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Top 10 Dog-Friendly Beaches in Illinois in 2024: Off & On-Leash Places to Go

Written by: Jessica Kim

Last Updated on April 10, 2024 by Dogster Team

Top 10 Dog-Friendly Beaches in Illinois in 2024: Off & On-Leash Places to Go

Illinois is a relatively dog-friendly state with many public places that allow dogs. However, when it comes to beaches, it can be a bit of a challenge to find ones that allow dogs. For example, out of the many beaches in Chicago, only two allow dogs onsite.

If you’re interested in spending some time outdoors with your dog in Illinois, your best bet is to find parks with dog-friendly areas. Fortunately, there are several areas all throughout the state that have swimming spots for dogs. Here are some of the best dog-friendly beaches and swimming areas for dogs that you can find in Illinois.

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The 10 Dog-Friendly Beaches in Illinois

1. Montrose Dog Beach

Address: 601 W Lawrence Ave, Chicago, IL
Open Times: Year-round
Cost: Free, but DFA tag is required
Off-Leash: Yes, from 6:00 AM–11:00 PM
  • One of two dog-friendly beaches in Chicago
  • The largest dog-friendly beach in Chicago and is 3.83 acres
  • Fences may have holes in some areas, so watch out for escape artists
  • Cleanup area for dogs is on site

2. Belmont Harbor Beach

Address: Belmont & Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL
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
  • Smaller and more secluded beach in Chicago
  • Can get crowded on weekends
  • Free parking available west of Lake Shore Drive
  • Secure fencing keeps dogs inside

3. Centennial Park Dog Beach

Address: 225 Sheridan Rd, Winnetka, IL 60093
Open Times: April – October
Cost: $50 annual membership fee, $200 non-resident fee
Off-Leash: Yes, from 6:00 AM–10:00 PM
  • Situated near a quaint park that allows leashed dogs
  • Must always have your pass with you for every visit
  • Children under 10 years old aren’t allowed in the dog beach
  • Finding parking for non-residents may be challenging

4. Gillson Dog Beach

Address: Harbor Dr, Wilmette, IL
Open Times: Year-round
Cost: $43 annual permit for residents and $218 annual permit for non-residents
Off-Leash: Yes, from 6:00 AM–10:30 PM
  • A clean and well-kept beach that feels private and secluded
  • Swimming in the dog beach area is reserved for dogs only
  • Can be difficult for non-residents to find nearby parking

5. Moraine Dog Beach

Address: 2501 Sheridan Rd, Highland Park, IL
Open Times: April – November
Cost: Annual membership fees (amount varies)
Off-Leash: Yes
  • Must purchase membership pass; daily passes aren’t available
  • Parking permits are required for nearby parking
  • Location is popular on weekends and can get very crowded
  • The surrounding neighborhood is family-friendly and has a lot of community activities

6. Sunrise Park and Beach

Address: Sunrise Ave & Scranton Ave, Lake Bluff, IL
Open Times: Memorial Day – Labor Day
Cost: $20 annual membership fee
Off-Leash: Yes, from 9:00 AM–8:30 PM
  • Photo ID is required to enter the beach
  • Beach shelters are available, but dogs must be leashed
  • Beach showers available onsite

7. North Marcum Beach

https://www.instagram.com/p/a38OrKmOeg/

Address: 11231 Marcum Branch Rd, Benton, IL
Open Times: Year-round
Cost: Free
Off-Leash: Yes
  • Surrounding areas contain a lot of wildlife
  • Leashed dogs are allowed on hiking trails
  • Family-friendly area with a lot of outdoor activity options available

8. Beck Lake Dog Park

https://www.instagram.com/p/CQKcj-bHKy_/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Address: 1000 E River Rd, Des Plaines, IL
Open Times: Year-round
Cost: $60 per dog for Cook County residents and $120 per dog for non-residents
Off-Leash: Yes, from sunrise to sunset
  • Dogs are allowed to run off-leash on about 40 acres of land
  • Dogs are allowed to swim in a large pond
  • Membership involves access to two other dog-friendly areas
  • Leashed dogs are allowed on hiking trails

9. Coles Creek Beach

Address: 16225 Coles Creek Rd, Carlyle, IL 62231
Open Times: Year-round
Cost: Free
Off-Leash: Yes, in dog-friendly area
  • Lake is located near a campsite
  • Group picnic shelters available for reservation
  • Many opportunities for outdoor activities and sports nearby

10. Batavia Bark Park

Address: 40W101 Main St, Batavia, IL 60510
Open Times: Year-round
Cost: Free
Off-Leash: Yes, from 6:00 AM–11:00 PM
  • Dog park is a part of a spacious 58.4-acre of outdoor recreational land
  • Dogs are allowed to swim in a pond
  • The swimming area is calm and a good spot for dogs learning to swim

dogster paw dividerFinal Thoughts

While most beaches in Illinois don’t allow off-leash dogs, you can find a good number of dog beaches located near lakes and ponds. Keep in mind that most of these beaches require memberships for safety reasons. So, make sure to check each location’s website before visiting so that you have all the updated information you will need for entry.


Featured Image Credit: Olesya Kuprina, Shutterstock

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