can swim safely under the watchful eye of a lifeguard which makes it great for families with small children.

If you visit during the other part of the year you may not find a lifeguard, but you will be able to access the beach for free.

Beach hours

Glencoe Beach is open from sunrise to sunset.

Facilities

  • Lifeguards on duty during the summer (memorial day to labor day)
  • Playground, including interactive water toys
  • Beach house with bathrooms and vending machines open during summer
  • Volleyball court (complimentary volleyball rentals are available in summer)
  • Sailboats, catamarans, kayaks, and paddleboards for rent

Activities

In addition to swimming and access to a beach volleyball court, Glencoe Beach provides a “sprayground” for children to play in during the warmer months.

Parking

There is a free parking lot at the beach.

What people are saying about this beach

There are great views and it’s free to visit during the off-season!

The beach has a lot of pebbles – not great for relaxing in the sand if that’s what you’re looking for.

Conclusion

Glencoe Beach is great for families during the summer when there are lifeguards on duty and during the rest of the year, there may not be a lifeguard but you will be able to access the beach for free.

A Beacon at Kathy Osterman Beach (photo credits: Sabbut)

Kathy Osterman Beach (Hollywood beach)

  • Address: 5800 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60660
  • Entrance fee: None
  • Swimming allowed: Yes; when lifeguards are on duty
  • Dogs allowed: No
  • Distance from Chicago: Located in Chicago, 8.6 miles/14 minutes north of downtown
  • Highlights: The birds that flock to the area make for an interesting alternative to people watching while at the beach!

Description of the beach

Kathy Osterman Beach is located near Chicago’s Lincoln Park. It’s become a popular destination for beachgoers over the past few years and is especially popular with the local LGBTQ+ community.

There are spots to swim and there is a nearby natural area that attracts birds throughout the year

Beach hours

Kathy Osterman Beach is open between 6:00 AM and 11:00 PM daily, but swimming is only permitted when lifeguards are on duty between 11:00 AM and 7:00 PM.

The Chicago Park District monitors the beach from sometime May to September.

Facilities

  • Lifeguards
  • Restrooms
  • WiFi
  • Paddleboard, canoe, and kayak rentals
  • Food stalls

Activities

When you visit Kathy Osterman Beach, you can spend your time swimming, kayaking, playing beach volleyball, cycling, and more. If you visit the beach in spring or fall you can go bird spotting in the nearby natural area.

Parking

There is limited street parking available.

What people are saying about this beach

It’s a great beach with great views. It’s pretty cool in the winter when the water is frozen and there’s snow all over the beach.

Conclusion

Kathy Osterman Beach is a beach for everyone – families, adults, individuals, etc. There are plenty of activities to try out and you can try them all while enjoying the views.

Illinois Beach State Park
Illinois Beach State Park

Illinois Beach State Park

  • Address: LakeFront – Park Office Zion IL 60099
  • Entrance fee: $1.00
  • Swimming allowed: Yes
  • Dogs allowed: No
  • Distance from Chicago: 46.4 miles/57 minutes north of downtown Chicago
  • Highlights: The park area is large and allows you to enjoy the natural beauty of Illinois

Description of the beach

Illinois Beach State Park is a beautiful beach spot that stretches over 6.5 miles along the sandy shores of Lake Michigan in northern Illinois.

It provides a diverse variety of recreational options in one of America’s most distinctive and stunning natural environments.

There are impressive sand dunes as well as wooded areas and marshes that are inhabited by a variety of animals and plants.

Beach hours

Both the north unit and the south unit of the park have a swimming beach.

The beaches do not have specific hours for use although it is recommended to use them only during daylight hours for safety reasons.

There are no lifeguards on duty here.

Facilities

  • Restrooms
  • Showers
  • Drinking water
  • Picnic areas
  • Camp Store (seasonal)
  • Nearby lodge with facilities available for overnight guests

Activities

There are plenty of things to do here, but the main activities are swimming, fishing, hiking, and camping.

If you feel like stretching your legs you can explore the hiking trails.

Lodging

There’s a campground at the southern unit of the park which is open from April to December.

Parking

There is a free parking lot at just a few paces from both swimming beaches.

