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Lake Michigan Beach In Chicago

Oval Beach In Saugatuck Mi

Beverly Shores homeowners battle Lake Michigan beach erosion | ABC7 Chicago

Were not here to argue with Conde Nast Traveler, which named Saugatuck, Michigans Oval Beach one of the 25 best beaches in the world in 2015. Here, youll find theres still plenty of dune buggy-riding action to be had, if thats your thing, as well as ample soft sand to toss your beach blanket upon. Want to travel across the water and back in time all at once? Treat yourself to a ride on the Saugatuck Chain Ferry, which glides riders over the waves with help from a chain-and-pulley systemthe last of its kind in America.

Lake Michigan: Freshwater Playground

With about 1000 miles of freshwater from which to choose, youll love exploring this stunning Great Lake in Michigan. From gorgeous beaches and bustling beach towns to endless miles of quiet dune trails and wide-open vistas, the entire coast is an adventure waiting to happen.

If you need a Michigan trip idea, weve got everything you need to plan your Lake Michigan beach vacation: thebest sandy beaches thebest winery tours tours of craft breweries cabin rentals campgrounds on Lake Michigan and the best Lake Michigan beach towns.

Ive lived in Michigan my entire life and grew up splashing along the shores. Let me share some insiders tips to help you discover this magical Michigan shoreline.

Read on and use our Lake Michigan Travel Guide to help you plan an amazing visit!

Lake Maxinkuckee In Culver In

Stake out a sandy spot in Culver Park on the shores of Lake Maxinkuckee, the second-largest natural lake in Indiana. Rent a kayak and paddle along the shore to the east, where the stately buildings of Culver Academy loom over the lake, and then return to your beach blanket to enjoy a frosty root beer float from The Original Root Beer Stand, whose charming neon signage shines from just across the street.

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Fantastic Win Or Costly Land Grab

Conservationists cheered the decision as a legal victory that not only staved off privatizing much of the 45-mile stretch of Lake Michigan but also gave beachgoers permission to, at minimum, walk up to the natural high water mark. A new state bill could broaden these rights to include fishing, sunbathing and even playing volleyball in front of private lakefront property.

The Indiana Supreme Court ruling was a fantastic win for the people of Indiana, because it means that anyone who wants to walk along Lake Michigan can do so with freedom and without being concerned about doing something illegal, said Joel Brammeier, president of the nonprofit Alliance for the Great Lakes.

The universal truth here is that everybody has a right to some level of recreational access on the lake shoreline whether you are next to private or public property, he said. This varies from state to state. But theres a baseline obligation, that those coastal lands will be protected for the people of each state.

Beachfront owners, like Cahnman, see the state Supreme Court ruling as an unconstitutional and costly land grab.

They are basically taking my land which is worth a lot of money without compensation, Cahnman said.

The state of Indiana is saying, OK, you own it, but the public can do anything they want on it, Cahnman continued. Its like owning a house but anyone can play on your front yard. Well, whats the point in owning it?

Indiana legislators are also pushing back.

Kathy Osterman Beach/hollywood Beach

Chicago Lakefront Trail, Lake Michigan

Lincoln Park

| Website | Parking: No on-site parking, parking available at 1020 West Ardmore Avenue, and limited street parking | Where to Stay Nearby: Chicago Getaway Hostel

Also known as the Hollywood Beach, Kathy Osterman Beach is on the northern edge of Lincoln Park, next to Edgewater. Located on the northern end of Lake Shore Drive, its a fairly small beach with many great amenities, such as a fishing pier and volleyball court.

The Kathy Osterman Beach is a great beach for swimming since the waters are shallow and gentle. Birdwatchers will love the opportunity to see bunches of migratory birds nearby in the spring and autumn seasons.

Sandwiched between Hollywood Avenue and Ardmore Avenue, this beach boasts beautiful scenery in the form of the stunning Chicago skyline.

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Where To Start Your Lake Michigan Vacation Adventure

This gorgeous coast extends from Sawyer and New Buffalo in the south all the way to the Mackinac Bridge. The north shore of Lake Michigan the Upper Peninsula is equally beautiful with a diverse coastline from St. Ignace to Manistique to Escanaba.

The coast is dotted with fun beach towns that swell with visitors through the summer and fall, and youll also find natural areas, unspoiled by development.

You can also find many beautiful bodies of water: inland lakes and rivers fed by the waters of Lake Michigan. These are all spots worth exploring.

Here is a brief guide to some of the must-see spots along the Lake Michigan coastline, you can click on each location find more information and an in-depth vacation guide to each spot on the map.

You can also use our interactive Michigan Travel and Beach Map for more places to visit in Michigan.

Exploring Lake Michigan From Chicago

Chicagos location on the shores of Lake Michigan makes it a great starting point for a circular road trip through the four US states that border the lake. As the only Great Lake that lies entirely within US borders, you can drive around the whole thing without having to do a border crossing into Canada. The driving distance around Lake Michigan is roughly 1,100 miles and will take about 15 hours without stopping. But of course, you will want to stop along the way, so its best to plan for about a week if you want to do the whole route!

