Top Lake Michigan Beaches for Seniors

Lake Michigan beaches are unlike any other. Not because you’ll find the whitest sand or the most undisturbed waters, but where else can you go to a beach and see the city skyline in the backdrop? And the Chicago skyline is nothing to be shy about—it’s extraordinary.


There are plenty of other Chicago activities that will keep you busy when you visit the city, but none outline the backbone of the city so well as the massive trails that lead to some of the most unexpected Chicago beaches. Find your dream home among the over 55 communities in Chicago and make Lake Michigan your own regular escape.


Before You Hit the Beach

If you aren’t familiar with Chicago, you should know about one thing before trying to hit any of the Chicago Beaches on this list—the Lakefront Trail. An 18.5-mile trail that offers both walking and biking lanes, it’s your main access point to most Chicago beaches. It also makes it possible to move from one beach to another without any thought for a car.


For other Chicago activities, if you’re curious about exploring downtown Chicago—start further North, hit your chosen beach, and then make your way down the trail to explore Millennium Park’s infamous Bean sculpture, just one of the many outdoor activities for active adults in Chicago.


Chicago Beach 1: North Avenue Beach

Located in the neighborhood of Lincoln Park, North Avenue Beach makes the list of top Lake Michigan beaches in Chicago. Here you’ll find spacious sands and attractive beachfront bars a mere walk away from one of Chicago’s most affluent neighborhoods. As a bonus, you can also explore the neighborhood's namesake park, which encompasses a total of 1, 208 acres along Lake Michigan. Or head to Lincoln Park Zoo.


Chicago Beach 2: Oak Street Beach

If you’re looking for a beach with more of a city view, head to Oak Street Beach. Located near Magnificent Mile—Chicago’s biggest shopping district and most expensive retail corridor, coming in third just after New York’s Fifth Avenue and LA’s Rodeo Drive—you’ll find yourself nestled close to popular haunts like the historic Drake Hotel. There is also a bar and restaurant option onsite, so you don’t have to leave the beach hungry.


Chicago Beach 3: Montrose Beach

Looking for something a little more laid back? Or perhaps you want to bring your dog along with you. The only official dog beach in the city, there’s even a fenced-off section on the northern end of Montrose beach where your best K9 friends can swim and run free without the hassle of a leash. Located near Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood, Montrose is also the largest among Chicago beaches.


If you walk north of Montrose, you’ll find yourself in Edgewater—we’ll get to that beach later. If you walk South you’ll pass the Sydney R. Marowitz golf course, where you can take a few golf swings right on the lake. West of that, about a 20-minute walk from the Lakefront Trail, you can hit Wriggleyville—home of the cubs. Or you can walk further south on the trail towards Boystown, Belmont Harbor, and the charming Lakeview neighborhood.


Chicago Beach 4: Hollywood Beach

Located at the northernmost point of the Lakefront Trails, this spot is officially named Kathy Osterman Beach—but locals in Edgewater simply refer to it as Hollywood Beach since it’s located so close to Hollywood Avenue. Waters tend to be calmer around here, making the spot ideal for summer paddleboards. There’s also a playground, dog park, and natural area that’s popular with migratory birds.


Looking for over 55 communities in Chicago that put Lake Michigan beaches within reach? Consider Briargate, located in Lindenhurst. Liberty Green located in Bolingbrook. Or Trillium Farm located in Winfield. Within these communities you’ll find unique amenities, like access to local forest preserves—all conveniently located near golf courses, shopping, and dining opportunities.


Find the right over 55 community for you and discover the many Chicago activities there are to explore.


Contributed to The 55+ Society

Looking for more Society tips and learnings? Return Home here.

Published  12.30.21 

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