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Best Chicago Beaches


I'll always remember bringing a young cousin to the Lake Michigan shore for the first time and them asking, "What... ocean is this?" Take a visit to one of the many Chicago beaches and you'll find out that's not a strange question. With beautiful blue water as far as the eye can see, you may think you've gone from Chicago to southern California. The Chicago beaches listed below are free and open for swimming from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day, 9am - 9:30pm, except where otherwise noted.

Best of Chicago Beaches: People Watching -- Oak Street Beach

Whether it's rollerblading, volleyball, relaxing and soaking in some rays or wanting to check out tiny swimwear, Oak Street Beach is steps away from the Magnificent Mile and a people-watching extravaganza right in the middle of a bustling Chicago.
  • Location: 1000 N. Lake Shore Drive at Oak Street
  • Transportation: CTA Bus #151 Sheridan Northbound

Largest of Chicago's Beaches: Loyola Leone Beach

At 8 blocks long, Loyola Leone Beach is the largest in Chicago. Kid friendly with a play lot and stroller beach mats, this beach is also great for the sports enthusiast with baseball fields, basketball courts and a large bike rack. Hungry? Check out the excellent Heartland Concession stand.
  • Location: 7032 N. Sheridan
  • Transportation: CTA Bus #147 Outer Drive Express Northbound

Dog Friendliest of Chicago's Beaches: Belmont Harbor

Belmont Harbor underwent a major renovation in 2004, and now boasts a bike, walking and running path along with ample parking. Belmont Harbor is also home to Chicago's Yacht Club and the city's unofficial "dog beach" -- a fenced in beach area perfect for those traveling with their canine companion.
  • Location: 3200 N. Lake Shore Drive at Belmont
  • Transportation: CTA Bus #146/151 Northbound

Best of Chicago Beaches for Athletics: North Avenue Beach

Chicago's answer to Venice Beach, North Avenue Beach has a Crunch Fitness mini-gym and a biking and running path. North Avenue Beach plays host to professional volleyball tournaments and the Chicago Air & Water Show. The busiest beach in Chicago, public transportation is advised as parking is limited.
  • Location: 1600 N. Lake Shore Drive at North Avenue
  • Transportation: CTA Bus #151 Sheridan Northbound

Best Chicago Beach View: Evanston Beaches

Directly north of Chicago, Evanston is home to five beautiful beaches that offer great southern views of the Chicago skyline. Most of these beaches enjoy shallow water along with gourmet and ice cream concessions, which make them an excellent destination for families.
  • Location: Between Campus Dr. and Dempster, Evanston
  • Transportation (by car): Sheridan Drive north
  • Admission: 12+ $7, children 1-11 $5
  • Hours: Memorial to Labor Day, 11am - 6pm
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