You will pass through Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and a tiny bit of Indiana if you do the full road trip. However, it is possible to take shortcuts via car ferry between a couple of the stops on our list. You will also pass through small towns too numerous to mention here, so be sure to allow extra time to stop if you see something interesting. For those wanting a more outdoorsy trip, there are also several state parks and multiple opportunities for camping and outdoor pursuits around the lake.

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Lake Michigan Day Trips And More

If Chicago’s share of Lake Michigan has you eager to see more, consider a day trip or longer visit to these other lakefront destinations:

  • Drive the entire 900-mile Circle Tour around Lake Michigan. With no stops it would take approximately 14.5 hours, but breaking it up with an overnight stop or two is much more appealing.
  • See the world’s largest freshwater sand dunes at one of several parks, including Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Warren Dunes State Park in Michigan and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, also in Michigan.
  • Visit one of the many historic lighthouses along Lake Michigan. Just 13 miles from Chicago is the Grosse Point Light in Evanston, Ill.. A National Historic Landmark, it was built in 1873 and is now a maritime museum. The Waukegan Harbor Light in Waukegan, Ill., dates to 1889 and is still a working lighthouse.

Belmont Harbor Dog Beach

Rescuers revive girl pulled from Lake Michigan at 31st Street Beach


| Website | Parking: No on-site parking, parking available on Lake Shore Dr. for ~$15 | Where to Stay Nearby: The Willows Hotel

The Belmont Harbor Dog Beach is one of the few beaches in Chicago that is made for you and your dog. Your furry friend can play in the sand and water in a fenced-off area just for him, and you can watch from a bench.

This small beach is walking distance from Wrigley Field. If your dog does not have a lot of experience being around other dogs, then it would be a good idea to test the waters by bringing him here before taking him to a bigger and busier beach in Chicago.

Dont Forget to Pack: There isnt a lot of shade at Belmont Harbor Dog Beach, so a beach umbrella is a great idea for anyone who wants to stay cool and protect their skin. Also, check out this Chicago packing list for more ideas of what to bring!

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Lake Michigan Cabin Rentals

You can save a little money without sacrificing fun for your Michigan vacation rental, by exploring lodging options that are in town or not directly located on the water.

lf you dont mind staying in town or short distance from the water, there are beautiful accommodations awaiting you on the Lake Michigan freshwater coast.

In addition, many beachtowns along the coast offer lodging information through their visitors bureaus.

Local real estate offices, as well as agencies specializing in the Michigan vacation rentals are also great places to check.

Devils Lake In Baraboo Wi

Devils Lake State Park is Wisconsins most popular state parkand, you guessed it, theres a lake there. Take your pick between the north and south beaches , and prepare to be gobsmacked by the scenery everywhere you turn. Part of the Ice Age Trail, Devils Lake State Park is home to towering rock formations and lush, diverse plant life. Everywhere you look is a stunner.

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Best Beaches On Lake Michigan

Written by Michael LawSep 3, 2021

Lake Michigan is home to some of the Great Lake’s best and most unique beaches. Miles and miles of golden sand run up and down the east and southern shorelines, drawing summer visitors looking to escape the heat.

Beaches on Lake Michigan’s east coast are frequently backed by sand dunes, making them fun to explore. In some cases, behind the dunes are small lakes where the water warms up, making swimming a much more pleasant endeavor than the chilly waters of the big lake.

Beach areas range from urban centers in the heart of Chicago to beach towns that spring to life each summer, right through to lonely stretches of sand, where the only sound is the waves crashing on the shore.

In general, you’ll find the beaches have bathhouses, washrooms, picnic tables, and shelters. Depending on the size and popularity of the beach, a concession may be selling food and drinks. Lifeguards keep a close eye on bathers at some beaches but not all, so be sure to check if you aren’t a strong swimmer or have small children.

The best beaches in Michigan are in state or national parks, so be prepared to pay a fee to enter and possibly to park.

Note: Some businesses may be temporarily closed due to recent global health and safety issues.

Indiana Dunes State Park

Chicago Beaches

Indiana Dunes State Park has some of the closest natural beaches to the major population centers on Lake Michigan. Just over an hour from the center of Chicago, the park’s 15 miles of sandy beach provide a pleasant escape from the city heat.

The park has eight named beaches which one to choose is up to you. One of the most popular is West Beach, where you’ll find picnic tables, a bathhouse, restrooms, and lifeguards on duty. Nearby Porter Beach is less busy and equally as beautiful. If you’d like a bit of activity in addition to your beach time, hike the Dune Ridge Trail at Kemil Beach.

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Best Lake Michigan Beaches For Families: The Top Kid Friendly Coastlines

  • Sandy Allen

Located along the rugged coastlines of Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana, Lake Michigan provides recreation and family-friendly fun for all ages.

The landscape ranges from soft quartz sand and green seagrasses to rocky shorelines and gigantic sand dunes.

The third largest of the Great Lakes, Lake Michigan is the largest freshwater lake in the United States.

Because of this, its sometimes called the third coast, after the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

Its beaches are found in national, state and city parks.

