It’s no fun packing up the kids and the suntan lotion for a day at the beach, only to find out the beach is closed. That’s why most Illinois beaches post notices on their Web sites or have telephone numbers to call before you head to the waterfront.
"The beach closings are posted on our Web site (www.chicagoparkdistrict.com) every day by 9 a.m. and are distributed to the media outlets," says Michele Jones, spokesperson for the Chicago Park District. The park district also has a hotline (312) 742-PLAY listing beach closings—an all-too-frequent occurrence if the summer turns out to be rainy or hot.
The water at city and suburban Lake Michigan beaches is tested every day for Escherichia coli, while non-coastal Illinois beaches are tested at least once every two weeks. High levels of E. coli mean the beach will close for the day.
You can still play on the sand, but you can’t go into the water. Nor would you want to. Accidentally drinking lake water contaminated with E. coli can lead to severe stomach distress, especially for the very young and very old. The infection often causes bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps, and in severe cases, can lead to kidney failure.
High air temperatures, heavy rainfall, low lake levels and animal waste, primarily from seagulls, usually contribute to high E. coli levels in lake and river water, Jones says. Any of these can result in bacteria levels that will close the beaches until nature disperses the bacteria from the water.
There’s not much beach personnel can do to speed up the process of lowering E. coli levels. "Last year we got a call asking us if we couldn’t just put some chemical in the lake [to lower E. coli levels]. But it’s beyond our control," Jones says.
Lake Louise Beach
8840 N. Route 2, Byron(815) 234-8483
300 Lake Shore Dr.Crystal Lake
2330 Lake Ave., Crystal Lake
(admission only with season pass)
125 N. Old Rand Rd.Lake Zurich
Briar Drive, Island Lake(847) 526-8767
Diamond Lake Beach
1016 Diamond Lake Rd.
Dorothy Drive, Island Lake
East Beach Park
4326 Shore Dr., McHenry
4621 McClure Rd., Gurnee (847) 599-3775
Butch Hagele Beach
71 Hilltop Dr., Lake in the Hills
Illinois Beach Resort and Conference Center
1 Lakefront Dr.,
Sheridan and Wadsworth roads, Zion
Independence Grove Forest Preserve Beach
16400 W. Buckley Rd.
Indian Trail Beach
228 Indian Trail
Lake in the Hills
Jones Island Beach
243 Harvey St., Grayslake (847) 223-7529
Lake Minear Beach
Oak Spring Road near Appley, Libertyville
2100 Sprucewood Ln. Lindenhurst
325 High Point Dr.Lindenhurst
7996 Harlem Rd.
Park Drive, Island Lake(847) 526-8767
Paulus Park Beach
200 S. Rand Rd., Lake Zurich
Pearl Lake Beach
1220 Dearborn Ave.South Beloit
Petersen Park Beach
4311 Lakewood Rd. McHenry
Round Lake Beach
Lake Shore Drive near South Channel Drive, Round Lake Beach
South Shore Beach
South Shore Drive
Spring Lake Park Beach
49 Oxford Dr., Lincolnshire
1420 S. Pierpont St. Rockford
332 W. State Rd. (Illinois 176)Island Lake(847) 526-8767
Wauconda Park District Beach
112 Park St., Wauconda(847) 526-4605
Kishwaukee Valley Road and Route 14, Woodstock(815) 338-5079
North Point Marina North Beach
701 N. Point Dr.Winthrop Harbor
Clark Street Beach
Clark Street and
Sheridan Road, Evanston (847) 492-7082
Dempster and Greenwood Street Beach
and Lake Michigan, Evanston
Lee Street Beach
Lee Street and Lake Shore Boulevard, Evanston
Central Street and
Sheridan Road, Evanston(847) 492-7082
Northwestern University Beach
2311 Campus Dr.
(Lincoln Street and Lake Michigan), Evanston (847) 491-4849
South Boulevard Beach
South Boulevard and Lake Michigan, Evanston
Windy City Campground and Beach
18701 S. 80th Ave.
500 W. Jackson Ave.Naperville
The Chicago beaches, listed below from south to north, are free and open 9 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Memorial Day to Labor Day. Call (312) 742-PLAY for more information.
Calumet South, 9900 South
Calumet, 9800 South
Calumet North, 9600 South
79th Street, 7900 South
Rainbow, 7600 South
Arthur Ashe, 2701 E. 74th St.
South Shore, 7100 South
67th Street, 6700 South
64th Street, 6400 South
57th Street, 5700 South
49th Street, 4900 South
31st Street, 3100 South
12th Street, 1200 South
Ohio Street, 400 North
Oak Street, 1000 North
North Avenue, 1600 North
Fullerton, 2400 North
Montrose, 4400 North
Foster Avenue, 5200 North
Kathy Osterman, 5800 North
George A. Lane, 5915 N. Sheridan Rd.
Thorndale, 5934 North
Albion, 6600 North
North Shore, 6700 North
Hartigan, 1031 W. Albion
(east of Sheridan Road)
Columbia, 6726 North
Pratt, 1050 W. Pratt Blvd.
Loyola/Leone, 7031 North
Jarvis, 7400 North
Fargo, 7432 North
Howard, 7600 North
Rogers, 7705 N. Eastlake Terr.
Juneway Terrace, 7800 North
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