CHICAGO, IL AREA – Grab your towels, cooler and sand toys – beach season is upon us.
Memorial Day weekend marks the start of the beach season here in the Chicago area, with most suburban and urban beaches opening on Saturday. With sunny skies and warm temperatures in the forecast for the next week, many local residents and families will be ready to put their toes in the sand and take a dip in the water.
Related: Beach Among America’s ‘Top 100 Secret Beaches,’ According to Survey
With that in mind, we’ve rounded up our ten favorite suburban Chicago beaches:
Three Oaks Recreation Area, Crystal Lake
ADDRESS: 5517 Northwest Road, Crystal Lake
Cost: Admission for Crystal Lake residents is free with a valid ID showing residence. Non-residents 16 years and older pay $10 and children ages 4-15 pay $6. Seniors are $6. Twilight fare (after 4 pm) is $5. Parking is free for residents with a valid Crystal Lake ID and non-residents must pay $5 for parking.
Hours: 10 am to 7:30 pm, from May 27 to August 13. The beach will be closed on weekdays from August 14 to September 1 and open from 10 am to 7 pm on weekends.
Formerly a quarry, the City of Crystal Lake purchased and repurposed the area, opening it as a recreation area in 2011. Since then, the swimming beach at Three Oaks has become a very popular spot in the summer, so plan for the Crowds if you stop: especially on weekends. The beach area also has a wading pool, outdoor dining area, and bathhouse. You can also rent paddle boats, fishing boats, kayaks and paddle boards, enjoy a walk along the lakefront, or visit the nearby Quarry Wakeboard Park and Grill.
Paulus Park Beach and Sprayground, Lake Zurich
ADDRESS: 200 S. Rand Road, Lake Zurich
Cost: $9 for residents, $11 for non-residents. Children 3 years and under are free. The twilight rate (after 5:30 pm) is $4 for residents and $6 for non-residents.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., May 27-June 4; 12:00 pm to 7:00 pm, from June 5 to August 6. Post season hours of operation can be found on the beach website.
Located along the beautiful shore of Lake Zurich, Paulus Park Beach will be open every day from May 27 until August. There is a small fenced-in sprinkler park next to the beach, a bathhouse, and a concession stand. This summer, the park’s Witbit floating inflatable structure will be unavailable due to staff shortages.
Phil’s Beach, Wauconda
ADDRESS: 328 N. Main St., Wauconda
Cost: $8 for residents and $10 for non-residents; senior residents are free and non-residents $5. The twilight fee is $4 for non-residents and $3 for residents.
Hours: Open daily starting June 3 from 11 am to 7 pm and continuing through August 13. From August 19 to September 1, open on weekends only from 12 to 5 pm
This iconic beach on Bangs Lake in Wauconda was featured once in the classic 1980 movie “The Blues Brothers” and reopened to the public three years ago after $3 million in renovations. Phil’s Beach was founded in the 1920s by Phil Froehlke, and the great views of the beach and popular J-shaped slide have drawn families for several decades, according to the Daily Herald.
In the 1990s, the Froehlke family closed the beach amid concerns about rising insurance costs. In 2016, the family made the decision to sell the beach, and the Wauconda Park District took the opportunity to bring it back up and running.
The beach area includes a splash pad, concession stand, bathhouse, baggo boards, boardwalk, and Wibit inflatables. The iconic J slide is still on the beach for photos only.
Forest Park Beach, Forest Lake
ADDRESS: 801 N. Lake Road, Forest Lake
Cost:Residents are free; non-resident daily rate is $25 per person.
Hours: Forest Park Beach is open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily beginning May 26 and continuing through Labor Day.
The 29-acre park includes a large beach with stunning views of Lake Michigan. Park amenities include sheltered pavilions, a fishing pier, boat launch ramp and storage area, walking trails, and a concession stand that is open during the summer months. Beer and wine are also available for purchase at the beachside concession stand.
Centennial Beach, Naperville
ADDRESS: 500 Jackson Ave., Naperville
Cost: Resident Costs: $7 for ages 3-17 and $9 for ages 18 and over. Non-resident costs: $12 for ages 3-17 and $14 for ages 18 and up. After 5 pm, the cost is $4 for residents and $6 for non-residents.
Hours: Beach hours vary and can be found on the beach website.
