South Shore

Best Chicago Beaches for Families

Who says you need an ocean to go to the beach? Chicago families can get their swimming fix at a good old-fashioned beach by taking advantage of the “Midwest Coast” of Lake Michigan, or the many smaller lakes and even repurposed former quarries dotted throughout the suburbs.

The best beaches for families include easy parking, bathrooms with changing facilities, concession stands for little snackers, and maybe a playground or other attraction for when kids get tired of the water. Many of the Chicago Park District beaches are accessible by bus for families who prefer public transit.

Here are some of our favorite family-friendly beaches in Chicago and the suburbs.

16 Cool Water Playgrounds and Splash Parks for Chicago Kids

When summer comes, smart Chicago parents make sure they've always got a sprinkler "go bag" packed and ready in the trunk, stroller, or tote: towel, sunscreen, water shoes, swim diaper (if you've got a really little mermaid), and spare clothes. Because in a city with this many awesome water playgrounds, splash parks, and spraygrounds, it pays to be prepared.

Our favorite water play zones in Chicago and the suburbs feature interactive sprinklers, sprayers, cannons, and gushers so everybody can get good and soaked—and some spots offer extra-wet bonuses like waterslides and pools. Chicago Park District water playgrounds turn on in June and keep the fun flowing through Labor Day weekend, although most water parks in the suburbs open Memorial Day weekend, and a few water parks remain open on weekends through the end of September.

Read on for 16 great water playgrounds that are as wet as they can get.

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