Called Lighthouse Beach by locals, Rogers Beach Park boasts 2.43 acres of waterfront as well as a nearby park for summertime fun like tennis and dog walks along the lakeside path. This is one of the best places in the city to enjoy the sunrise over Lake Michigan. On any given day, you’ll find locals fishing off of the lighthouse pier at the crack of dawn. It’s the perfect spot to go for a stroll, swim or to simply post up on a park bench and enjoy the views. Locals love the lack of young sunbathers at this off-the-beaten-path outpost.
Rogers Beach Park History
Rogers Park and the adjoining Rogers Avenue are named after the first European settler in the area, Phillip Rogers. The Irish immigrant arrived from New York in 1836, establishing himself as a truck farmer and amassing more than 1,600 acres of land in his lifetime. After his death, Rogers’ son in law subdivided part of the land and dedicated Rogers Park in his honor.
Rogers Beach Park was acquired by the Chicago Park District in 1959, one of 18 street-end beaches obtained from the City of Chicago that year. The beaches were a haven for apartment dwellers who craved recreational opportunities. At the time, it was one of the street-end beaches that had no changing rooms or facilities.
Rogers Beach Park Details
There are still no changing facilities or bathrooms at Rogers Beach, but the beach is staffed with lifeguards and has a first aid station. Distance swimming is never allowed, but visitors are able to swim when lifeguards are on duty: 11am to 7pm daily. There is no sport or paddle board access.
Smoking and alcohol is not permitted, and dogs aren’t allowed on the beach. Still, frequent visitors say that doesn’t stop many pet owners from letting their pooches run the beach before lifeguards come on duty each morning. Dog walking is encouraged, however, on the lakeside path, a popular place for joggers and bikers to enjoy the waterfront views. Fishing is another popular pastime each morning in the near darkness.
The park features grills for visitors who wish to have a picnic. There are also nearby tennis courts that are a favorite for recreation in the area. Its crown jewel, however, is the pier that leads to the iconic lighthouse. This is a favorite spot for locals and visitors alike to enjoy the quiet and ever-changing views.