10 Best Beaches in Chicago

Updated On October 4, 2023

People love visiting the best beaches in Chicago because many offer picturesque views of Lake Michigan and Downtown Chicago.

They are near many of Chicago’s oldest and most popular attractions, like the Shedd Aquarium, Soldier Field, and historical community gardens. 

Many of Chicago’s beaches are in close proximity to its shoreline, and a host of restaurants and entertainment venues make for the perfect beach adventure! 

We find some of the best beaches in Chicago along the sandy shores of Lake Michigan, one of the Great Lakes that spans four northern states that include Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin

Below, we provide an overview of ten of the best beaches in Chicago, along with a brief description of what each location has to offer excited beachgoers this season.

Get Ready to Visit Chicago’s Best Beaches

If you and your beach crew are new to visiting Chicago area beaches, there are a few key factors to consider before venturing out.

Consider the following when you’re getting ready to visit your favorite Chicagoland beach:

  • Does the beach have an accessible boardwalk?
  • Are there restroom facilities on site or near the beach? 
  • What amenities does the beach have? 
  • Are there food vendors or restaurants on the beach? 
  • Can you park on or near the beach? 

10 Must-Have Items for Visiting Chicagoland Beaches 

  • Swimwear
  • Sunscreen
  • Extra Towels
  • Food
  • Water
  • Life Jackets
  • Umbrella
  • Chairs
  • Wagon 
  • First Aid Kit

10 Best Beaches in Chicago

North Avenue Beach 
North Avenue Beach

#1. North Avenue Beach 

About the Beach 

Visitors and residents of Chicago’s north side can find stunning views of the city skyline and amenities at this popular northside beach. 

Beachgoers at North Avenue Beach enjoy a wide range of amenities and beach-related activities, including sand volleyball, bike paths along the lake shore, and plenty of sand and swimming space for beach visitors.

his beach also features beach volleyball courts and boat rentals.

Visit the Chicago Park District Website to learn more. 

Contact Information

Address: 1600 N Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL – 60613
Website: https://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/parks-facilities/north-avenue-beach

Oak Street Beach
Oak Street Beach

#2. Oak Street Beach – Downtown, Gold Coast

About the Beach

Visitors and residents of Downtown Chicago, the Gold Coast, and Streeterville enjoy visiting this summer hotspot for fun in the sand and sun.

Oak Street Beach makes it easy for visitors to have the ultimate beach day with bike rentals, volleyball rentals, chair rentals, and onsite concessions. 

They offer distance swimming options and access to an ADA-accessible beach.

Visitors to Oak Street Beach may also be lucky enough to visit the beach to see one of the many amateur and professional volleyball tournaments they have yearly. 

Contact Information

Address: 1000 North Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL – 60611
Website: https://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/parks-facilities/oak-street-beach

Montrose Beach
Montrose Beach

#3. Montrose Beach – North Side

About the Beach

Montrose Beach on the north side features a wifi-connected accessible beach that offers hours of fun and enjoyment for beachgoers and their pets. 

This one-of-a-kind beach has a designated “dog beach” where your furry family members can frolic and play in the welcoming waters of Lake Michigan along with their family and friends. 

Montrose Beach makes it easy for people who need accessibility services to access the beach walk and shoreline via their accessible pathways.

This beach also has onsite food concessions and volleyball rentals that make for a perfect beach day out. 

Contact Information 

Address: 4400 North Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL – 60613
Website: https://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/parks-facilities/montrose-beach

12th Street Beach
12th Street Beach

#4. 12th Street Beach 

About the Beach

12th Street Beach is one of Chicago’s most historical beaches, offering beachgoers breathtaking views of the city skyline and other historical landmarks like Soldier Field. 

One of the unique features of 12th Street Beach is its age and history.

12th Street Beach was first opened to the public for swimming in the early 1900s. 

It has since served Chicagoland residents and visitors for swimming and boating with a small harbor and boat launch for boaters with small crafts who want to explore the waters of Lake Michigan.

12th Street Beach is also located within walking or driving distance of nearby attractions, including the Shedd Aquarium and the Adler Planetarium. 

