Lake Michigan Beaches for Families and Kids

Lake Michigan has miles of beautiful shoreline with family-friendly beaches. Here are some of our favorites starting north in Wisconsin and going south to Indiana and Michigan, all within an easy drive of Chicago and the suburbs.

See these links for more summer water fun:
Chicagoland Water Parks and Pools
Chicago Park District pool locations

COUPONS to water parks and summer fun

Illinois

Illinois Beach State Park
dnr.state.il.us
Location: Zion. Six miles of beaches along with a campground, resort, hiking and biking trails and visitors’ center.

Waukegan Municipal Beach
www.visitlakecounty.org
One mile of sand groomed daily along with natural dunes. Swimming, volleyball, kite boarding and surfing. $20 for non-residents on weekends.

Gilson Park
www.wilmettepark.org
Location: Wilmette. Nearly 60 acres of park with sports, picnic areas, tot lot. Swimming is permitted in a lifeguard area only with fees. Dog beach at south end of park.

Evanston
www.cityofevanston.org
Five beaches open from 10:30am-7:30pm with a daily fee or season pass.

Zion bike trail Lake Michigan beach

Zion Bike Trail ©IL Dept of Natural Resources

 

Chicago Park District Beaches
Loyola Beach
www.cpdbeaches.com
Location: East Rogers Park. Nearly 2/3 mile walking trail along the beach and lakefront. Sculpture areas for sitting and slopes for children to play on with a playground just east of the Loyola Park field house. Pay parking available.

Kathy Osterman Beach (also known as Hollywood Beach)
www.cpdbeaches.com
Location: Edgewater. Beautiful water, white sands and great city views at the northernmost tip of Lincoln Park. New beachhouse and concession stand. The shallow water on the beach’s north is great for families. Limited street parking.

Montrose Beach, Harbor & Dog-friendly Beach
www.cpdbeaches.com
Location: Lincoln Park. Natural area with serene dunes and bird habitats. Sports including kiteboarding, surfing, kayaking, canoeing and access to the Lake Michigan Water Trail. Restaurant and free wifi. Pay parking lot along with street parking.

North Avenue Beach
www.cpdbeaches.com
Location: Lincoln Park. A unique beach house with upper decks and portholes for viewing the shoreline. One of Chicago’s most popular beaches with bikers, runners, walkers and rollerbladers. Many water sport rentals, restaurant and free wifi. Parking lot with pay gate.

Oak Street Beach
www.cpdbeaches.com
Location: Gold Coast/Streeterville neighborhood. The largest area of deep water swimming and best beach for volleyball with a number of tournaments held here. Very popular beach with limited street parking.

12th Street Beach
www.cpdbeaches.com
Location: Northerly Island Park just south of Adler Planetarium on Chicago’s Museum Campus. Parking lot with pay gate.

57th St. Beach
www.cpdbeaches.com
Location: Jackson Park near Hyde Park. This beach can be reached via a pedestrian underpass from the Museum of Science and Industry.

Illinois Dog-friendly beaches
Gilson Park in Willmette.
Evanston Dog Beach at Church St.
Montrose Beach in Chicago.

Indiana

West Beach
www.southshorecva.com
Location: Portage, IN. Family friendly beach with concessions, showers, picnic area. Parking lot.

Indiana Dunes State Park
www.southshorecva.com
Location: Chesterton, IN. Three miles of beach with forest and dunes. Concessions, picnic areas, parking lot.

Michigan

New Buffalo Public Beach
www.cityofnewbuffalo.org/citybeach.asp
Location: 100 Marquette Drive, New Buffalo, MI
Free. Parking $12

Oval Beach
www.saugatuck.com
Location: Take Perryman Street to the Oval Beach parking lot, or pay $1 to take the chain ferry from 528 Water Street in Saugatuck and walk .6 miles to the beach. Parking $10

Silver Beach County Park
www.berriencounty.org
Location: 101 Broad Street, St. JosephMI
Daily Entry Fee to Park at Silver Beach: $6 per vehicle for Berrien County residents; $12 per vehicle for non-residents.

Warren Dunes State Park
www.michigandnr.com
Location: 12032 Red Arrow Highway, Sawyer MI
Non-Resident Daily Pass $9

Wisconsin

North Beach
www.travelwisconsin.com
Location: Racine, WI. 50 acres with 2,500 feet or shoreline for swimming, fishing and picnicking. Concession stand, live music and kids’ playground. Free parking.

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