What people are saying about this beach

Really lovely beach – I’ve been coming here for years and I love it. The views are beautiful and it’s a great place to camp for those of us in Chicago as it’s less than an hour away.

This is a great beach with lots of outdoor stuff to do nearby. I love watching the sunrise and the sunset from here!

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a place to get away from it all and really immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Illinois, this beach is for you.

You can swim here and enjoy the beach, and you can also explore the larger park area and even camp here.

Old aerial photo of Lake Shelbyville

Lake Shelbyville

  • Address: 1989 State Highway 16 Shelbyville, IL 62565
  • Entrance fee: $2 per person/$5 per car (except Wolf Creek beach: $1 per person)
  • Swimming allowed: Yes
  • Dogs allowed: No
  • Distance from Chicago: 202 miles/3 hours south of downtown Chicago
  • Highlights: The abundance of outdoor activities at this recreational area

Description of the beach

Lake Shelbyville is actually home to four different swimming beaches that can be enjoyed by day visitors or those staying in one of the campgrounds nearby.

The recreational area includes pavilions and launch ramps for boats.

Beach hours

Beach access begins at 8:00 AM and ends at sunset daily except Wolf Creek beach which is open from 10:30 AM to 7 PM.

All the beaches are open from one week before Memorial day to one week after Labor Day.

Facilities

  • Lifeguards
  • Concession stand
  • Campsites
  • Visitor center
  • Aquatic center
  • Picnic areas
  • Fish cleaning stations

Activities

Apart from swimming and enjoying the campsites, Lake Shelbyville beach is a great spot for fishing. There are even fish cleaning stations available.

There’s also a golf course, a bike trail, and an extensive trail network.

Parking

There is parking available near the beach.

What people are saying about this beach

This beach is fantastic!! By the park grills, there is a pavilion and many picnic tables. They offer facilities and showers. The water is always refreshing. It is fairly crowded on weekends, but it is very beautiful during the week.

Conclusion

Lake Shelbyville is ideal for not only daytime beach visitors but for those wishing to experience a camping trip in a serene environment as well.

Although peaceful in certain areas, there are other spots that are well-suited for family fun.

Leone Beach

  • Address: 1222 W. Touhy Ave Chicago, IL 60626
  • Entrance fee: None
  • Swimming allowed: Yes, while lifeguards are on duty
  • Dogs allowed: No
  • Distance from Chicago: 10.9 miles/23 minutes north of downtown Chicago
  • Highlights: The historic aspect of Leone Beach makes it a can’t-miss spot for Chicago beach fans

Description of the beach

The historic Leone Beach park dates back to 1919 and has been providing a place for Chicago’s residents to get outdoors and enjoy a spot to swim ever since.

This long stretch of warm sand is bordered by water that is safe to swim in, and there are lifeguards who supervise the swimming area.

Beach hours

Leone Beach is open between 6:00 AM and 11:00 PM daily, but swimming is only permitted when lifeguards are on duty between 11:00 AM and 7:00 PM.

The Chicago Park District monitors the beach from sometime May to September.

Facilities

  • Lifeguards
  • Restrooms
  • Designated grilling areas
  • Kayak rentals
  • Playground
  • Food stalls

Activities

You’ll be able to try your hand at kayaking, canoeing, and other non-motorized paddle sports that are permitted at Leone Beach. You can also relax on the beach and make a meal at one of the approved grilling areas.

In nearby Loyola park, you have a wide selection of sporting grounds.

Parking

There is paid parking available nearby.

What people are saying about this beach

My absolute favorite little beach on the planet! I’ve been visiting this beach since 2012, and it is really stunning; other beaches pale in comparison because this one is rarely crowded. If you’re ever in the neighborhood, stop by right as the sun sets for a calm and pleasant experience.

During the winter, you can stroll down to Loyola Park (a section of the beach) and witness how cool the ice looks!

Conclusion

Leone Beach is a beautiful place to enjoy the shoreline without too many crowds.

