best dog friendly beaches in Chicago

The Top 10 Dog Friendly Beaches in Chicago

Lily Velez
By Lily Velez
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The Top 10 Dog Friendly Beaches in Chicago

Pet travelers are the latest to blow into the Windy City to occupy Chicago’s pet-friendly beaches with their four-legged travel companion. Beach season in Chicago means the Lake Michigan shores are lined with beachcombers and pets leaving behind paw prints of all sizes in the sand.

Chicago’s Gold Coast is lined with pristine sand, offering views of the clear waters of the lake set against the backdrop of the Chicago skyline. Take a ride down Lake Shore Drive to stop by the urban beaches, retreat to the beaches on the northern shore for a quiet, relaxing pet beach day, or explore other beaches in the area.

There are tons of options in the pet-friendly city of Chicago, so here are a few beaches you’ll want to check out.

And remember, whenever your dog is participating in a water activity, be sure to keep them safe with a dog life jacket or other flotation device.

 

Belmont Harbor Beach

dog friendly Belmont Harbor Beach

Set at one of Chicago’s largest harbors, the Belmont Harbor Beach gives visitors a plot of beach sand to set on the lakefront. So, let your dog’s beach fantasy become a reality at this small city beach.

There’s always activity going on at Belmont Harbor Beach. Yachts and fishing boats cruise in and out of the harbor, creating waves that wash up on the shores of Belmont Harbor Beach. Dogs always accompany their owners on boat trips, but not without stopping by the Belmont Harbor Beach. Its proximity to the harbor makes it great for boat dogs.

Walk along the Lakefront Path, and you will run into the Belmont Harbor Beach. The small sandy beach is fenced in so your dog can play safely. Toss a tennis ball around the shore, and no worries if it rolls into the lake because it’s shallow enough for a quick doggy paddle to retrieve it. The waters are always great for swimming—when the weather is nice.

Belmont Harbor Beach is a spotlight beach for the local dog community that’s active in getting the beach declared as a leash-free zone.

Address: US-41 & W Belmont Ave. Chicago, IL 60657

 

Montrose Dog Beach

dog friendly Montrose Dog Beach

Doors for pets living and visiting Chicago have forever been opened thanks to the pioneering Montrose Dog Beach. It’s a beach that pets will always cherish since it is Chicago’s first off-leash beach. Now, pets can experience unlimited fun on the beach.

Your pet will tug on its leash while approaching the Montrose Dog Beach in anticipation for it to be unhooked and able to run freely. Reaching down to unclip the leash is like confirmation for your pet to make a wild dash towards Lake Michigan. Dollops of blonde sand fly up from your dog’s paws as it reaches the calm blue lake waters. Go swimming in the clear water or take advantage of the large beach to run in packs with other four-legged beachcombers. If you’re lucky to stop by on the weekends, you can grab snacks from the dog food trucks parked alongside the beach.

The local MonDog organization cares for Montrose Dog Beach. Help them keep it clean by utilizing the onsite dog wash and waste bags provided. Their mission is to create a fun, safe environment for pets, and their Montrose Dog Beach project achieves it well.

Address: 610 W Lawrence Ave Chicago, IL 60640

 

Sunrise Park & Beach

With the sun rising in the east, the Lake Michigan shores are an excellent place to watch the sunrise. Make the morning even more magical with your pet by your side at Sunrise Park and Beach to witness the sky waking up.

The sun peeks over the lake horizon to cast its morning glow over the golden sands at Sunrise Beach. It’s almost surprising that these million-dollar views are free and open to the public to see with pets. So, in the first daylight, have your morning swim in the clear blue lake waters or continue down the shore waving along the tide line.

Sunrise Park and Beach is located just outside Chicago for a more natural beach experience away from the big city. The six-acre park focuses on recreation with facilities like basketball courts, a baseball field, and walks along the lake bluffs. It’s a place for the entire family with everything from a kids pool and playground to a dog beach.

When arriving at Sunrise Park, walk down the wooden stairs that lead to the beach. You’ll find the designated section for dogs north past the gate.

Address: 455 Sunrise Drive. Lake Bluff, IL 60044

 

Evanston Dog Beach

On a hot summer Chicago day, there will be a lot of competition to get a spot on the Lake Michigan shoreline in Chicago. Save yourself the hassle and guarantee your pet the beach day you’ve promised nearby at Evanston Dog Beach. After years of closure due to lake flooding, it re-opened to welcome pets back to its shores.

The rapid tail wagging means your dog is ready to take off its leash and play like the other beach dogs. Friendly dogs have no issue making new furry pals, and pet owners gravitate toward each other for a nice conversation about their pets. However, if you want some one-on-one time with your pet for a game of fetch, plenty of shoreline provides you with running and tossing space.

Evanston Dog Beach is highly regulated. It requires pets to receive an official beach pass from the Evanston City Administrative Offices. And those visiting with multiple pets must have a pass for each pet. The good news is that the pass lasts for the entire season because your pet will surely want to return after having such an enjoyable day.

Address: 1631 Sheridan Rd, Evanston, IL 60201

 

Foster Avenue Dog Beach

Is your dog social? Does it enjoy meeting new pet pals? If you answered yes to these questions, then Foster Avenue Dog Beach is the one for you. It’s one of the pet-friendly beaches on Lakeshore Drive that carves out the perfect slice of the shore for dogs.

