Helen Doria Beach spans nearly an acre between the Rogers Park and Edgewater Glen neighborhoods in Northern Chicago. The quiet street-end beach offers distance swimming parallel to the shoreline during lifeguarded hours. This hidden gem features a lifeguard first aid station and restrooms. The beach bears the name of a devoted Chicagoan who worked to enrich cultural programs for locals in neighborhoods across the city.
Helen Doria Beach History
Formerly called Columbia Beach Park, this location is among the 18 street-end beaches acquired from the city by the Chicago Park District in 1959. The original name derived from the adjacent Columbia Avenue after New York’s Columbia University. The school was the alma mater of A.W. Wallen, a real estate developer who subdivided parts of Rogers Park.
In 2016, the park was renamed in honor of Helen Doria at the request of numerous individuals and organizations throughout the city. Doria was born and raised in Chicago, devoting her life to creating strong cultural programs in the city. She worked on the City’s Department of Special Events, trailblazing initiatives like the Sister City’s Program. She later worked for the Chicago Park district, diversifying the district’s cultural programs. Doria left her mark on the city’s art and culture, bringing theater, dance, and music to park visitors across Chicago. It is only fitting that one of said parks bears her name.
Helen Doria Beach Details
Stretching almost one acre, Doria Beach Park is the perfect place to soak in summer rays in the heart of the city. Street parking can be difficult to find, but you can easily reach the beach via public transit off of the Loyola Red Line station or one of several CTA bus routes.
Lifeguards are on duty from 11am to 7pm daily, and swimming is permitted during those hours. Distance swimming is allowed parallel to the shoreline. There are restrooms, so it’s easy to spend a whole day here. There is no paddle or board sport access to the Lake Michigan Water Trail form here, and you can’t kiteboard.
While this beach is small but mighty, locals love it for its clean sand and unbusy atmosphere. Helen Doria Beach doesn’t monitor water quality, but neighboring Hartigan Beach does, so you can check there for quality information.