Chicago beaches for sun and surf in the city

Chill out on the best stretches of Lake Michigan sand at these top Chicago beaches and waterfront parks

Chicago Park District's 63rd Street Beach

If you're not at a summer festival, the beach is one of the most popular places in Chicago to cool off with your friends. Whether you just want to relax, hit a restaurant or play some volleyball with your bros, there's a spot along the Lake Michigan shore for you. Get out of your apartment and find the perfect spot to hit the sand with our comprehensive list of Chicago's beaches.

When do Chicago beaches open for the 2015 season?

Chicago's beaches open on May 22, 2015.

RECOMMENDED: Best things to do in the summer in Chicago

12th Street Beach

Located on Northerly Island, this Near South Side beach is just a short walk from Museum Campus and typically hosts an array of summer events. Amenities: concessions, restrooms, life guard first aid station, non-motorized boat launch.

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South Loop

31st Street Beach

Critics' pick

This South Side beach features amazing views of the Chicago skyline in addition to a harbor for small boats. A nearby park includes a picnic area and a public fishing dock. Amenities: concessions, restrooms, lockers, life guard first aid station, playground.

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Bronzeville

57th Street Beach

Located in Jackson Park, one of Chicago's oldest parks, 57th Street Beach is easily accessible via a pedestrian underpass near the Museum of Science and Industry. Amenities: concessions, restrooms, life guard first aid station.

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Hyde Park

63rd Street Beach

If you need a beach vacay but can't get away right this second, head to 63rd Street Beach and its beach house, where kids can kite-surf, use free volleyball equipment and go berserk in the interactive spray fountain. Amenities: concessions, restrooms, playgrounds, life guard first aid station.

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South Side

Calumet Beach

Located near the Indiana state line, getting to Calumet Beach can be a bit of a journey. The beach connects to a sprawling park that offers an artificial turf soccer field and fields for football and softball. Amenities: concessions, restrooms, lockers, playground, life guard first aid station.

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Columbia Beach

South of Loyola Beach and north of North Shore Beach in Rogers Park, Columbia Beach offers great views of downtown Chicago.

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Fargo Beach

Located on the crowded strip of Rogers Park beaches, right next to Jarvis Beach, the waters of Fargo are (thankfully) not a cold as its name implies.

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Foster Avenue Beach

This popular Edgewater beach offers a beach house with concessions and bike rentals in addition to an adjoining dog beach for everyone's favorite four-legged friends. Amenities: restrooms, water sports rentals, bike rentals, free wifi, life guard first aid station.

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Edgewater

Hartigan Beach

Formerly known as Albion Beach, this street-end beach has a playground and is a great spot to catch some rays and enjoy the waters of Lake Michigan.

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Howard Beach

Situated next to a park, Howard Beach gives visitors the choice of soaking up rays on the sand or relaxing in the shade. Amenities: playground.

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Jarvis Beach

Escape from the crowds at this small Rogers Park beach, just a few blocks away from the Jarvis Red Line stop.

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Lane Beach

This Edgewater beach is connected to a small park and just a short walk away from the much larger Osterman Beach to the south. Amenities: playground.

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Leone Beach

This Rogers Park beach has a kayak launch and plenty of sandy acres to enjoy. Don't be suprised if you see members of the Juinor Lifeguard program training in the lake. Amenities: playground, restrooms, life guard first aid station.

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Loyola Beach

This beach attracts college students and families and features Lynn Takata's "Windform," an abstract concrete sculpture representing the movement of water. Amenities: concessions, restrooms, playground, life guard first aid station.

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Montrose Beach

A fenced-off dog area at this popular neightborhood beach provides a place for your pooch to run around. Elsewhere, visitors can play volleyball, sit under an umbrella or enjoy the free wifi. Amenities: concessions, kayak rentals, watersports rentals, restrooms, life guard first aid station.

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Uptown

North Avenue Beach

As one of Chicago's most popular beaches, North Avenue Beach features a unique beach house inspired by a beached ocean liner. Visitors can hit the volleyball courts, grab a snack or rent a bike. Amenities: concessions, lockers, kayak rentals, jet ski rentals, watersports rentals, restrooms, life guard first aid station.

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Lincoln Park

North Shore Beach

Another street-end beach near Loyola University, North Shore Beach is full of families and students sharing a relaxing environment. Catch some rays or take a walk out on the pier.

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Oak Street Beach

One of Chicago's most popular places to sunbathe, this Gold Coast beach has volleyball tournaments, a restaurant and a spectacular view of the skyline. Amenities: concessions, bike rentals, watersports rentals, restrooms, life guard first aid station.

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Gold Coast

Oakwood Beach

Chicago's newest beach on the South Side features a comfort station covered in a large mural by artist Jeff Zimmerman. Amenities: restrooms, life guard first aid station.

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Ohio Street Beach

Located within walking distance of Navy Pier and sheltered by the curve of the shoreline, Ohio Street Beach offers calm waters for swimmers. Amenities: concessions, bike rentals, watersports rentals, restrooms, life guard first aid station.

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Osterman Beach

If your friends tell you they're going to Hollywood Beach, this is where they're headed. Located in north Lincoln Park, Osterman Beach has a LEED-certified beach house. Amenities: concessions, watersports rentals, restrooms, life guard first aid station, wifi.

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Rainbow Beach and Park

Part of the 60-acre Rainbow Park, this South Side beach is adjacent to one of Chicago's oldest public gardens. Amenities: concessions, playground, restrooms, life guard first aid station, wifi.

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Rogers Beach

Avoid the throngs of students and head north to this out-of-the-way Rogers Park beach. If swimming isn't your thing, try a few rounds in the nearby tennis courts.

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South Shore Beach

As a part of the South Shore Cultural Center, this beach has something for everyone. A country club–esque beach house, golf course, tennis courts and nature sanctuary await visitors. Amenities: restrooms, life guard first aid station.

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