As the thermometer edges closer to 100 degrees every day, it’s looking like my winter-time prayers for a hot summer are finally coming true. And after months of shivering on the El platform, frozen eyelashes stuck together and unable to speak because of frozen mouth muscles, you’d think I’d be all for this extreme heat wave. But when everyone around is dripping with sweat and too hot to function, it can be hard to remember why I longed for this season in the first place.
That’s when I know it’s time to drop everything and jump in the lake. The mercifully cool waters of Lake Michigan are a fitting reminder of just how fantastic these summer months are in Chicago. Here are a few good clean spots to take a dip:
Foster Beach - this driver-friendly spot attracts families from the West side because of its huge free parking lots and large restrooms. Ice cream carts patrol frequently.
Hollywood Beach- arguably Chicago's most gay-friendly beach is just a short walk from the Bryn Mawr stop on the CTA's Red Line.
North Avenue Beach - young, hip tanners, volleyball players and other athlete-types command the scene at this popular beach. Plus you can grab a drink at beachside bar Castaways.
Ohio Street Beach - small beach close to Navy Pier with chill vibe and rental wetsuits for our sometimes chilly waters. Bonus: great views both of the city and the triathletes-in-training stroking through the swim lanes.
Beaches outside the city:
Illinois Beach State Park, Zion, IL- forest-lined, family beach with parking, showers, plus a large park for hikers, bikers, and campers, 45 miles from Chicago.
North Beach, Racine, WI- huge outdoor playground for kids, and nine sand v-ball courts (plus beer from the North Beach Oasis) for adults, 75 miles from Chicago.