When the summer sun is at its warmest, you'll find many
Chicagoans flocking to the place they love best-the beach.
I'm not a big fan of getting messy in the sand, but if I'm fully
prepared with snacks, find nearby parking and know what gear and
goodies to bring, I usually can convince myself to visit one of
Chicago's greatest treasures. Plus, it makes the kids happy.
Foster Beach, 5200 N. Lakeshore Drive, (312)
The gold standard for Chicago beaches, Foster Beach is out of
the way for the masses, but close enough so you can make a quick
exit if needed. It's located in Edgewater, just between Foster and
Ardmore avenues. Foster Beach's long pier makes a great spot for
the air show come August if you don't want to fight the crowds at
Oak Street or North Avenue.
Hollywood and Thorndale Beach, at Thorndale and
Hollywood Beach starts where Lake Shore Drive ends and it's one
of the jewels of Chicago's lakefront. Once a favorite amongst the
old Hollywood elite, now it's a pristine stretch of sand fit for
the best family outing. Shallow water and a long boardwalk ramp are
key to kiddie enjoyment. At Thorndale Beach, a grassy plain serves
as a reserve for bird migration and butterflies.
12th Street Beach, Roosevelt Drive and the
If looking at the Adler Planetarium and Shedd in the distance
aren't enough to put a smile on your face, the small sloping beach
at 12th Street, one of Chicago's originals, are sure to make you
happy. When you've petered out from the sun, you can pop into the
planetarium for a peek at the stars. Look for metered parking to
really put a sparkle in that summer day.
Skip Hop Central Park Outdoor Blanket and Cooler
Because I like to stay cool and keep the sand out of my
food-$45, Little Threads, 2033 W. Roscoe St.
Sand Play Set
Expensive, but this is the kind that won't crack from
overuse-$20.99, Building Block Toys, 3306 N. Lincoln and 2130 W.
Because I have sensitive skin (an understatement), I've
researched the safest choices for sunscreen. Elta MD, $28, and Burn
Out Clean and Clear, $18, both available at Dermatology &
Aesthetics of Wicker Park, 1455 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Beach hat and cover-up
Nothing ensures you won't burn from the sun or burn out of
energy like a good hat and cover up. I hit up Londo Mondo,
Chicago's resource for summer swim gear. 2148 N. Halsted St. or
1100 N. Dearborn St.
Treat for the feet
Being in the city means avoiding unmarked hazards. Beach shoes
are a must. I like the hybrid sand/street shoes for kids like the
Merrell Trail Glove at Nordstrom ($59). For adults, nothing beats a
good ol' pair of rubber flip flops.
Sara Fisher is a mother of two living in Roscoe Village. She also blogs at selfmademom.net.
See more of Sara's stories here.
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