Best Summer Swimming Spots around Chicago

There’s nothing quite like a delicious dunk in a cool body of water to fight the Summer heat. Chicago and its surrounding areas have an abundance of swimming spots to choose from ranging from sprawling nature preserves to smaller beaches tucked away in the city.

Whether you’re looking to make a quick pit stop or turn your outing into an all-day affair you’ll find five spots below that aim to quench your thirst and pave the way for a lovely Summer day. Read on for more information on commuting, costs, and other important logistics for each location.

  1. Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary 2000 W. Montrose Harbor Drive Chicago, IL 60660

Located in Lincoln Park, the Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary offers shady relief with its impressive foliage and beautiful bird watching (over 300 observed bird species to date)! Take a stroll on the sanctuary paths then make your way to nearby Montrose Beach for some classic sand and swim, or find a spot on the Lakeshore path steps with direct access to the water. Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary is free to the public, offers accessible parking and walking paths, and is close to public transit. Don’t forget your binoculars!

photo sources:; google images

  1. Whiting Lakefront Park/Whihahla Beach 1500 Park Road Whiting, IN 46394

If you’re looking for a change of scenery this park and beach are located in Whiting, Indiana which is about 30 minutes south of downtown Chicago. The park itself includes recreational spaces such as tennis courts, a grilling area, and biking trails amongst other offerings. Whihala beach is more mellow than its city beach counterparts and provides a clear view of the Chicago skyline. Whihahla beach is open everyday from 10 am to 6 pm and is dog friendly. Commuting by car is the most optimal way to access the area and parking is $20/per day per vehicle. 

photo sources: google maps, google images

  1. 63rd Street Beach, 6300 S Lakeshore Drive Chicago, IL 60637

Located between Woodlawn and Hyde Park, 63rd Street Beach is 1 of 2 beaches in Jackson Park and is one of the oldest beaches in Chicago. This beach is jam-packed with amenities including a snack bar, boat rentals, and a historic beach house with changing rooms. If you’re looking to explore the area more the beautiful Garden of Phoenix and impressive Jackson Bark dog park are a quick walk from the beach. 63rd street beach is free to the public and is close to public transportation. 

photo sources: google maps, google images

  1. Leone Beach, 1222 W Touhy Ave Chicago IL 60626

A hidden gem in Rogers Park, Leone Beach is a well-rounded swim haven that tends to be less crowded than other city beach destinations. From long-distance swimming to affordable food stands you can easily unravel over the course of a day here. You can even go beach hopping and head to Loyola Beach and Lunt Beach which are close neighbors of Leone Beach. Leone Beach is open everyday from 6 am to 11 pm, is close to public transportation, and is free to the public. 

photo sources: google maps, google images

  1. Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois Beach State Park, Lake Front Drive Zion IL 60099

Last but not least, the Illinois Beach State Park is a 4,160-acre park that attracts naturalists and recreationalists alike. This state park offers up a nice slice of midwestern terrain including dunes, marshes, and prairies. The Illinois State Park is also ideal for hiking, fishing, camping, and boating if you’re looking for a wide range of Summer fun. Access to the state park is free. If you plan on camping be sure to make reservations ahead of time. The Illinois State Park includes a handful of accessibility measures such as wheel chair accessible picnic tables, toilets, and showers. 

photo sources: google maps, google images

This list provides just a sliver of your swimming options around Chicago. Wherever you end up, your best bet for a smooth swimming experience is checking online ahead of time to scope out details like daily water conditions and hours of operation. Swim, explore, and stay hydrated! 

– Shea Anthony, July 2022

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