Millard Beach

  • Address: 35 Ravine Dr, Highland Park, IL 60035
  • Entrance fee: $10 for non residents; free for residents
  • Swimming allowed: No
  • Dogs allowed: No
  • Distance from Chicago: 27.8 miles/33 minutes north of downtown Chicago
  • Highlights: The nearby rock garden combined with the beach makes for a peaceful getaway

Description of the beach

The beautiful Millard Beach is located within the Highland Park District neighborhood and is a quiet spot where you can enjoy the beach.

As the park does not allow swimming, it’s a lot more subdued than other similar beaches and there are fewer crowds here.

There is also a serene rock garden which can be enjoyed as well.

Beach hours

Beach hours are not specified online, but the park is open between 6:00 AM and 11:00 PM.

Facilities

  • None

Activities

Apart from enjoying the beach and walking the nearby area, there are not too many activities available at Millard Beach.

You can venture over to the rock garden – it was donated in 2014 and you can see examples of various rocks and read signs that explain their geological properties and names.

Parking

There are several parking lots around the beach but most are reserved for residents. Non-residents need to use the Rosewood Upper Lot. Parking is $15/hour or $40 for 4 hours.

What people are saying about this beach

There are informative signs about the park, the local environment, and the ecosystem that can be seen throughout the area. There are several walks with benches where you can sit and enjoy the ambiance.

Conclusion

Millard Beach is a peaceful option when it comes to Illinois beaches and parks. You can enjoy the environment while also learning about it and the surrounding area.

Moraine Beach

  • Address: 2501 Sheridan Rd, Highland Park, IL 60035
  • Entrance fee: $10 for non residents; free for residents
  • Swimming allowed: No
  • Dogs allowed: Yes; from April to November. The beach is currently closed due to ongoing construction on the ramp.
  • Distance from Chicago: 27.7 miles/33 minutes north of downtown Chicago
  • Highlights: The beach park is calm and ideal for dogs to explore

Description of the beach

Moraine Beach is specified as a dog park or beach which means that you won’t find typical beach activities available here.

There are areas for picnicking and relaxing but the best features of the park are the winding trails and the beach – both are perfect for dogs.

Beach hours

Beach hours are not specified online, but the park is open between 6:00 AM and 11:00 PM.

Facilities

  • Sculpture garden
  • Restrooms
  • Picnic tables

Activities

There is not a huge variety of activities one can do at this park but it is perfect for the main activities that are allowed: hiking, picnicking, and relaxing on the beach.

Parking

There are several parking lots around the beach but most are reserved for residents. Non-residents need to use the Rosewood Upper Lot.

Parking is $15/hour or $40 for 4 hours.

What people are saying about this beach

Very nice little beach to swim in and play with a dog. It’s really hard to park though! If you don’t have a resident permit you can’t use the lot so you might need to spend some time finding street parking. But once you get there, the park is amazing. My dog loves it!

Conclusion

Moraine Beach is an incredible spot for dogs – although you don’t need to have a dog to come here, it’s best suited for those who are looking for a place to get out with their pets.

North Avenue Beach

North Avenue Beach

  • Address: 1601 N. Jean-Baptiste Pointe DuSable Lake Shore Drive Chicago, IL 60611
  • Entrance fee: None
  • Swimming allowed: Yes, when lifeguards are on duty
  • Dogs allowed: No
  • Distance from Chicago: 5.2 miles/15 minutes north of downtown Chicago
  • Highlights: The views of the Chicago skyline from the beach and from the terrace of the beach house

Description of the beach

As one of Chicago’s most popular beaches, North Avenue Beach is often busy with beachgoers laying out in the sand, playing volleyball, or kayaking or swimming through the water.

It’s one of the largest beaches in Chicago which accommodates the crowds well, making it feel less chaotic than it might if it was a smaller spot.

There are many facilities in the beach house which is modeled after an ocean liner. This undoubtedly contributes to the success of the beach. You do not need to provide anything yourself if you want to enjoy a day at the beach here.

Beach hours

North Avenue Beach is open between 6:00 AM and 11:00 PM daily. Lifeguards are on duty between Memorial Day and Labor Day during the hours of 9:30 AM and 7:00 PM.

The Chicago Park District monitors the beach from sometime May to September.

