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The Top Dog Beach in Chicago

Dog running on beach near Lake Michigan
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Chicago in the summer is a wonderful experience as folks from all over the city and beyond flock to the great beaches and mild temperatures. And what better way to make the most of your beach trip then to bring along your furry friend?

Read on to find out our recommendation for the top dog beach Chicago has to offer.

Montrose Harbor Dog Beach

The Montrose Dog Beach is Chicago’s first legal off-leash beach. This dog beach is located on the Northwest corner of Montrose Beach (the point closest to the city).

There’s a handicap accessible ramp located in the boat launch, or the old entrance to the beach is to the right (south) of the boat launch, at the end of the path, and down the rock wall. The Dog Beach is open during all regular Chicago Park District hours, roughly from sun-up till 9 P.M. Morning hours are the most popular with dog beach users.

The dog beach itself is free, but Dog Friendly Area (DFA) tags are required for all dogs, and that will cost you $5.

Belmont Harbor

This dog beach is much smaller than Montrose, but still a great place with lots to offer. Because of its size, this beach area can get crowded, especially on the weekends. Parking is $10 on Sundays and the beach itself is free to enter.

If your pup is a swimmer, make sure to keep a careful eye as boats often get close to this area. Finally, there is not a cleanup area here, so be prepared with some towels to lay down in your vehicle for the drive home.

Evanston Dog Beach

The Winnetka Park District operates an off-leash dog beach at Centennial Park. Anyone wishing to bring his/her dog to the dog beach must have a valid pass. Passes may be purchased at the Administrative Offices, 540 Hibbard Rd and cost $60 for residents for the year.

Pet owners rave about this off-leash dog beach, which is fenced with a hose for washing off your pet.

A golden doodle wearing a Barkly bandana in Chicago.

Gillson Dog Beach

This dog beach, located at the south end of Gillson Park, is a popular off-leash destination for many four-footed friends and their owners. Dogs must have a permit to use the Dog Beach. 

Please note: Dogs must be on leash at all times in Gillson Park while on their way to the dog beach. The dog beach has specific hours:

May 25 – June 16, 2019: Daily, 6 a.m.-10:30 p.m.

June 17 – August 9, 2019:
Monday – Friday: 6-10 a.m. & 3:30-10:30 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday: 6 a.m.-9:30 p.m.

August 10, 2019- June 16, 2020:
Daily, 6 a.m.-10:30 p.m.

And the winner is…

Montrose Dog Beach! This classic dog beach has all of the space and amenities you need and is in a great location. Go check it out today!