If youre looking for a Lake Michigan beach near you, keep reading to find the best Lake Michigan beaches for families.

Lake Geneva In Lake Geneva Wi

Whether youre in Lake Geneva, WI for the first or the fortieth time, it can be difficult to tear your eyes away from the palatial lakeshore homes and remember that oh, yeah, theres a lake there. Our favorite spot to enjoy the waves : Big Foot Beach State Park, which boasts sandy beaches, wooded walking trails, and campsites for rent, just in case youre that outdoorsy.

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Stop : Indiana Dunes State Park

Indiana Dunes State Park is our only stop in Indiana and is less than an hour from Chicago. The state park combined with the Indiana Dunes National Park is known for miles of beaches where you can swim and partake in water sports, hiking, camping, nature reserves and much more. Its a worthy last stop on an epic road trip!

The Ss Badger Carferry

Teenager pulled from Lake Michigan at Waukegan beach

This carferry, named the S.S. Badger, operates May through mid-October and travels between ports at Ludington, Michigan and Manitowoc, Wisconsin.

The carferry crosses the lake comfortably, and each trip averages about 4.5 hours an offers a range of accommodations.

A cruise on the SS Badger from the carferry port in Manitowoc to the port in Ludington Michigan is a great way to travel across Lake Michigan for all ages, and provides a shortcut for travelers hoping to avoid the traffic of Chicago and Milwaukee.

Its worth noting that this historic badger carferry is designated a continuance of route U.S.10, a highway which traverses the Midwest beginning in Michigan.

The SS Badger carferry is a majestic sight when its visiting port, and people gather in Ludington to watch as it ferry across Lake Michigan, bringing visitors and their automobiles.

As the last coal-fired passenger vessel operating on the Great Lakes, and was designated a National Historic Landmark.

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Everything You Need To Know About Chicagos Beautiful Beaches

  • Total2

Chicago boasts 22 miles of shoreline,comprising about 35-percent of the Illinois coast. Along the pristine waters ofLake Michigan, youll find beach walks and trails for biking, walking and picnickingalong grassy areas. To the north, small street-end beaches offer quiet respitesfrom bustling city life, though many lack facilities.

To the south, acres of parkland surround sandybeaches, many with impressive club houses and changing rooms as well as greatviews of the Chicago skyline. And in the heart of the city, youll find some ofthe most visited beaches in the midwest. Grab your sunblock and get ready for aday on the shore.

A Lawsuit Waiting To Happen

Over the years, lawyers say they have heard complaints about an unnamed beach in front of an Edgewater condominium.

In online listings, the condo is advertised to have a private beach. The shoreline is fenced off with a sign reading No Trespassing. In recent years, members of the public have been kicked off the beach in what one Chicago attorney described as a lawsuit waiting to happen.

As far as access to the beach by the Edgewater condominium, Illinois Department of Natural Resources spokesman Ed Cross said the public would have the right to use Lake Michigan, as long as they are in the water.

The department couldnt immediately confirm its policy on lakefront barriers.

Fencing from condominiums along the 900 block of West Rosemont Avenue in Chicagos Edgewater neighborhood block public access to the Lake Michigan shoreline on Feb. 28, 2019.

Smith said barriers blocking access to the shoreline are frowned upon, and it would almost certainly require the agencys approval.

You cant put up a fence that intrudes on public trust rights or one that goes down to the waters edge or beyond without the permission of the DNR, Smith said. The shoreline is in flux, so you cannot allow people to start walling things off and claiming beach everytime you have low lake levels. To be consistent, you would have to take fence away every time it rises.

Last year, the first brouhaha to reach Indianas highest court finally ended the debate in the Hoosier state.


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Best Beaches In Chicago

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  • Gold Coast

One of Chicago’s most popular places to sunbathe, this Gold Coast beach has volleyball tournaments, a restaurant and a spectacular view of the skyline. On your way to this stretch of sand, seek out Jeff Zimmermann’s colorful mural “You Know What You Should Do” by the Oak Street Beach underpassit’s meant as a reminder to avoid feeding wildlife and littering.

Amenities: concessions, chair rentals, volleyball, Wi-Fi, bike rentals, restrooms, lifeguard first aid station

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  • South Shore

Part of the 142-acre Rainbow Park, this South Side beach sits next to one of Chicago’s oldest public gardens, the Rainbow Beach Victory Garden. The northern edge of this beach is home to the 10.2-acre Rainbow Beach Dunes, a natural area managed by the Chicago Park District that hosts plants and wildlife native to the shores of Lake Michigan.

Amenities: concessions, playground, restrooms, lifeguard first aid station, Wi-Fi, gym, fitness center, volleyball, handball courts

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  • Lincoln Park

Ever-popular during the summer months, North Avenue Beach features a quirky beach house inspired by a beached ocean liner. Visitors can hit the volleyball courts, grab a snack or rent a bike. Be warned: North Avenue is one of the busiest beaches in the city, so you’ll have to stake out your spot on the sand as early as you can.

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  • Bronzeville/Oakland
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  • Edgewater
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  • South Side
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  • Bronzeville/Oakland
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  • North Side

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