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4 Amazing Dog-Friendly Beaches in Chicago, IL in 2023

Jessica Kim

By Jessica Kim

a dog walked by its owner on a beach

While Illinois may seem landlocked in the Midwest, Chicago is home to many beautiful beaches located along Lake Michigan. Chicago is a relatively dog-friendly city, but it has very strict leash policies for beaches1. So, it’s important to get to know all the appropriate places where your dog is free to run around off-leash.

Fortunately, there are a few dog-friendly beaches in Chicago. Our list has all the information you need on dog beaches and some other safe alternatives for dogs that like making a splash.

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The 4 Dog-Friendly Beaches in Chicago, IL

1. Montrose Dog Beach

🗺️ Address: 📍4697 Lawrence, W Wilson Dr, Chicago, IL 60640
🕐 Open Times: Year-round
💲 Cost: Free, but Dog Friendly Area (DFA) tag registration is required ($10 for tag)
🐕 Off-Leash: Yes, from 6:00 AM – 11:00 PM
  • Largest dog beach in Chicago (3.83 acres)
  • Fences run along three sides of the beach
  • All dogs must have updated vaccination records
  • Three dogs per one person are allowed
  • Clean-up area and wash station on site

2. Belmont Harbor Beach

Belmont Harbor Dog Beach
Image Credit: foursquare
🗺️ Address: 📍Belmont & Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL
🕐 Open Times: Year-round
💲 Cost: Free, but DFA tag is required
🐕 Off-Leash: Yes, from 6:00 AM – 11:00 PM
  • A smaller beach that’s great for small dogs or more timid dogs
  • Beach is fully fenced
  • There’s little shade, so make sure to bring an umbrella and sunscreen
  • Free parking Monday – Saturday
  • Located in a fun neighborhood with unique local restaurants and shops

3. Foster Avenue Beach

Foster Beach
Image Credit: chicagoparkdistrict
🗺️ Address: 📍5301 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL
Open Times: Memorial Day – Labor Day
Cost: Free, but DFA tag required
Off-leash allowed?: Yes, but only in dog-friendly area
  • Separate off-leash dog-friendly area near beach
  • Restroom available on site
  • Can be difficult to find free parking
  • Close to Montrose Dog Beach

4. Evanston Dog Beach

🗺️ Address: 📍1631 Sheridan Rd, Evanston, IL
🕐 Open Times: Spring – Fall
💲 Cost: Annual $50 membership fee
🐕 Off-Leash: Yes, from 5:00 AM – 10:00 PM
  • Must have an approved member application form before entering
  • $50 fee for the first dog and $10 fee per additional dog
  • Ample parking is available at Evanston’s Pooch Park (2.7 acres)
  • The city of Evanston is working on developing a new dog beach in a better location

Alternatives to Dog Beaches

1. Doggy Paddle

Want to go to Doggy Paddle
Image Credit: doggypaddle
🗺️ Address: 📍1430 W Willow St, Chicago, IL
🕐 Open Times: Monday – Friday 8:00 AM – 9:00 PM, Saturday – Sunday 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
💲 Cost: $100-$240 monthly membership fee
🐕 Off-Leash: Yes
  • Safer, indoor swimming pool for dogs new to swimming
  • Offers swimming lessons, group fitness swims, and wellness swims for rehab
  • No sign-up or cancellation fees
  • Private lessons available for shy dogs
  • Salt-water and UV aquatics system keeps the water safe for dogs

2. Pet Care Plus


🗺️ Address: 📍350 N Laflin St, Chicago, IL
🕐 Open Times: April – October
💲 Cost: $10 per dog
🐕 Off-Leash: Yes
  • Heated saltwater dog pool with gradual entry
  • Webcams in all play spaces
  • Reserve pool parties for up to 20 dogs
  • Discount swimming packages are available
  • Facility also offers boarding, daycare, and grooming services

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Although Chicago is a bustling city, there are plenty of spaces where you can let your dog play in the water. The dog beaches are perfect for hot and sunny summers, and indoor pools are great alternatives for dogs that want to swim during the cold winters. So, if swimming is a form of exercise that your dog enjoys, you can find several excellent options for letting your dog swim all year long.

Featured Image Credit: Juice Verve, Shutterstock

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