Centennial Beach is a unique swimming facility, located at 500 W. Jackson Avenue near downtown Naperville, featuring a sandy beach, zero-depth entry, a large deep-water area, and several acres of open grass to relax in. the shade or in the sun. The Paddleboat Quarry, located along the Riverwalk near Rotary Hill, offers paddleboat, kayak, and paddleboard rentals.
Glencoe Beach, Glencoe
ADDRESS: 55 Hazel Avenue, Glencoe
Cost: $10 per person for residents and $20 per person for non-residents
Hours: 10 am to 6 pm on May 27-29 and June 3-9; 10 am to 7 pm from June 10 to September 4.
The beautiful beach along Lake Michigan includes a spray field with interactive water games, slides, swings, and a play area, as well as lockers, restrooms, and showers at the beach’s beach house. Paddleboard, kayak, sailboat, chairs and umbrellas are available for rent at the beach house and there is also a snack stand and beach cart operating on the beach during the summer months. Volleyball courts with complimentary volleyballs are also available at the beach house.
Rosewood Beach, Highlands Park
ADDRESS: 883 Sheridan Road, Highland Park
Cost: Free for residents, $10 per person for non-residents.
Hours: 10 am to 6 pm May 27-29 and June 3-4; 10 am to 6 pm from June 10 to August 13.
Rosewood’s swimming beach includes a beautiful sandy beach along Lake Michigan and a boardwalk that runs the length of the beach. Set against the forested cliffs of Rosewood are an interpretive center and service buildings, including concessions and restrooms.
Gillson Park Beach, Wilmette
ADDRESS: Lake and Michigan avenues in Wilmette
Cost: $16 for non-residents and $10 for residents. Lakeside parking is $16 for residents on a weekday and $20 for non-residents. On weekends that amount increases to $20 for residents and $25 for non-residents.
Hours: 9 am to 8 pm from May 27 to September 4
Gillson Park is a 60-acre lakefront property that includes a swimming and boating beach, volleyball courts, tennis courts, concessions, a playground, and picnic areas. There is also a dog beach, located at the south end of Gillson Park, which is open daily from 6 am to 10:30 pm You must have a permit to use the dog beach.
Hail Quarry Beach, Batavia
ADDRESS: 400 S. Water Street, Batavia
Cost: $10 for residents, $15 for non-residents. The cost of twilight is $7 for residents and $5 for non-residents.
Hours: Hail Quarry Beach is open daily from May 27 to August 13. Check the park district website for hours of operation.
This family-friendly beach has lots of fun for everyone, including a kiddy channel, sandy beach and swimming area, slide, inflatables, large picnic areas, concession stands, and sand volleyball courts.
Illinois State Beach, Zion
ADDRESS: 1 Lake Front Drive, Zion
Cost: The Illinois Department of Natural Resources does not charge an entrance fee to any state owned or operated land, but sites with beaches do charge $1 per day per person for beach use only.
The long and beautiful beach is located in the Illinois Beach State Park, which stretches 6.5 miles along the sandy shore of Lake Michigan. Illinois Beach is the only remaining coastline in the state with dunes and marshes, extensive swamps, oak forests, and a wide variety of animal life and vegetation, making it a great park to explore, according to the IDNR website. . There are hiking and biking trails, camping, and more in the park. There are no lifeguards on the beach.
For our city readers, or those suburbanites looking to hit Chicago’s beaches this summer, here’s a roundup of the best Chicago has to offer (click the links for more information):
Oak Street Beach, 1000 N. Lake Shore Drive in Chicago
Oakwood Beach, 4100 South Lake Shore Drive in Chicago
Rainbow Beach Park, 3111 E. 77th St. in Chicago
Osterman Beach, 5800 North Jean-Baptiste Pointe DuSable Lake Shore Drive in Chicago
North Avenue Beach, 1601 N. Jean-Baptiste Pointe DuSable Lake Shore Drive in Chicago
Margaret T. Burroughs Beach, 3100 S. Lake Shore Drive in Chicago
South Shore Beach, 7059 S. South Shore Drive in Chicago
57th Street Beach, 5700 South Lake Shore Drive in Chicago
Foster Beach, 5200 N. Lake Shore Drive in Chicago
Montrose Beach, 4400 N. Lake Shore Dr. in Chicago
Did we miss your favorite suburban beach? Tell us about it in the comments section.