The Best Chicago Beaches

Here are the best Chicago beaches. Enjoy a nice warm weather by the waterside at one of the gorgeous beaches. Whether it will be soaking up the sun, getting a tan, enjoying the water or everything together, you are sure to have the best relaxing time.

Oak Street Beach

Oak Street Beach

Address: Near North Side, Gold Coast 1000 N. Lake Shore Drive (Oak Street and Lake Shore Drive)

The Oak Street Beach is one of the best small Chicago beaches. This beach is conveniently located by all of the major hotels along the Magnificent Mile and is very accessible by foot from this area. The beach also offers spectacular views of the Chicago downtown skyline.

The Oak Street Beach opens at 11:00 A.M. each day and patrons are encouraged to stake their claim to a blanket spot early. The beach is clean and employs life guards on duty to ensure that everyone from young to old in age will be safe; great beach for couples and families. Limited off-street parking but there are plenty of amenities in nearby shops and restaurants.

Photo by mason.flickr

North Avenue Beach

North Avenue Beach

Address: Lincoln Park 1600 N. Lake Shore Drive (North Avenue and Lake Shore Drive)

The North Avenue Beach is one of the more popular Chicago beaches. This beach can accommodate many different interests of water sport activities. You can bring your own water sport equipment or rent from one of the many vendors that offer kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, wave runners, wakeboarding or even snorkeling.

The North Avenue Beach is open from 11:00 a.m. until 7 p.m. and does offer relief facilities. This beach is large but crowded on the weekends with people out and about soaking up the sun. There are many land activities in the form of volleyball, hiking trails and sunbathing. Parking is limited but if you don’t mind a 10 minute walk you can park at the Lincoln Park Zoo. There are sufficient lifeguards on duty for safety and lots of entertainment along the pier in the form of shops and restaurants.

Photo by mason.flickr

Kathy Osterman Beach a.k.a. Ardmore Beach/Hollywood Beach/Edgewater Beach

Kathy Osterman Beach a.k.a. Ardmore Beach/Hollywood Beach/Edgewater Beach

Address: Edgewater, 5800 N. Lake Shore Drive (Hollywood Avenue and Sheridan Road)

The Kathy Osterman Beach also known as the Edgewater, Hollywood and Ardmore Beach is a large but very intimate feeling Chicago beach. There are many amenities located at this beach including free Wi-Fi, showers, vendors with umbrellas, stand-up paddleboards and other water activities. The water is not very deep along the shoreline so swimming is easier for little ones. Osterman Beach is not usually very crowding and the crowds can vary in age. This tends to be a great people watching beach!

There are also plenty of other attractions like volleyball, distance swimming and a variety of food eateries as well as shops. The beach is open 11:00 A.M. until 7 P.M. with limited restrooms as well as limited off-street parking, so be prepared.

Photo by Kiwithing

Ohio Street Beach

Ohio Street Beach

Address: Near North Side, River East 600 N. Lake Shore Drive (Ohio Street and Lake Shore Drive)

The Ohio Beach is a very small Chicago beach, but has a great feeling with its views of the Chicago skyline in the backdrop. The beach is located near the Navy Pier and the Magnificent Mile for easy access. The Ohio Beach is the perfect place for families, lounging in the sun and taking quick dips in the waters of Lake Michigan.

There are multiple activities at Ohio Beach including distance swimming, volleyball and you are close enough to the Navy Pier to enjoy all of the interesting shops and restaurants in that area. The beach is open 11:00 A.M. until 7:00 P.M. and does get crowded on the weekends. With limited parking maybe start looking at the Navy Pier for your best bet.

Photo by mason.flickr

Montrose Beach

Montrose Beach

Address: Uptown 200 W. Montrose Harbor Drive-alternate address found-4400 N. Lake Shore Drive (Montrose Avenue and Lake Shore Drive)

Montrose Beach is part of a park complex that includes a pier and a nature preserve that make this a great destination as one of the Chicago beaches. In addition, there are plenty of grassy areas for picnics located where the park and beach meet. There is also a dog beach for your furry friend to enjoy.

Activities like distance swimming and volleyball are encouraged but the biggest advantage of Montrose Beach is parking. You can park your vehicle along the parkway for free while enjoying the amenities. The vintage signs will point you in the right direction for plenty of food and drink options. There is also bike rental available. The skyline view will amaze you around sunset. This beach is open 11:00 A.M. until 7 P.M. and you can use the restrooms in the park too.