Facilities

  • Lifeguards
  • Restrooms
  • Changing areas
  • ATM
  • Wi-Fi
  • Designated grilling areas
  • Equipment rental from independent retailers located nearby (both for land use, such as bikes, as well as water gear)
  • Yoga lessons on the beach provided by a nearby studio
  • Restaurants and cafes available

Activities

Some of the most common activities that can be done at North Avenue Beach are swimming, kayaking, jet-skiing, playing volleyball, and relaxing on the beach.

Parking

Yes, there is a metered parking lot available at this beach.

What people are saying about this beach

Beautiful beach, clean, not too busy during the week, with plenty of lifeguards, warm water, and gorgeous sand and waves.

Conclusion

North Avenue Beach is the best spot for locals and visitors alike. Its large area means that visitors have plenty of room to spread out and enjoy the beautiful sandy beach.

Ohio Street Beach

Ohio Street Beach

  • Address: 600 North Lake Shore Drive Chicago, IL 60611
  • Entrance fee: None
  • Swimming allowed: Yes; when lifeguards are on duty
  • Dogs allowed: No
  • Distance from Chicago: Located within Chicago, 1.8 miles/6 minutes away from downtown
  • Highlights: The views of the tall city buildings of Chicago from the beach

Description of the beach

Unlike most beaches in Chicago, Ohio Street Beach faces north. Its unique layout and geography make it a great spot for swimming for all ages, especially because there are many spots where it remains quite shallow.

Beach hours

Ohio Street Beach is open between 6:00 AM and 11:00 PM daily, but swimming is only permitted when lifeguards are on duty between 11:00 AM and 7:00 PM.

The Chicago Park District monitors the beach from sometime May to September.

Facilities

  • Lifeguards
  • Restrooms
  • Locker rooms
  • Designated grilling areas
  • Food stalls

Activities

Although you can participate in many beach activities when you visit Ohio Street Beach, it’s particularly well-suited for training for open water swimming.

This is because its unusual layout allows you to swim out over a half-mile without getting too far away from a seawall and the water remains fairly shallow.

Parking

There is limited street parking available.

What people are saying about this beach

This is a wonderful beach! To be honest, I was astonished at how pleasant and quiet this beach is considering how close it is to Navy Pier. The waves aren’t too bad because it faces north, so it’s a fantastic beach for youngsters.

Conclusion

Ohio Street Park is ideal for swimmers but any kind of beachgoer can enjoy a day spent here.

Oak street beach

Oak Street Beach

  • Address: 1000 North Lake Shore Drive Chicago, IL 60611
  • Entrance fee: None
  • Swimming allowed: Yes; when lifeguards are on duty
  • Dogs allowed: No
  • Distance from Chicago: Located within Chicago, 2.6 miles/7 minutes away from downtown
  • Highlights: The potted palm trees throughout the beach give it a unique tropical flair!

Description of the beach

Oak Street Beach has long been popular with residents of Chicago and tourists alike. It was considered a summer social spot and it remains so to this day.

The picturesque beach is defined by warm sand and vivid blue water.

Beach hours

Oak Street Beach is open between 6:00 AM and 11:00 PM daily, but swimming is only permitted when lifeguards are on duty between 11:00 AM and 7:00 PM.

The Chicago Park District monitors the beach from sometime May to September.

Facilities

  • Lifeguards
  • Restrooms
  • Wi-Fi
  • Beach volleyball courts
  • Rentals: Beach chairs, umbrellas, bikes
  • Designated grilling areas
  • Food stalls

Activities

Apart from your standard beach activities, Oak Street Beach is a prime spot for beach volleyball. The beach often hosts professional and amateur competitions.

Parking

There is limited street parking available nearby.

What people are saying about this beach

I like visiting any time of the day but I think the beach is best during sunset. Small beach with a great view of skyscrapers.

Conclusion

Oak Street Beach is the premiere summer beach destination in Chicago, especially for beach volleyball players and fans.

Rainbow Beach (photo credits: Mary Fairchild)

Rainbow Beach

  • Address: 2873 E. 75th Street, Chicago, IL 60649
  • Entrance fee: None
  • Swimming allowed: Yes; when lifeguards are on duty
  • Dogs allowed: No
  • Distance from Chicago: Located within South Chicago, 10.7 miles/22 minutes away from downtown
  • Highlights: The views of the Chicago skyline from the beach

Description of the beach

Rainbow Beach is a nearly 70-acre park in the South Chicago area that has a field house with a gymnasium, fitness center, and multipurpose rooms. Handball courts are also available, and the historic park is also home to Chicago’s oldest community garden.

