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Best beaches for kids in the city and suburbs

It's not summer without a trip to the beach. Try these family- and wallet-friendly options in the city and suburbs.


31st Street Beach


63rd street beach 


Centennial Beach


Glencoe Beach


Sunset at Montrose Beach.

Beach season may only make an appearance in this town for three short months, so make the most of it. These beaches in the city and suburbs cater to the whole family with amenities like free parking, cool water features and family-friendly food options. Grab a towel, some sunscreen and get ready to hit the beach.

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Centennial Beach

The western suburb recycled a former quarry into this four-acre inland beach, with zero-depth-entry waters and plenty of sand for tots to build castles. Teens hang out at the deep end—which has a pier and a diving board—while families stretch out with a picnic or a game of Frisbee on the large, grassy field. $10 per person ($3 per person after 5pm).

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Glencoe Beach

This pristine beach is designed to make the most of your lakeside fun, rain or shine. Rent umbrellas ($4) when it’s hot out, or take shelter in a shaded, picnic-table-dotted trellis area (free before 4pm, first-come, first-served) during a downpour. Kids love the water-play area. Bring your tennis rackets and grab a game on the artificial grass courts at adjacent Lakefront Park. $10 ($5 from 6–8pm), kids 17 and under $7 ($4 from 6–8pm).

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Montrose Beach

This North Side beach provides a picturesque view of the city along with a few other things that will keep your kiddos occupied. Walk toward the dog beach to check out the pups running around or peruse the dunes area, perfect for identifying birds. The beach walk allows easy access for strollers, and the Dock at Montrose Beach restaurant is equipped with a kids' menu for afternoon dining.

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31st Street Beach

Critics' pick

Show up early to nab parking and a patch of sand at this family-friendly stretch on the city’s South Side. The beach features spotless shores and surf and stroller beach mats so you can wheel wee ones right up to your umbrella. The beach area, which went through a major renovation in 2012, now features a playground, an eco-friendly harbor, and unique and colorful tree sculptures. Free.

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63rd Street Beach

Head to the South Side for a trip to a beach with a little history. Check out the historic beach house with picturesque views, interactive water fountains and restrooms. Kids who bore of the beach can head to the onsite splash pad and sandy playground.

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South Side