The Best Beaches in Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois, may be known for its stunning skyline and vibrant urban culture, but it also boasts beautiful lakefront beaches along the shores of Lake Michigan. These beaches provide a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, offering opportunities for relaxation, recreation, and stunning views. Here are the best beaches in Chicago to visit for a memorable day by the water.

North Avenue Beach

North Avenue Beach is one of Chicago’s most popular and iconic beaches, located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. This bustling beach offers a wide sandy shoreline, clear waters, and spectacular views of the city skyline. Visitors can rent paddleboards, kayaks, and jet skis, or simply relax on the sand and soak up the sun.

The beach is also home to Castaways Bar and Grill, a lively venue housed in a boat-shaped building. Here, you can enjoy delicious food and refreshing drinks while taking in the stunning lakefront views. North Avenue Beach’s vibrant atmosphere, convenient amenities, and prime location make it a top choice for beachgoers in Chicago.

Oak Street Beach

Oak Street Beach is located in the Gold Coast neighborhood, just steps away from downtown Chicago. This beach offers a serene escape with its soft sand, gentle waves, and beautiful views of Lake Michigan. Oak Street Beach is a great spot for swimming, sunbathing, and beach volleyball.

The beach also features Oak Street Beach Food + Drink, a beachfront café where visitors can enjoy a variety of snacks, meals, and beverages. The proximity to the Magnificent Mile and other downtown attractions makes Oak Street Beach a convenient and enjoyable destination for both locals and tourists.

Montrose Beach

Montrose Beach, located in the Uptown neighborhood, is Chicago’s largest beach and offers a variety of activities and amenities. This family-friendly beach features a spacious sandy shoreline, designated swimming areas, and plenty of open space for picnics and beach games. Montrose Beach is also home to a dog-friendly area, where pets can run and play off-leash.

In addition to its recreational offerings, Montrose Beach is known for its natural beauty and wildlife. The adjacent Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary is a popular spot for birdwatching, and the Montrose Dunes Natural Area provides a habitat for native plants and animals. Montrose Beach’s combination of natural beauty, recreational activities, and family-friendly amenities make it a favorite destination for Chicagoans.

31st Street Beach

31st Street Beach, located in the Douglas neighborhood, is a hidden gem that offers a quieter and more relaxed beach experience. This beach features a sandy shoreline, clear waters, and stunning views of the downtown skyline. The adjacent 31st Street Harbor provides facilities for boating and fishing, as well as a scenic walkway along the lakefront.

Visitors to 31st Street Beach can enjoy a variety of amenities, including a splash pad for children, picnic areas, and a café offering snacks and beverages. The beach’s tranquil atmosphere and beautiful surroundings make it a perfect spot for a peaceful day by the water.

Rainbow Beach and Park

Rainbow Beach and Park, located in the South Shore neighborhood, is one of Chicago’s oldest and most beloved beaches. This expansive beach offers a wide sandy shoreline, designated swimming areas, and stunning views of Lake Michigan. Rainbow Beach is a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and beach sports.

The adjacent Rainbow Park features a variety of recreational facilities, including basketball courts, tennis courts, and a playground. The park also offers picnic areas and walking paths, providing plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities. Rainbow Beach and Park’s combination of recreational amenities and natural beauty make it a popular destination for families and outdoor enthusiasts.

Foster Avenue Beach

Foster Avenue Beach, located in the Edgewater neighborhood, is a family-friendly beach known for its clean sand and clear waters. This beach offers a range of amenities, including a beach house with restrooms and concessions, picnic areas, and volleyball courts. Foster Avenue Beach is a great spot for swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying a day by the water.

The beach is also adjacent to the Lakefront Trail, a popular path for walking, running, and biking that stretches along the shores of Lake Michigan. The scenic trail provides beautiful views of the lake and the city skyline, making it a favorite route for outdoor enthusiasts. Foster Avenue Beach’s family-friendly atmosphere and convenient location make it a top choice for a day at the beach.

Conclusion

Chicago’s lakefront beaches offer a perfect escape from the urban hustle, providing opportunities for relaxation, recreation, and stunning views. From the bustling North Avenue Beach and serene Oak Street Beach to the expansive Montrose Beach and tranquil 31st Street Beach, there is a beach for every preference and activity. Whether you’re looking to swim, sunbathe, play beach volleyball, or simply enjoy the natural beauty of Lake Michigan, Chicago’s beaches provide a memorable and enjoyable experience. Pack your sunscreen and beach gear and head to one of these beautiful destinations for a perfect day by the water in the Windy City.

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