Is it safe to play in the water?

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 ( 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) 234-8483Main Beach300 Lake Shore Dr.Crystal Lake

(815) 459-0680

West Beach

2330 Lake Ave., Crystal Lake

(815) 477-5009


Breezewald Beach

(admission only with season pass)

125 N. Old Rand Rd.Lake Zurich

(847) 438-5146

Briar Beach

(no lifeguards)

Briar Drive, Island Lake(847) 526-8767

Diamond Lake Beach

1016 Diamond Lake Rd.


(847) 566-5650

Dorothy Beach

(no lifeguards)

Dorothy Drive, Island Lake

(847) 526-8767

East Beach Park

4326 Shore Dr., McHenry

(815) 363-2168

Gowe Beach

4621 McClure Rd., Gurnee (847) 599-3775

Butch Hagele Beach

71 Hilltop Dr., Lake in the Hills

(847) 960-7460

Illinois Beach Resort and Conference Center

1 Lakefront Dr.,

Sheridan and Wadsworth roads, Zion

(847) 625-7300

Independence Grove Forest Preserve Beach

16400 W. Buckley Rd.


(847) 968-3499

Indian Trail Beach

228 Indian Trail

Lake in the Hills

(847) 960-7460

Jones Island Beach

(no lifeguards)

243 Harvey St., Grayslake (847) 223-7529Lake Minear BeachOak Spring Road near Appley, Libertyville

(847) 680-8897

Linden’s Landing

2100 Sprucewood Ln. Lindenhurst

(847) 356-6011

Meyers Beach

(no lifeguards)

325 High Point Dr.Lindenhurst

(847) 356-6011

Olson Beach

7996 Harlem Rd.

Loves Park

(815) 885-9084

Park Beach

(no lifeguards)

Park Drive, Island Lake(847) 526-8767

Paulus Park Beach

200 S. Rand Rd., Lake Zurich

(847) 438-5146

Pearl Lake Beach

1220 Dearborn Ave.South Beloit

(815) 389-1479

Petersen Park Beach

4311 Lakewood Rd. McHenry

(815) 363-2168

Round Lake Beach

Lake Shore Drive near South Channel Drive, Round Lake Beach

(847) 546-8558

South Shore Beach

(no lifeguards)

South Shore Drive

Island Lake

(847) 526-8767

Spring Lake Park Beach

49 Oxford Dr., Lincolnshire

(847) 883-8600

Standfield Beach

1420 S. Pierpont St. Rockford

(815) 987-1617

Veterans Park

(no lifeguards)

332 W. State Rd. (Illinois 176)Island Lake(847) 526-8767Wauconda Park District Beach112 Park St., Wauconda(847) 526-4605Willoaks CampgroundKishwaukee Valley Road and Route 14, Woodstock(815) 338-5079North Point Marina North Beach701 N. Point Dr.Winthrop Harbor

(847) 746-2845


Clark Street Beach

Clark Street and

Sheridan Road, Evanston (847) 492-7082

Dempster and Greenwood Street Beach

Greenwood Street

and Lake Michigan, Evanston

(847) 492-7082

Lee Street Beach

Lee Street and Lake Shore Boulevard, Evanston

(847) 492-7082

Lighthouse Beach

Central Street and

Sheridan Road, Evanston(847) 492-7082Northwestern University Beach2311 Campus Dr. (Lincoln Street and Lake Michigan), Evanston (847) 491-4849

South Boulevard Beach

South Boulevard and Lake Michigan, Evanston

(847) 492-7082


Windy City Campground and Beach

18701 S. 80th Ave.

Tinley Park

(708) 720-0030


Centennial Beach

500 W. Jackson Ave.Naperville

(630) 848-5090


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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