Beach hours

Rainbow Beach is open between 6:00 AM and 11:00 PM daily, but swimming is only permitted when lifeguards are on duty between 11:00 AM and 7:00 PM.

The Chicago Park District monitors the beach from sometime May to September.

Facilities

  • Lifeguards
  • Restrooms
  • Wi-Fi
  • Multipurpose club rooms available for rent
  • Fitness center
  • Community garden
  • Handball courts
  • Playgrounds

Activities

Rainbow Beach provides a great venue for distance swimming parallel to the shoreline. Additionally, those who visit can venture into the field house to use the fitness center and gym, play handball at one of the courts, or kayak or paddle.

Parking

There is pay parking available nearby.

What people are saying about this beach

A nice beach on Chicago’s south side. During peak hours, it can get quite crowded. The park crew does an incredible job of keeping everything as clean as possible.

Conclusion

Rainbow Beach is a large beach that provides some awe-inspiring views of the Chicago skyline.

Rend Lake (photo credits: CheepShot)

Rend Lake

  • Address: 11981 Rend City Road Benton IL 62812
  • Entrance fee: $5 per vehicle
  • Swimming allowed: Yes
  • Dogs allowed: Yes; on North Marcum Beach only
  • Distance from Chicago: Located 296 miles/4.5 hours away from downtown Chicago
  • Highlights: The options you have with two different beaches at the lake

Description of the beach

Rend Lake actually offers two different beaches: South Sandusky Beach and North Marcum Beach.

South Sandusky Beach is known for its large sandy area, safe swimming area, and plenty of facilities like showers and restrooms to make your beachgoing experience a breeze.

North Marcum Beach provides many of the same amenities on a different part of the lake.

The main difference is North Marcum Beach allows dogs and has a boat launch.

Beach hours

Rend Lake beaches are open between May and September, during daylight hours only.

Facilities

  • Restrooms
  • Showers
  • Changing areas
  • Picnic areas
  • Playground
  • Boat launch
  • Restaurants and cafes
  • Shopping
  • Nearby businesses such as auto repair facilities and pharmacies help you avoid emergencies

Activities

You can swim and enjoy various water sports when you visit Rend Lake.

In addition to swimming and boating, you can relax on the beach or venture out to other lake activities such as hiking, biking, hunting, fishing, and golf.

Lodging

There are multiple cabins, hotels, campgrounds, and lodges that are available at Rend Lake. You can choose from the long list of accommodations on their website.

Parking

There are parking lots near the beach that you can use once you pay the $5 per car entry fee.

What people are saying about this beach

Really fun place to hang out with the family for a few days! Not only is the beach amazing but you can also enjoy all the other perks of the lake.

Conclusion

Rend Lake is a fun and exciting destination that is about far more than just the beach – but if you are hoping to simply get away and enjoy some beach time, you will not be disappointed.

Rogers Beach

Rogers Beach

  • Address: 7705 N. Eastlake Terrace Chicago, IL 60626
  • Entrance fee: None
  • Swimming allowed: Yes
  • Dogs allowed: Yes
  • Distance from Chicago: Located 11.7 miles/25 minutes north of downtown Chicago
  • Highlights: The nearby tennis courts

Description of the beach

Rogers Beach is just under 2.5 acres of public swimming and beach space.

There are lifeguards on duty on occasion and there are not many opportunities for long-distance swimming which makes this a great spot for anyone who isn’t a strong swimmer.

Beach hours

Normally Rogers Beach is open between 6:00 AM and 11:00 PM daily, but swimming is only permitted when lifeguards are on duty between 11:00 AM and 7:00 PM.

The Chicago Park District monitors the beach from sometime May to September.

In 2021 the beach was closed due to erosion.

Facilities

  • Lifeguards
  • First-aid
  • Designated grilling areas
  • Tennis courts in the nearby park

Activities

In addition to swimming and playing on the beach, visitors can use the nearby tennis courts and venture out on one of the trails by bike or on foot.

