10 Beaches in Chicago | Checkout Chicago's Coastal Treasures

Chicago Beaches 

1. Oak Street Beach
2. Montrose Beach
Rainbow Beach
North Avenue Beach
Loyola Beach
31st Street Beach
Hollywood Beach
Foster Beach
12th Street Beach
Calumet Beach

Home to 26 miles of sandy shoreline, the best Chicago beaches are perfect places to sunbathe and swim, as well as indulge in water sports, delightful dining or nightlife. With more than 20 beaches extending along the Lake Michigan shoreline, this Illinois city offers a plethora of recreational and adrenaline-pumping activities such as paddle boarding, jet skiing, and many more. 

With spacious sands, hip beachside bars, and tons of recreation opportunities, North Avenue Beach is one of the best beaches in Chicago to unwind and indulge. For those who enjoy water sports, 31st Street Beach is the ideal option, whereas Oak Street Beach and Loyola Beach attract those who love to play beach volleyball. For enjoying outdoor dining and drinks while taking in the gorgeous waterfront vista, Montrose Beach can be one of the best choices. Whatever Chicago beach you visit, you'll have a fantastic and memorable experience with beach activities, water sports, tasty cuisine, refreshing drinks, and a lively atmosphere.

Here is the list of best beaches in Chicago:

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Oak Street Beach

  • Famous as one of the best beaches in Chicago for enjoying volleyball, the Gold Coast beach hosts various volleyball tournaments.
  • The Oak Street Beach Café is a great place to enjoy beachfront dining while also relishing a spectacular seascape.
  • A popular summer hotspot amongst locals and visitors alike, it offers amenities like chair, bike and volleyball rentals, restrooms, and lifeguards.
  • The beach mural “You Know What You Should Do” encourages people to keep the beach clean by avoiding littering or feeding wildlife.

1000 North Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60611

What to Do:
Volleyball, swimming, and dining

Montrose Beach

  • A perfect beach to enjoy an adrenaline rush through watersports, this is also the only coastal destination in Chicago where you can enjoy kiteboarding.
  • This Uptown neighborhood beach in Lincoln Park features a fenced-in dog section, making it one of the best Chicago beaches to enjoy with your pooch.
  • Known as Chicago’s largest public beach, it offers amenities like lifeguards, volleyball courts, umbrella and watersports rentals, free wifi, and restrooms.
  • A dune habitat and migrating bird sanctuary are also there on the beach, attracting plant and bird admirers.

Location: 4400 N. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago IL 60640

What to Do:
Playing with dogs, swimming, volleyball, kayaking, kiteboarding, paddleboarding, etc.

Rainbow Beach

  • Rainbow Beach is among the best beaches in Chicago for enjoying the city's skyline, especially at dusk, as well as non-motorized water sports.
  • It features two playgrounds, a gymnasium, a fitness center, multipurpose rooms, and handball courts, making it a great location to indulge in a variety of beach activities.
  • Sitting next to one of Chicago's oldest public gardens, the Rainbow Beach Victory Garden, the beach also offers you the chance to unwind amid lush landscapes.
  • The beach features a natural dune home to flora and animals indigenous to the Lake Michigan shoreline.

2873 E. 75th Street, Chicago, IL 60649

What to Do:
Swimming, canoeing, kayaking, and other non-motorized paddle or board sports, etc.

North Avenue Beach

  • Located in Lincoln Park, North Avenue Beach is one of the best beaches in Chicago to unwind or enjoy water sports as well as outdoor dining and drinks.
  • A huge beach house, an ocean liner-inspired building docked along the beach, boasts one of the most amazing views of the beach's lively ambiance and stunning seascape from its upper decks.
  • Featuring amenities like restaurants, cafes, bars, NBA sports, water sports rentals, a fitness center, and shopping kiosks, this beach is always bustling with visitors and locals alike.

1600 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60613

What to Do: 
Biking, paddleboarding, wakeboarding, swimming, dining, volleyball, yoga, etc.

Loyola Beach

  • Loyola Beach's shallow waters, playground, and peaceful ambiance make it a perfect destination to spend quality time with your family.
  • The beach offers a variety of options for unwinding and indulging, from bike, chair, and umbrella rentals to volleyball, tennis, and baseball courts, a fitness center, and a spacious sand area.
  • With numerous amateur and professional volleyball tournaments that are held on the beach throughout the summer, it draws sports lovers from across the world.

1230 W. Greenleaf Ave. (Greenleaf Ave. @ Lake Michigan), Chicago, IL 60626

What to Do:
Baseball, volleyball, tennis, walking, clubbing, fitness classes, boxing, etc.

31st Street Beach

  • 31st Street Beach, also called Margaret T. Burroughs Beach is the place to enjoy a range of water activities and feel a rush of adrenaline, such as surfing, kayaking, paddleboarding, etc.
  • It serves as a harbor of small boats, allowing you to rent a boat and enjoy a boating trip through the pristine waters of Lake Michigan.
  • It  is one of the best places to enjoy the breathtaking southern views of the Chicago cityscape while taking a leisurely stroll or a romantic evening walk.
  • Adjacent to the harbor, there is an ADA-accessible playground, a picnic area, a public fishing dock, a community room, and much more. 

3100 S. Jean-Baptiste Pointe DuSable Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60616

What to Do:
Jet skiing, boating, kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding, swimming, etc.

