Some of the very best Chicago area beaches are in the SUBURBS! Check out these family-favorites, all in the suburbs.
For many families, leaving Chicago for the suburbs boils down to a few key considerations—namely, space, space and more space…plus the plus the A+ schools. But dig a little deeper and you’ll find a host of reasons Chitown moms and dads are heading to suburbia, most of which boil down to specific lifestyles—in other words, finding a ‘burb that syncs with their family’s unique wants, needs and passions. Passions that, increasingly, include beachfront living.
The Chicago suburbs, maybe surprisingly, are home to some of the best beaches anywhere. Because Lake Michigan feeds right into the greater Chicago area, families have access to endless waterfront fun and a relaxed, beach-inspired lifestyle—especially surrounding some of these top suburban beaches.
#1. Glencoe Beach (Glencoe, Cook County)
Hands down the jewel in the crown of the Glencoe Park District, Glencoe Beach is an incredible family hotspot open all summer long. Families can hang out on the sand, splash in the water or grab a paddle board, kayak or hobie catamaran and hit the surf—all are available at the Beach House for day-of rentals. There’s also a beachfront playground and opportunities to picnic and, even, camp out overnight if you’re family’s feeling extra adventurous.
Daily admission is just $7 for local residents age 15+ and $14 for non-residents—kids are $5 and $10, respectively. Many area families, though, opt for a season pass—get yours in early May and you’ll pay a discounted early bird rate. For the 2017 season, it was just $76 for the first family member, then $10 for every additional person.
#2. Illinois Beach State Park (Zion, Lake County)
This sandy beach stretches nearly seven miles along Lake Michigan and has consistently been voted one of the most beautiful natural settings in the U.S. The only remaining beach ridge shoreline in the state, Illinois Beach has incredible dunes, swales and marshes, plus plenty of oak trees, animals and flowers perfect for families who love life in the great outdoors.
For outdoorsy families, be sure to check out Dead River. This stream is blocked by sandbars during peak season but, when it’s not, you’ll spot tons of aquatic plants and fish, perfect for animal-loving kids. And, anytime, be sure to check out the rest of the 4,160-acre park—there are loads of opportunities for swimming, boating, hiking, camping and picnicking.
#3. Rosewood Beach (Highland Park, Lake County)
Part of the Park District of Highland Park, Rosewood Beach is an award-winning beach on the Lake Michigan shore. The beach was reopened in June 2015 after a massive renovation. Today, Rosewood Beach is a popular hotspot, completely restored—and, now, better than ever. Rosewood includes everything from a fun family beach open all season long to a full nature cove and public nature programs, a recreation beach, a guarded swimming beach and an expansive boardwalk with food, activities and more. In summer 2017, Rosewood even introduced stand-up paddle boarding—beach-goers can reserve a board and hit the water.
Even in the off-season, Rosewood Beach is the place to be. In November, for example, Rosewood is hosting a luau, open to the public. Check the beach’s website for more information and to order season passes.
#4. Gillson Park (Wilmette, Cook County)
One of the most popular spots in the Wilmette Park District, Gillson Beach offers 60 acres of lakefront access. Families can swim in designated areas, or can head over to Langdon Park Beach for more in-water options. Got a four-legged friend? Gillson Dog Beach is adjacent—be sure your pup has a beach permit tag so he can go off-leash in the designated area between the pier and the harbor mouth.
Gillson also boasts dedicated areas for picnicking and, even, a sailing beach where rentals and lessons are available. Families can rent sailboats day-of, grab racquets and hit the beach’s tennis courts or, in the off-season, skate on Gillson’s lighted ice rink.
That’s just the beginning—the Chicago suburbs are filled with great waterfront access and fun, relaxing options for beach-going families. Ask your Strategist for more information, then grab your SPF and get ready for family weekends soaking up the sun and sand.
How we compiled our round up: We tapped our Suburban Jungle Strategists and Locals to share their “best of” rankings. From here, we layered in rankings, reviews and reports from Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor and Chicago Traveler to get our list.
Suburban Jungle is an award-winning firm that specializes in moving families from urban to suburban. The company’s innovative “town first” approach helps buyers find the right suburb for their family based on personality and lifestyle, not just the house. Services are FREE and fully customized to each family and their unique journey. To learn more and to connect with a Suburbs Strategist, and find the place your family truly fits in visit www.suburbanjunglerealty.com and click GET STARTED.