The pier that leads up to the iconic lighthouse is loved by fishers that can almost always be found at the strike of dawn.

Parking

There is a pay and display parking area nearby.

What people are saying about this beach

Rogers Beach is where I go to watch the sunrise and take my dog to play with the other dogs in the area. I like how everyone greets one other in the morning, and the dog owner community is friendly and accepting.

It’s beautiful with any kind of weather – truly a versatile option!

Conclusion

Rogers Beach is a dog-friendly destination where visitors can swim, relax, or play tennis at one of the nearby courts.

Rosewood Beach (photo credits: Ronincmc)

Rosewood Beach

  • Address: 883 Sheridan Rd, Highland Park, IL 60035
  • Entrance fee: The cost for a daily pass is $10 while the cost for a seasonal pass is $100 with $25 added on for every additional family member. Residents are able to get in for free.
  • Swimming allowed: Yes; during specified hours when lifeguards are on duty
  • Dogs allowed: No
  • Distance from Chicago: Located 26 miles/29 minutes north of downtown Chicago
  • Highlights: The Interpretive Center

Description of the beach

Rosewood Beach is the third beach in Highland Park. It is open to the public and being the closest beach to the non-resident car park, it is the most popular of the three beaches with visitors.

The beach underwent large-scale restorations and was reopened to the public in 2015.

The revamped beach is award-winning and features a nature cove and an interpretive center. The center can also be rented for private parties.

Beach hours

Rosewood Beach is open seasonally from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day. Swimming is allowed between the hours of 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM. The exact hours are subject to change as weather conditions change.

Facilities

  • Lifeguards
  • Restrooms
  • Interpretive center
  • Nature cove
  • Picnic tables
  • Nearby restaurants and cafes

Activities

When you visit Rosewood Beach, you can explore the Interpretive Center to learn more about the environment that surrounds the beach.

You can also relax on the beach as it’s typically known for being less crowded than other beaches, especially during the off-season.

Parking

To park in one of the Rosewood Beach designated parking spots residents need to purchase a parking decal. These are currently $30 for the 2022 season.

Non-residents need to use the Rosewood Upper Lot. Parking is $15/hour or $40 for 4 hours.

There is also metered parking available.

What people are saying about this beach

A nice beach for families. Very well cared for. Parking up top is recommended because the bottom lot fills up rapidly during the summer months. There is a different price for non-residents so be aware of that as it can get expensive if you park in the designated lots, etc. You can avoid the huge fees but you have to pay close attention.

Conclusion

Rosewood Beach is an award-winning city beach in Highland Park and features like the Interpretive Center can make your trip there educational as well as fun.

South Shore beach (photo credits: Eric Allix Rogers)

South Shore Beach

  • Address: 7059 S. South Shore Dr. Chicago, IL 60649
  • Entrance fee: None
  • Swimming allowed: Yes; when lifeguards are on duty
  • Dogs allowed: No
  • Distance from Chicago: Located within Chicago, 9.9 miles/20 minutes away from downtown
  • Highlights: The nearby theater, galleries, golf course, and restaurants make this is an all-in-one destination

Description of the beach

South Shore Beach is one of Chicago’s historic lakefront spots where people have gathered for over a century.

Originally it was known as the South Shore Country Club and eventually, the entire property was sold after the club closed down.

Today the area is known for far more than just the swimming beach – there is a theater, restaurant, art gallery, and a nine-hole golf course available nearby.

Beach hours

South Shore Beach is open between 6:00 AM and 11:00 PM daily, but swimming is only permitted when lifeguards are on duty between 11:00 AM and 7:00 PM.

The Chicago Park District monitors the beach from sometime May to September.

Facilities

  • Lifeguards
  • Restrooms
  • Wi-Fi
  • Showers
  • Restaurants

Activities

There are many things to do at the beach and in the surrounding area.

For example, there is a theater, art galleries, restaurants, a nine-hole golf course, a nature sanctuary, and a butterfly garden.

The former South Shore Country Club has been transformed into an indoor facility that houses restaurants and a solarium.

Parking

There are paid parking spots available near the beach.