Photo by Steve Stearns

Foster Avenue Beach

Foster Avenue Beach

Address: Edgewater, Uptown 5200 N. Lake Shore Drive (Foster Avenue and Lake Shore Drive)

Foster Beach is a real family friendly Chicago beach that also connects with a park. There is plenty of space to roll-out your blanket because crowds are usually a non-occurrence. There is a pier to stroll on that takes you out for a better view of Lake Michigan.

Foster Beach has plenty of shared facilities like BBQ areas, tables, walking paths and restrooms. There are minimum concessions in the area but lots of friendly vendors walking with ice cream and such. Distance swimming is permitted and swimming is only allowed when life guards are on duty. Open from 11:00 A.M. until 7:00 P.M. and this beach has easy parking too.

Photo by John W. Iwanski

Margaret T. Burroughs Beach/31st Street Beach

Margaret T. Burroughs Beach/31st Street Beach

Address: Bronzeville, Douglas 3100 S. Lake Shore Drive (31st Street and Lake Shore Drive)

Margaret T. Burroughs Beach, also known as 31st Street Beach is the perfect place for people watching and organized activities. This Chicago beach is located near the harbor and offer many different boat shows and gatherings that even include live music. There is also a skate park nearby to work up a sweat before swimming.

At 31st Beach you will have plenty of space for your umbrella and cooler. There are many restaurants and bars in the area for food and drink but limited concessions on the beach itself. The people and boat watching are must at this beach. There is plenty of paid parking and the beach is open 11:00 A.M. until 7:00 P.M. Limited restrooms and swimming is permitted only when life guards are on duty.

Photo by yooperann

Promontory Point Beach

Promontory Point Beach

Address: Hyde Park 5491 S. Shore Drive

Promontory Point Beach is located within Hyde Park and offers a wide variety of activities that cross-over with park users. At this Chicago beach there is plenty of space to throw down your beach towel and enjoy a pleasant day on the sand or hang-out in the grass or the rocky the shoreline.

One of the best things about Promontory Point Beach is Hyde Park and the beautiful landscaped area. Flower gardens abound with plenty of opportunities to distance swim or cycle or walk along the beach while gazing at the Chicago skyline. There facilities within the park and many people actually get married along the shoreline and at the boathouse. There is also plenty of parking available within the park and on the associated streets.

Photo by josh s jackson

Loyola Beach

Loyola Beach

Address: Rogers Park 1230 W. Greenleaf Avenue (Greenleaf Avenue and Sheridan Road)

Loyola Beach located within Rogers Park is a gem in the rough of the Chicago beaches. This beach offers a great spread of sand, grass and manmade areas for you to enjoy everything associated with Lake Michigan. The associated activities with the park enhance the visitor’s opportunities for a great day of fun.

Loyola Beach has perfect sand for making castles and is very family friendly. There are a few restaurants and bars in the area as well as a small concession stand on the beach. Patron can share the restrooms that are in the park and parking is plentiful. This beach is usually not very crowded and is open 11:00 A.M. to 7 P.M.

Photo by davidmeggers

Wilmette Beach

Wilmette Beach

Address: Gillson Park 800 Gillson Park Drive

Wilmette Beach located at Gillson Park offers the visitor a perfect Lake Michigan experience. A person can rent a kayak, standup paddleboard or even a sailboat at this area to make your adventure memorable. There is plenty of space for picnics in the park but you cannot take food onto this Chicago beach area. The good news though is that there are plenty of concession stands to satisfy thirst and hunger.

There is plenty of parking outside Gillson Park and entrance to the park is free but you will pay an entrance fee to enjoy the beach. This fee assures that there will be life guards on duty for people to swim safely, clean restrooms and a clean environment. Wilmette Beach is open from 9:00 A.M. until 8:00 P.M. is family friendly with many positive features.

Photo by Hernan Seoane

57th Street Beach

57th Street Beach

Address: Hyde Park 57th Street and Lake Shore Drive

The 57th Street Beach located within Hyde Park is one of the most interesting beaches in Chicago. This is also a beach that does not see the large crowds of people which is also quite diversified with families, singles and couples. There is plenty of space for you to lounge on the sand and build castles.

The northern portion of 57th Street Beach attaches to Promontory Point Beach but the central area of this beach offers everything. People can bring their own food or purchase something from ice cream to pizza from one of the vendors. There are life guards on duty so swimming is fun. Another plus is the close proximity to the Museum of Science and Industry as well as the Lakeshore Trail. The beach is open 11:00 A.M. until 7:00 P.M. and there are restrooms but very limited parking.

Photo by vxla

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