The 4 Best Dog Beaches Near Chicago, IL

A dog happily walking along one of the dog beaches Chicago

Thinking of taking a refreshing swim with your pup in Chicago? There are a variety of dog beaches to choose from; all of which are Lake Michigan’s shores. 

Listed as one of the 5 Great Lakes of North America, Lake Michigan is known for having the longest length from North to South, spanning across multiple states. In the dog-friendly city of Chicago, it’s no surprise that portions of the lake’s shores have become well-loved dog beaches where pet parents can make lifelong memories with their canine best friends!

Ready to explore dog beaches in Chicago? Check out our list of captivating dog beaches near Chicago, where you and your canine best friend can dive into a true canine paradise.

What’s in This Guide?

 Pet parents enjoying the Montrose Dog Beach, one of the best dog beaches Chicago
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Montrose Beach’s Dog Beach

  • Location: 4697 Lawrence, W Wilson Dr, Chicago, IL | Area:  ~3.8 acres
  • Highlights:  dedicated off-leash dog beach, relatively larger area compared to other dog beaches, fenced, paid dog wash available 

Montrose Beach is a well-loved destination for boating enthusiasts, picnickers, swimmers, cyclists, and pet parents. Montrose Beach has a dedicated space, known as Montrose Dog Beach, where canines can have the best beach day ever.

Montrose Dog Beach is the first legal off-leash dog beach in Chicago. This Chicago dog beach has a chain-link fence but this does not fully enclose the dog-friendly area since the fence is subject to changes in the natural environment. For this reason, we recommend pet parents first ensure sufficient off-leash training and reliable recall for the safest experience. 

When the beach day is done, pet parents can use the nearby self-serve dog washing stations which are offered by Mutt Jackson. These stations include all the essentials needed for a  post-swim doggy bath: a dog washing compartment with swing doors, clean water, shampoo, and blow dryers.

All in all, the stunning views and convenient amenities of Montrose Beach’s Dog Beach make it one of the best dog beaches in Chicago. It’s the perfect setting for creating unforgettable moments for you and your pup!

Belmont Harbor Dog Beach

  • Location: 3500 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, Illinois | Area:  < 0.5acre
  • Highlights: dedicated off-leash dog beach, relatively smaller than Montrose Dog Beach fenced

Next on our list of dog beaches in Chicago is the Belmont Harbor Dog Beach. 

Belmont Harbor is a sought-after spot for families, boaters, and jet skiers (although it may not be as swimmer-friendly as waves can reach 6 - 9 feet in some areas!). 

Thankfully, amidst the intense energy of the Belmont Harbor,  there is a small peaceful spot set aside for playful pups. The Belmont Harbor Dog Beach offers a serene escape for dogs and their pet parents. The waves here are not as intense as in other spots in Belmont Harbor because this area has relatively more shallow water

Compared to Montrose Dog Beach, the Belmont Harbor Dog Beach is smaller — but some pet parents prefer smaller-sized dog beaches in Chicago like this since it allows them to easily watch over pups. In addition,  the fence of the Belmont Harbor Dog Beach is relatively more rigid than the fences of other dog beaches in Chicago featured here. The Belmont Harbor Dog Beach’s fence consists of cinder blocks and what looks to be wrought iron or steel — versus the typical chain-link fencing. 

All in all, Belmont Harbor Dog Beach offers a serene and secure experience for both pets and their loving canine companions, making it a must-see Chicago dog beach.

Pet parents and pups in Belmont Dog Beach, one of the best dog beaches in Chicago
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Foster Avenue Beach - Dog-Friendly Area

  • Location: 5200 N. Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL | Area:  < 1 acre
  • Highlights: dedicated off-leash dog beach, relatively smaller than Montrose Dog Beach but slightly larger than Belmont Harbor Dog Beach, fenced

Up next on our list of dog beaches in Chicago, we have Foster Avenue Beach’s Dog-Friendly Area. 

Foster Avenue Beach stands as a tranquil oasis for sunbathers, swimmers, picnickers, runners, and cyclers. The good news is that there’s a dedicated area where Fido can run free and take a dip. 

Foster Avenue Beach’s dog-friendly area is a well-loved Chicago dog beach that is under an acre in size, but offers enough space for dogs to run. Like other dog beaches in this article. The Foster Avenue Beach’s dog-friendly area offers access to Lake Michigan and is also fenced with a chain-link fence

All in all, Foster Avenue Beach’s dog-friendly area is a vibrant hotspot for a tail-wagging good time with your furry best friend.

Gillson Park Dog Beach

  • Location: 800 Gillson Park Dr. Wilmette IL |  Area: Unspecified
  • Highlights: dedicated off-leash dog beach on a peninsula, relatively larger area, fenced

Next on our list of dog beaches near Chicago is the Gillson Park Dog Beach. Though this dog beach near Chicago is more than half an hour’s drive away, it’s a worthy destination if you happen to be in the area or visiting Gillson Park. 

Gillson Park is a 60-acre expanse with trails, tennis courts, a harbor, beach access, and more. As such, it is a great destination for picnicking, hiking, cycling, outdoor sports, swimming, and sailing. On top of everything that Gillson Park has to offer, they also have a dedicated area for water-loving pups, known as the Gilllson Park Dog Beach. 

Gillson Park Dog Beach is a haven for playful pups seeking boundless fun in a lakeside haven. Among this list of dog beaches near Chicago, Gillson Park Dog Beach is the only one situated on a peninsula-like patch of land that extends further into the water. This dog beach is also bordered on two sides by rocky breakwaters, which help keep the water calm in the area so that pups can safely splash in calm waters. The shape of the land, along with the chain-link fence, allows for the area to be relatively more contained.

Note: One thing to note about the Gillson Park Dog Beach is that visitors will need to get a paid pass before visiting. It is best to obtain this pass in advance of your visit. 

All in all, Gillson Park Dog Beach is an inviting place that encourages pet parents to embrace the outdoors and share memorable moments with their canine family members.

Dogs sitting on Gillson Park Dog Beach, one of the dog beaches near Chicago
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Final Thoughts on Dog Beaches Near Chicago

This concludes our roundup of fantastic dog beaches near Chicago! Whether you’re a resident or looking to visit this vibrant city with your pup, these Chicago dog beaches are awesome places to check out. 

Our team at Sploot Vets has a few final reminders for you to have a safe and enjoyable time with your pup. When taking your dog swimming, don’t forget to dry your dog's ears. You can also use a veterinarian-recommended ear cleaner to prevent potential ear infections, especially in dogs with floppy ears.

Last but not least, make sure to stay on top of your dog’s vaccinations and parasite preventives against heartworm, canine intestinal worms, and so on. This proactive step safeguards your pup from bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections that can be transmitted by other dogs, carrier insects, or contaminated soil.

Note: Looking for a vet-preferred ear cleaner and heartworm preventives? Check out SplootRX, your online pet store and pharmacy in Chicago for vet-preferred pet supplies and medications!

Primary & Urgent Care Vet Clinic in Chicago

If you have any concerns about your pup’s health, we’re here for you! Sploot Veterinary Care is a trusted primary and urgent veterinarian in Chicago. We offer convenient scheduling with daily appointment availability in all of our Chicago vet clinics — which are open for extended hours, 365 days a year!

We have vet clinics in Logan Square and Roscoe Village, with more Chicago vet clinics opening this year! Schedule your appointment online or through the Sploot Vets app.

Till next time, we’re with you every pounce of the way!