What people are saying about this beach

Beautiful beach (small in comparison to other beaches in the city), yet the water is tranquil and the beach is clean and well-kept.

Conclusion

In addition to the beautiful beach that South Shore Beach offers, there are many other facilities and attractions nearby that give you plenty of options when you visit.

You could easily spend multiple days exploring South Shore Beach without getting bored.

Sunrise Beach (photo credits: Shutter Runner)

Sunrise Beach

  • Address: Lake Bluff, IL 60044
  • Entrance fee: Yes; $10 – $15 for non-residents, dependent on age
  • Swimming allowed: Yes, during specific hours
  • Dogs allowed: Yes, but only in designated dog beach areas
  • Distance from Chicago: Located 35.7 miles/41 minutes north of downtown Chicago
  • Highlights: The two swimming beaches offer variety

Description of the beach

Sunrise Beach is a lovely public beach and park in Lake Bluff, Illinois, with two swimming beaches open to the public during the summer.

The northernmost beach is dog friendly and you can get your dog a swimming tag at the recreation center if you are interested.

You can also check out the other beach where kayaking and paddleboarding are the norms. 

Beach hours

Swimming is only allowed on the beaches when lifeguards are on duty and there are specific hours for residents and non-residents of the Park District.

Residents are allowed to swim starting at 9:00 AM and non-residents are allowed to start at noon.

All swimming must end at 7:00 PM and the beach closes completely at 10:00 PM.

Facilities

  • Lifeguards
  • Restrooms
  • Charcoal grills
  • Playground equipment
  • Two shelters with fireplaces
  • Complimentary beach chairs

Activities

The main activity you can do at Sunrise Beach is swim!

There is also a playground for small children and shelters with fireplaces and nearby charcoal grills if you are gathering at the beach with a group.

Parking

There is free street parking available.

What people are saying about this beach

Stunning. I adore the neighborhood. Clean, pleasant sailboat launch with picnic spot and pool area, ideal for a small family picnic.

In comparison to other parks, this one is a little modest. However, because it is close to the water, it is an excellent summer choice. This is also the spot to go if you’re seeking a peaceful location to relax or meditate.

Conclusion

Sunrise Beach is a prime swimming beach location that has variety – whether you want to swim alone or take your dog for a splash in the water, you’ll be able to do so at Sunrise Beach.

Waukegan Beach (photo credits: Mike Steele)

Waukegan Municipal Beach

  • Address: 201 SeaHorse Drive Waukegan, IL 60085
  • Entrance fee: None; parking fees may apply
  • Swimming allowed: Yes, but no lifeguards are stationed
  • Dogs allowed: No pets allowed
  • Distance from Chicago: 42.6 miles north of downtown Chicago
  • Highlights: It’s home to some of the only remaining natural sand dunes in the area

Description of the beach

Waukegan Municipal Beach is a beautiful place with natural sand dunes and plenty of chances to enjoy the outdoors.

It’s known not only as a great spot for recreation but for photography as well – its beauty makes it a popular choice for engagement photoshoots!

Beach hours

Waukegan Municipal Beach is open between 6:00 AM and 9:00 PM daily during the summer months.

Facilities

  • Designated grilling areas
  • Mobile food vendors during the summer weekends

Activities

You can try a variety of activities here including swimming, kayaking, fishing, boating, and kiteboarding.

Parking

During the summer season, free weekend access to the beach is available for those with current Waukegan stickers on their vehicle.

Those without can still come but may be required to pay a fee to park. You can still access the beach for free if you arrive on foot or by bike.

What people are saying about this beach

This beach was fantastic! There are plenty of areas to stretch out on the beach; we came to about 10:30 AM and it wasn’t too crowded. A few hours later it started to pick up, but not to the point of being packed. The water was fantastic, cool but warmer due to the entrance and jetty obstructions. We had a great time, and we’ll be back!

Conclusion

Waukegan Municipal Beach provides the perfect setting for a day spent enjoying the outdoors and the sandy shores of Lake Michigan.

Conclusion

These amazing beaches in Illinois are ideal for people of all ages.

No matter what your reason is for wanting to spend time at a beach, these 28 Illinois beaches will provide at least one perfect option for you, if not more!

See the web story that accompanies this post.