Chicago boasts 22 miles of shoreline, comprising about 35-percent of the Illinois coast. Along the pristine waters of Lake Michigan, you’ll find beach walks and trails for biking, walking and picnicking along grassy areas. To the north, small street-end beaches offer quiet respites from bustling city life, though many lack facilities.
To the south, acres of parkland surround sandy beaches, many with impressive club houses and changing rooms as well as great views of the Chicago skyline. And in the heart of the city, you’ll find some of the most visited beaches in the midwest. Grab your sunblock and get ready for a day on the shore.
This beach and surrounding grassy park span more than three acres in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood. Locals and visitors enjoy a large playground and lifeguarded waterfront. Many children’s cultural programs stop at Lane Beach Park throughout the summer.
Near Edgewater in the northernmost part of Lincoln Park, Kathy Osterman Beach offers everything you’ll need for a day on the shore. Rent paddle sports, beach chairs, and umbrellas and stop at one of the concession stands for lunch. There are also rest rooms, changing stations and WiFi.
This Lincoln Park beach is a favorite for visitors looking to spend a day by the water. There’s everything you could need—restrooms, concessions, bike rentals, and WiFi. Animal owners love the dog beach at the northern end of the park, and there is public art to enjoy as well.
This popular uptown beach truly has it all: Kayak rentals, beach chairs, changing facilities, and all the food concessions. It’s also ADA accessible and there’s a dog-friendly beach at the north end of the park. Getting here is easy with pay and display parking and access from public transit.
North Avenue Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Chicago. It boasts an ocean-liner beach house with changing facilities, restrooms, and ATMs. There are also tons of rental outlets for volleyball, jet skis, and paddle sports. Enjoy an ADA accessible beach walk and distance swimming.
Located near posh Streeterville and Gold Coast neighborhoods, Oak Street Beach has long been the place to see and be seen. Rent an umbrella, take a bike ride along the Lakefront Trail, or go for a swim in lifeguarded waters. You might just catch a pro volleyball tournament, as well.
Unlike most Chicago beaches that face east, Ohio Street Beach faces north. This creates favorable swimming conditions that makes the park a favorite for distance swimmers. You can also just lounge here, with umbrella and chair rentals as well as locker rooms and restroom facilities.
12th Street Beach boasts a unique location between Adler Planetarium and Northerly Island in the heart of Chicago. Enjoy views of museum campus as well as concessions, restrooms, a non-motorized boat launch, and an ADA accessible beach walk. The adjacent park has plenty of grassy and shaded areas, as well.
Margaret T Burroughs Beach boasts a prime location that offers impressive views of the Chicago skyline from the south. It is positioned next to a harbor with ample boat slips and an ADA-accessible playground. The beach is home to a new beach house with concessions and restrooms.
Also called 41st Street Beach, Oakwood Beach is Chicago’s newest beach, created in 2010. Today, it offers plenty of sandy shoreline as well as a beach house with restrooms, concessions, and an ADA accessible beach walk. The location is popular for events in summer months.
As one of the city’s oldest beaches, 57th Street Beach has been serving Hyde Park residents for decades. Today, it offers contemporary conveniences including restrooms, WiFi, and an ADA accessible beach walk. Enjoy lunch at Tasty Grill or venture out to enjoy one of Jackson Park’s many more amenities.
Located within Jackson Park, 63rd street beach has been cooling off Chicagoans since the turn of the century. Today, it still offers a historic beach house, renovated with modern facilities and an interactive water feature. There are also concessions, bike rentals, and a non-motor boat launch.
South Shore Beach
South Shore Beach is part of the 70-plus acre South Shore Cultural Center. This epicenter of southern Chicago is home to the lifeguarded beach, a boardwalk and nature center. The surrounding park and cultural center has a golf course, tennis courts and a beach house with restrooms and showers.
Located in South Chicago, Rainbow Beach and its surrounding park span 142.24 acres. The sandy beach offers lifeguarded waters as well as a natural area and dune habitat. The park is home to a gymnasium, fitness center, handball courts, and a historic community garden.
Rogers Beach Park
Rogers Beach Park is a hidden gem beloved by locals looking to escape the typical summer crowds. Instead, visitors here find a quiet pier with a lighthouse overlooking the lake and its beautiful sunset views. Favorite activities include swimming, fishing, and tennis.
Howard Beach is a popular respite for locals in the nearby Rogers Park neighborhood. The street-end beach features long stretches of sandy beachfront, shady park areas, and a family-friendly playground. There are no bathrooms, but lifeguards are on duty.
Marion Mahony Griffin Beach Park
This off-the-beaten path beach is a postage stamp–sized oasis that serves as a favorite oasis for locals looking to escape the crowds. There are no facilities, but lifeguards are on duty for swimming daily. The half-acre of sandy beachfront offers access to cool Lake Michigan waters.
Leone Beach Park
Leone Beach is one of the most popular beaches in the Rogers Park neighborhood. The family-friendly getaway features a playground and kayak launch. There is metered parking available, facilities, and several snack stands to enjoy a day at the beach here.
Loyola Beach is one of the northernmost points on Chicago’s lakefront. The park surrounding the beach includes a fieldhouse with several gymnasiums, a playground, and sporting fields. The beach is home to a natural area and ⅔ mile walking trail along the Lake Michigan waterfront.
Tobey Prinz Beach
Named after a Rogers Park activist, Tobey Prinz Beach is a hidden gem along the Chicago lakefront. Visitors enjoy a quiet stretch of beach with lifeguards and a pier with lighthouse. The neighboring park has shady green areas and a public sculpture ideal for soaking in the view.
Helen Doria Beach
Named after one of the city’s biggest public culture advocates, Helen Doria Beach offers an acre of pristine waterfront in northern Chicago. Visitors here love the uncrowded sand and ability to swim during lifeguarded hours. Find street parking or take public transit to spend the day here.
North Shore Beach
At .66 acres, North Shore Beach offers a postage stamp–sized respite at the southern end of Rogers Park. Locals love this beach’s uncrowded waterfront access and mellow vibe. There is a lifeguard on duty, but you won’t find restrooms or changing facilities.
You might hear it called Albion, Columbia, North Shore, or Pratt. Whatever the name, Hartigan Beach is a great place to enjoy a quiet respite along Lake Michigan. The beach features a pier and abandoned lighthouse, and the park has shady areas and a large playground.