11 Swimming Lakes Near Chicago To Cool You Off This Summer

Little girl running on the beach. Photo courtesy of Visit Lake Geneva
Little girl running on the beach. Photo courtesy of Visit Lake Geneva
6/16/24 - By Lauren LaRoche

When talking about swimming lakes near Chicago, we wouldn't blink an eye if your mind automatically goes to a certain great lake. After all, it's hard to miss. While Lake Michigan is absolutely on this list, we've also found 10 other spots near Chicago worth a try. Most of the swimming lakes, quarries, and swimming holes listed below are located in a suburb within 30 miles of the city and promise lots of summer memories for kids. Grab your beach towels and enjoy a day in the sun at one of the swimming lakes near Chicago below.

For more fun by the water check out our round-up of the Best Beaches in Chicago for Families and top Sprinkler Parks and Water Playgrounds near Chicago.


Centennial Beach is a swimming lake near Chicago with slides and diving. Photo courtesy of Centennial Beach, Facebook

1. Centennial Beach – Naperville, IL

For generations, Naperville and Chicagoland residents have enjoyed swimming in Centennial Beach. This zero-depth entry swimming lake near Chicago has a depth that reaches 15 feet. With slides, diving, and beach volleyball, there’s something for everyone at Centennial Beach. Admission: $10 (resident) $16 (non-resident) for children ages 3-17; $8 (resident) $14 (non-resident) for adults; 2 and under are free.

2. Three Oaks Recreation Center – Crystal Lake, IL

At Three Oaks Recreation Center in Crystal Lake, you can enjoy pristine swimming waters, fishing, hiking, and more at this former quarry. There are picnic tables, fishing and boat rentals, a spray ground, and more. Admission is $7-$12 for non-residents and $4-$6 for residents. Kids under 3 are free.

Independence Grove. Photo courtesy of the Lake County Forest Preserves

3. Independence Grove – Libertyville, IL

Independence Grove in Libertyville features a 115-acre lake for swimming. You can swim and splash around and enjoy a variety of water sports. There are also hiking trails, picnic tables, and an amphitheater to enjoy concerts in the summer months. If the kids tire of swimming, head for Children's Grove—a fun, nature-forward play space next to the Visitors Center. Boat rentals are also available for adults.

Admission is $6 per car for nonresidents, Mon–Thu, $12 Fri–Sun, and holidays, and $5 for Lake County residents only. You can purchase admission at the Visitors Center.

4. McHenry Petersen Park Beach- McHenry, IL

Petersen Park Beach is a beautiful swimming lake near Chicago in McHenry. You can enjoy playing on the sandy beach, swimming, or renting a boat, kayak, or paddleboard when the temperature is above 68 degrees. There are even five Witbit inflatables for extra water fun!

5. Fish Lake Beach – Volo, IL

Fish Lake Beach in Volo is a great place to come for the day and swim. You can also stay for the night or weekend at the adjacent campground. Small cabins are also available to rent. Swim, splash, and play in the sand at this beautiful swimming lake. Volo is also located near Six Flags Great America. Daily admission is $6 per person.

6. Harold Hall Quarry Beach – Batavia, IL

Harold Hall Quarry Beach is a splash pad, swimming hole, and beach all rolled into one. It’s the perfect combination of pool and lake. Use the ladders, slides, and spray grounds as you would in the pool while playing in the sandy lake. Admission: $10 for residents and $15 for non-residents.

Lake Michigan is the biggest swimming lake near Chicago 
Kids playing in the water. Photo courtesy of the Chicago Park District

7. Lake Michigan – Chicago, IL

There are 24 beaches on the shores of Lake Michigan, so find your favorite and enjoy the summer! Luckily for everyone, the beaches in the city of Chicago are completely free to both residents and non-residents. Try the 31st Street beach, which is near a great splash pad, or North Avenue beach. Even though it gets crowded, it's close to Castaway's, a local favorite family restaurant. Beaches also stretch over the border of Wisconsin up through Kenosha and Milwaukee. Check out our other picks for the best Chicago beaches for families.

8. Geneva Lake - Lake Geneva, WI

Geneva Lake is located about an hour and a half from Chicago, and when you get there, you’ll find a beautiful, spring-fed lake with three public beaches. Visit downtown Lake Geneva, Fontana, or Williams Bay for public beaches on this great swimming lake near Chicago. Each beach town also features great shopping, dining, and access to the free 26-mile walking path

the Whoazone at Whihala beach is located at a swimming lake near Chicago 
Photo courtesy of the Whoazone at Whihala Beach

9. Whiting Park and Whihala Beach – Whiting, IN

Whihala Beach is only 30 minutes from downtown Chicago over the Indiana border. There’s swimming, boating, kayaking, surfing, and more on the 21-acre site. Adjacent to the beach is Whiting Park, which features 15 acres of wildlife, playgrounds, flower gardens, waterfalls, and fishing. Be sure to check out the WhoaZone for inflatable water slides, trampolines, and more. Cars are $4 per hour or $20 all day. The minimum credit card purchase is $5.

10. Indiana Dunes – Porter, IN

The Indiana Dunes is a beautiful National Park that sits on 15 miles of coastline on the shores of Lake Michigan. You can enjoy swimming, hiking, and dune playing just a short drive from the city. Admission is $25 per vehicle or $15 per walk-in or boat-in.

11. Humboldt Park Beach - Chicago, IL

Re-opening after a four-year hiatus, the only in-land beach and swimming lake in Chicago will reopen on June 17. Located on the historic Humboldt Park Lagoon, the city has removed excess vegetation, cleaned up the sand, and installed a 10-foot deep water pocket and aeration system to help with algae levels. With that said, it's important to do your part and help keep this sweet little spot clean (take your trash with you). Swimming is only allowed while lifeguards are on duty from 11am - 7pm. 



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