There isn’t much shore at Foster Avenue Dog Beach. However, it makes up for its size by creating an intimate setting for pet parents and pets to get well-acquainted with each other. You’ll strike up friendly chats with other pet owners while keeping an eye on your pet exploring the shore. It’s a spotless beach, so it shouldn’t get its nose (or teeth) into something weird!

Check the status of the beach before you visit. The water levels significantly alter the small shore. Extreme high tides can completely hide the beach from view!

Foster Avenue Dog Beach is a part of Lincoln Park. Rent bikes and ride the beachfront with your pet jogging beside you. You’ll see the landmark beach house designed by E.V. Buchsbaum.

Address: 5301 N Lake Shore Dr Chicago IL 60640

 

Wilmette’s Dog Beach

If you think finding the perfect dog beach in Chicago is hard, wait until trying to get your pet to leave at the end of the day! Wilmette’s Dog Beaches is one such place where you may have to pry your pet’s paws out of the sand or tow them into shore from lake swimming. Because how can they not want to stay in such an ideal place?

Wilmette’s Dog Beach exposes dogs to the finer things about the beach life—a beach full of other dogs (especially in the morning) for meeting other local pups, running around together in packs, or outdoor recreation with their humans. Dogs of all sizes show that this dog beach gets a paw up regardless of the breed.

Stay near the southern end of the coastline at the lakefront Gillson Park to find Wilmette’s Dog Beach. Dogs must be on a leash less than 10 feet until reaching the beach, when you can take it off.

Address: 800 Gillson Park Drive Wilmette, IL 60091

 

Oak Street Beach

dog friendly Oak Street Beach

The spectacular Chicago skyline poses for you and your pet as the background to your day at Oak Street Beach. While taking a break from the upscale shopping boutiques on the Magnificent Mile, let your pet have some fun on the northside beach.

Beachgoers arrive with their whole family to play on the beach, yet dogs might be the most excited. Bronze sand covers the wide beach as it slopes into Lake Michigan. It’s spacious enough to play fetch or let your pet watch you in a game of beach volleyball. Swimming is permitted in the lake, but be mindful at this beach since it’s known for having deep water. However, the clear waters will let you see when the ocean floor begins to drop away.

When you’re finished with your beach recreation, delight yourselves in the more relaxing side of the beach. Rent beach chairs to set out for views of the lake and skyline.

Oak Street Beach sits right on Lake Shore Drive. Although dogs are welcome on the beach, they must remain on a leash.

Address: 1000 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60611

 

Moraine Dog Beach

Chicago’s northern suburbs are an excellent place to retreat when looking for a change of scenery. Tall skyscrapers become woodland trees with a well-beaten pathway leading to the Moraine Dog Beach. This beach is a quiet escape away from the urban beaches while still giving your dog the opportunity to swim in Lake Michigan.

Between April and November, the seasonal Moraine Dog Beach opens its shows to canines every year. It’s the site of the historic Moraine Hotel, however, dogs are the latest to leave their legacy behind on the shore. Large and small dogs can run around the fenced area without their leash, which extends to the lakeshore. The gentle waters make doggy paddling fun and easy. Take cover when they shake themselves dry while simultaneously sending water flying in every direction!

Pets that want to visit Moraine Dog Beach must have proof of their vaccines and get registered through Moraine Park.

Address: 2501 Sheridan Rd, Highland Park, IL, US, 60035

 

Centennial Dog Beach

A water bowl, toys, and sunscreen for your pet are recommended if you want to maximize your day at Centennial Dog Beach. There are always pets enjoying beach games with their owners, yet there’s always space for more to join in the fun on the coast.

You’ll find nothing but pets on Centennial Dog Beach. It’s separated from the other beach for people, so don’t can run around leisurely without worrying about ruining someone’s beach escape. Instead, it’s a place where fun is encouraged, and feel free to glance at other owners playing with their pets for beach ideas. Pets less than the size of 25lbs must stay in the small pet designated area and large dogs in a different area.

Frisbees and tennis balls are always fun to toss around on the shore. Leap over holes dug up by dogs as they fetch their toy and return it to you. Cool off by swimming in the freshwater Lake Michigan. With the sun high in the sky, how about sunbathing on the beach with your pet? The sand is soft for setting out a towel to delight in the lakefront views on a beautiful day.

Address: 225 Sheridan Rd Winnetka IL 60093

 

North Marcum Beach

Take a day trip from Chicago to one of the best nearby pet-friendly beaches in Benton. You’ve already experienced the excitement along Lake Michigan, so the North Marcum Beach gives you a taste of another of the regions bodies of water.

North Marcum Beach sits on the shores of Rend Lake. It’s part of a larger recreational area with things to do for humans and their pets. Weekends are busy at the park with people exercising, playing sports, or having a picnic. The coast is one of the favorite features of the beach with visitors renting boats. With all this activity, it’s great that pets have their own space to play.

Off-leash fun awaits at North Marcum Beach, where your dog can swim in the calm lake waters or take a dog walk down the coast. Dogs are permitted on the entire coast except in areas designated “dog free.”

Address: 11231 Marcum Branch Rd, Benton, IL 62812