You spent the whole winter cooped up in your apartment to escape the bitter cold of Chicago. Don’t let the heat keep you locked for the whole summer season too. Now is the time to go out and explore that beautiful city!

If you find yourself bouncing off the walls because you’ve been sitting at home all day, there are plenty of beaches with so many amenities for you to take advantage of. Start exploring and enjoying the summer while still staying cool.

All up and down the coast of Lake Michigan are beaches with different amenities like restaurants, gardens, and docks. Of course, being in a heavily populated area means that these beaches are going to be a little crowded. But if you plan ahead, leave early and stake out a spot, it’s a great way to relax and get some sun without feeling like you’re melting in the summer heat.

To help you find the best place for you, here are just a few of the best beaches in Chicago that you should go to this summer.

North Avenue Beach in Chicago

North Avenue Beach

North Avenue Beach is probably the most popular beach in Chicago. It’s located at 1600 N. Lake Shore Dr., and it offers a fantastic view of the city. There are a lot of amenities, including a beach house, Castaways Bar and Grill, concessions, and retail vendors. This beach has something for everyone and it is ADA accessible. So, bring the whole family!

Rentals are also available for bikes, chairs and umbrellas, wakeboards and paddleboards, kayaks, jetskis, and volleyball courts. Yogis of all experience levels can also enjoy sunrise, morning, and sunset yoga sessions every day.

Oak Street Beach Chicago

Oak Street Beach

Oak Street Beach is another great option if you’re looking for a beach with a good view of the city. It is located at 1000 N. Lake Shore Drive. This beach offers rentals for bikes, chairs, and volleyball courts.

The Oak Street Beach Cafe is a great place to refuel with some American classics like hot dogs, burgers, and nachos with a great list of beers to choose from too.

This beach is also known for its volleyball tournaments for all types of players, from “just having fun” to “diving like it’s my job.”  No matter what your experience level is, there’s a spot for you.

Another hallmark of Oak Street Beach is the mural “You Know What You Should Do.” This mural was commissioned by the EPA as a reminder to beachgoers to take care of their local environment.

Ohio Street Beach Chicago

Ohio Street Beach

Ohio Street Beach is located at just north of Jane Addams Memorial Park near Navy Pier. It’s great for distance swimming if your focus is exercise, but it is also great because of its central location. If you’re visiting Chicago just for the day, you can walk in the loop, visit Navy Pier or some of the museums in the area, and then cool off and recover at the beach.

Ohio Street Beach has also started offering stand-up paddleboarding rentals, season passes, and yoga classes. It’s a great way to get some exercise this summer and take advantage of the warm weather.

Rainbow Beach Chicago

Rainbow Beach

Rainbow Beach is located in South Chicago at 3111 E 77th Street. Rainbow Beach is part of the larger Rainbow Beach Park. The park as a whole has a lot to offer when it comes to summer activities. This includes fields, gyms, courts and multipurpose rooms available for rent.

Along with the manmade attractions are some beautiful natural attractions too. Over nine acres of the north end of the beach are dunes that visitors can explore, and it is also home to one of Chicago’s oldest community gardens.

Rainbow Beach is a great place to hang out in the summer, whether you feel like swimming, playing handball, or just exploring the natural beauty of the park.

Margaret T Burroughs Beach

Margaret T Burroughs Beach

Margaret T Burroughs Beach is another South Chicago beach. It is located at 3100 S Lake Shore Drive. This beach has a concession stand, a green roof picnic area, a fishing dock, a community room, and an ADA-accessible playground.

This is also a great beach for boat launches because it is located next to the 31st Street Harbor. The harbor has 1,000 floating slips for various sizes of boats from 35 to 75 feet long.

12th Street Beach Chicago

12th Street Beach

12th Street Beach is located at 1200 S. Linn White Drive just south of the planetarium and aquarium. With the central location, this beach is sure to be packed, so make sure to get there early.

If you get hungry, you can enjoy some authentic Mexican food or traditional Chicago food at Del Campos, located right on the beach.

At the south end of the beach, visitors can enter the Lake Michigan Water Trail with kayaks, paddleboards, canoes, and other non-motorized boats and boards. This trail is a great way to get a unique view of the city.

South Shore Beach Chicago

South Shore Beach

South Shore Beach is located within the South Shore Cultural Center at 7059 S. Shore Drive. This beach is great if you want to have a more secluded experience with a lot of different options for activities.

The South Shore Cultural Center also houses a golf course, tennis courts, and a nature sanctuary. It’s a great way to escape the bustle of the city and imagine that you’re vacationing in the country.

The beach itself has a circular beach house and a great boardwalk. From the boardwalk, visitors can take in the natural beauty of the wetlands, prairies, and woodlands.

Don’t waste your whole summer sitting inside in the air conditioning. Get out, get some sun and fresh air, and enjoy the beauty of Chicago beaches. Remember to get their early so you can stake out your spot, and don’t forget the SPF.