Contact Information

Address: 1200 S. Linn White Drive, Chicago IL – 60605
Website: https://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/parks-facilities/12th-street-beach

Foster Beach
Foster Beach

#5. Foster Beach – North Side

About the Beach

Foster Beach, just off Lake Shore Drive on Chicago’s North Side, offers a family-friendly environment where beachgoers can cool off and swim with amazing views of some of Chicago’s most prominent buildings and its world-famous skyline. 

This beach is accessible, making it easier for all your friends and family to enjoy the calm and serene waters of Lake Michigan.

Foster Beach also has wifi so swimmers can stay connected while taking a break from swimming or sunbathing.

Food, drinks, and concessions are available from nearby vendors. 

Contact Information 

Address: 5200 North Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL – 60611
Website: https://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/parks-facilities/foster-beach

Ohio Street Beach
Ohio Street Beach

#6. Ohio Street Beach – North Side

About the Beach

Residents of Streeterville and Lincoln Park neighborhoods in Chicago enjoy easy access to one of the area’s most popular lakefront destinations at Ohio Street Beach.

This beach is another one of Chicago’s historical landmarks that has been open for public swimming since the early 1920s. 

Ohio Street Beach has concessions and concierge services to make it easier for families and friends to grab refreshments and snacks during beach outings.

This popular hotspot is located near Navy Pier.

It also features several volleyball courts and a bike path along the lakeshore drive. 

Contact Information

Address: 600 North Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL – 60611
Website: https://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/parks-facilities/ohio-street-beach

Rainbow Beach
Rainbow Beach

#7. Rainbow Beach – South Side

About the Beach 

Rainbow Beach on Chicago’s South Side is one of the city’s oldest and most popular beaches in the area.

Excited beachgoers look forward to swimming at Rainbow Beach, which offers an accessible beach walk, onsite amenities for food and drink, and fun activities like playing beach volleyball or picnicking along the Lake Shore. 

This popular South Side beach also has a state-of-the-art gymnasium and fitness center onsite for beachgoers who want to get more exercise and burn off a few calories.

Rainbow Beach also has handball courts and offers access to one of Chicago’s oldest community gardens. 

Contact Information 

Address: 2873 E 75th St, Chicago, IL 60649
Website: https://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/parks-facilities/rainbow-beach

Loyola Beach
Loyola Beach

#8. Loyola Beach – North Side

About the Beach

Loyola Beach is one of Chicago’s largest and most visited beaches that, spans more than 20 acres.

The beach has a ton of amenities, including land-based activities and swimming.

This beach has a walking trail that runs along the shore and provides easy access for beachgoers who want to swim, sunbathe, and then enjoy shopping and entertainment in the nearby Rogers Park neighborhood.

Loyola Beach also has food vendors onsite and a playground for families with children. 

Contact Information

Address: 1230 W Greenleaf Ave, Chicago, IL 60626
Website: https://www.choosechicago.com/listing/loyola-park-beach/

South Shore Beach
South Shore Beach

#9. South Shore Beach – South Shore Neighborhood

About the Beach

South Shore Beach is in the South Shore Culture Center Park on Chicago’s South East side.

This accessible beach has been a destination for tourists and residents for many years.

Distance swimmers can take advantage of swimming parallel to the shoreline that runs between the north and south ends of the beach. 

This famous Chicago beach provides visitors with access to a 9-hole golf course and a circular beach house, along with fun opportunities for swimming, picnicking, and walking on the beach.

Contact Information 

Address: 7059 S. South Shore Drive, Chicago, IL – 60649
Website: https://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/parks-facilities/south-shore-beach

Calumet Beach
Calumet Beach

#10. Calumet Beach – Southeast Chicago

About the Beach 

Calumet Beach is on the southeast side of Chicago and opens on the Friday immediately preceding Memorial Day through Labor Day.

This beach has options for frolicking in the sand and sun. 

It also has distance swimming options from the beach’s south end to the Taylor Pier’s north end.

Calumet Beach offers plenty of space for swimmers and sunbathers who want to soak up the Chicago sun on the shores of one of America’s Great Lakes. 

There are also a few dry areas sprinkled around Calumet Beach.

Dry areas include a playground and several picnic sites with picnic tables and barbecue grills for beachgoers who want to enjoy the beach without getting in the water. 

Contact Information 

Address: 9801 S Avenue G, Chicago, IL 60617
Website: https://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/parks-facilities/calumet-beach

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