One of the northernmost beaches in Chicago, Loyola Beach is a popular outpost in the East Rogers Park community. It hosts many programs throughout the summer and has a beautiful ⅔-mile walking trail along Lake Michigan. This accessible beach has paid parking, basketball and tennis courts, and a playground. There are also facilities available, a natural dune habitat and a lighthouse. This picturesque location is one of the best places to spend the day and take in Like Michigan’s sandy shores.
Loyola Beach Park History
One of Chicago’s oldest public parks, Loyola Park was part of the nine acres of lakeshore property acquired by the North Shore Park District by 1917. A small field house offered game and club rooms, built in 1923, and ice skating became a popular activity in 1929, when the district built a shelter house for skaters.
After the Chicago Park District took over in 1934, residents felt North Shore Park should be renamed, and a contest was held to determine the new name. Locals loved Loyola Park for the nearby Loyola University, which raised its neighborhood profile with the erection of dramatic Art Deco buildings in the 1930s.
In 1950, the district doubled the size of Loyola Park and built a new fieldhouse and grandstand. In 1971, another half acre was added to bring the park to its current 21.5 acres.
Loyola Beach Park Details
Loyola Park sits on more than 40 acres of land, so you can bet there is a lot to do for a day at the beach. Metered Parking is available in two lots flanking the park at the intersections of Sheridan Road and Lunt and Touhy Avenues. You can also take the CTA Red Line to Loyola or Morse Stations for an easy walk. Once you’re at the park, there is endless entertainment. The large field house boasts two gymnasiums, a woodshop, boxing center, and clubrooms.
Outside, the park is home to an array of recreation including baseball and softball fields, a basketball court, four tennis courts, several sand volleyball courts, and a playground. Of course, there is also the ⅔-mile walking trail along the Lake Michigan beachfront.
At the beach, swimming is permitted daily from 11am to 7pm, when a lifeguard is on duty. Distance swimming isn’t allowed, but there is access to the Lake Michigan Water Trail for kayaking, canoeing, and paddle sports. Kiteboarding is not allowed—you can kiteboard at Montrose beach.
Bird lovers will enjoy the beach’s dune habitat, and you can take a scenic walk along the lakefront trail and to the lighthouse at the end of the pier. There’s also a large playground atop an engineered wood fiber surface. This family-friendly beach has clean bathrooms, and a concession stand in the summertime, so it’s easy to spend the whole day here. There are also grills for families to have barbecues throughout the summer.
Loyola Beach Park Events
Loyola Park, with all of its sporting facilities, is a popular location for events throughout the year. In the summer, locals enjoy day camps including boxing, cheerleading, basketball, and general day camp. Summertime is filled with Night Out in the Parks events at Loyola and things like Teen Beach Bash.
That said, the fun isn’t limited to summertime. Loyola Park hosts many winter outings like Valentine’s Day in the Parks and the yearly Polar Plunge. The gyms have also hosted events like the Special Olympics, Kickball Tournament, and boxing showcases.