Hollywood Beach

  • Officially known as Kathy Osterman Beach, its calm waters and absence of boat traffic make it popular with paddle boarders.
  • Distance swimming parallel to the shore and paddleboarding lessons and rentals are also available here.
  • A silver LEED-certified beach house is another big draw that not only charms with its classic architecture but also proves to be a well-known comfort station.
  • It features a natural area that attracts migratory birds, making it one of the best Chicago beaches for birdwatching.

5800 North Jean-Baptiste Pointe DuSable Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60640

What to Do:
Swimming, cycling, volleyball, playing with dogs, birdwatching, fishing, distance swimming, etc.

Foster Beach

  • This renowned Edgewater destination is a family favorite because of its beautiful setting for picnics and get-togethers with loved ones.
  • There is a beach house with refreshments, restrooms, and bicycle rentals.
  • With a neighboring dog zone, it is a popular location for those with four-legged companions.
  • Distance swimming is from the Center Tower to the beach's north end, parallel to the shore at the boat line.
  • There is also an ADA-accessible beach walk and a parking lot to enjoy a hassle-free trip.

5200 N. Lake Shore Dr. Chicago, IL 60611

What to Do:
Swimming, walking, biking, running, hiking, etc.

12th Street Beach

  • The former site of the Meigs Field airport, this beach is known for its stunning panoramic scenery.
  • A range of food concessions at the beach along with the facility of restrooms make it a great destination for day outings. 
  • The beach is also loved for enjoying distance swimming and many other water sports. 
  • It guarantees a fun-filled day out for families and friends by being home to a prairie reserve, Del Campo’s Tacos, and the Adler Planetarium.

1200 S. Linn White Dr., Chicago, IL 60605

What to Do:
Birdwatching, attending concerts, witnessing panoramic views, visiting the planetarium, etc.

Calumet Beach

  • A popular place among beachgoers, Calumet Beach lets you beat the summer hot weather by taking a relaxing dip in the cool and pristine waters of Lake Michigan.
  • The views of the seascape and the city's skyline from the Calumet beach is mesmerizing, and the ambiance is just perfect for family outings.
  • With facilities like playgrounds, food concessions, and public washrooms, Calumet Beach is one of the famous destinations among locals for a pleasant day out.

9801 S. Avenue G, Chicago, IL 60617

What to Do:
Distance swimming, evening walks, family picnics, boating, etc. 

People Also Ask About Chicago

  1. What are some of the best water activities in Chicago?

    1. Kayaking: Choose from Montrose, Rainbow, or 31st Street beaches, which are the best Chicago beaches, to enjoy a memorable kayaking ride. You can either take a guided tour or a solo trip and paddle along the bustling Riverwalk to enjoy the beauty of downtown Chicago.

    2. Jet Skiing:
    If you're searching for an adrenaline rush, this activity allows you to whizz by the coastlines while taking in the gorgeous landscape. North Avenue Beach and 31st Street Beach are two of the best beaches in Chicago for this thrilling activity.

    3. Paddle Boarding:
    Take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to paddle amidst the stunning Chicago skyline, and discover the thrill of floating and riding in the water. Various beaches of Chicago, including North Avenue Beach, offer perfect conditions for this exciting sport. Paddling includes various pursuits, such as surfing, racing, fitness, and more, making it an amazing activity suitable for all ages.

    4. Boating:
    The beaches of Chicago provide the opportunity to take a relaxing sail over the lake while taking in the scenery. Choose between a private yacht charter for a romantic trip or a day with friends or family. Other alternatives include boat parties and cruises to make a particular event mesmerizing.
  2. Which is the largest beach in Chicago?

    Montrose Beach located in Uptown is the largest beach in Chicago. It is also famous for being dog-friendly, making it one of the best Chicago beaches for dog lovers and non-motorized water sports, such as canoeing and kayaking.
  3. Which are the best places for snorkeling in Chicago?

    1. Shipwrecks: Over a dozen shipwrecks, including the Silver Spray and George Morley, are serving as active snorkeling sites in Lake Michigan near the beaches of Chicago. They feature a good amount of marine growth, making them one of the best sites to go snorkeling. 

    2. North Avenue Beach:
    The clear and shallow water makes this beach a great destination to enjoy snorkeling. You can see schools of salmon, crappies, rainbow trout, and smelt swimming near the shore. This beach is loved by both professionals and novices as there are various snorkeling schools and rental shops, offering the chance to learn and enjoy snorkeling.
  4. How many beaches are in Chicago?

    There are more than 20 beaches in Chicago, offering you the chance to sunbathe, swim, bike, enjoy the surrounding scenery, or indulge in some thrilling adventures. North Avenue, Rainbow, Oak Street, and 31st Street are a few of the best beaches in Chicago to enjoy a summer day out with family or friends.
  5. Can you go to the beach at night in Chicago?

    Yes, you can visit Chicago beaches at night as generally, they are open from 6 am to 11 pm daily. However, swimming is permitted only when lifeguards are on duty during the beach season from 11 am to 7 pm.
  6. What is Chicago known for?

    Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, Chicago is noted for its distinct food, skyscrapers, cinema culture, historical architecture, and crafts, all of which add to the city's rich history and traditions. There are some best Chicago beaches, along the Lake Michigan and other shorelines of the city with a variety of recreational and thrilling activities that contribute to the city's allure.
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