Best known for deep-dish pizza, hot dogs and jazz music, Chicago is also home to some stunning beaches. It can get incredibly cold during the winter, but in summer the temperatures are warm enough to enjoy the shoreline along Lake Michigan, where there’s plenty of space for everyone to relax. Here, Culture Trip highlights the city’s best beaches.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Montrose Beach, which comes complete with free wifi, is the best beach in the city. Situated in Uptown and slightly out of the way, it’s an attractive option for those looking for somewhere a little quieter. Here, you can sip on cocktails while visiting the Dock, and dine on some fresh fish, all while listening to the free live music. If you fancy getting into the water, hire a kayak or a jet ski. For dog lovers, you can take your furry friend to the north end, where dogs are allowed. And for bird lovers, head to the south side where you can spot some of the migrating birds.
North Avenue Beach
Situated in Lincoln Park, this is by far one of the most popular beach destinations in the city. There is a beach house that offers some of the best views in Chicago, and a host of activities to keep you entertained. Take a stroll through the market, where you’ll find a variety of clothes, shoes and other unique souvenirs. Grab an ice cream or head for lunch on North Beach Avenue. You can also rent a bike on the beach, or get yourself wet with a wakeboard or a paddleboard.
Perfect for families and picnics, this beach is in a brilliant location and offers stunning views of the city. It is also home to the Chicago Full Moon Jam, which takes place once a month over summer. The jam starts at around sunset and brings together a host of artists and dancers with entertainment for the whole family. It’s volunteer-run and free to attend, and a real opportunity for local artists to share their passion.
Oak Street Beach
White sands and crystal clear waters – this beach could easily be in the Caribbean. It is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, playing volleyball or just taking a stroll where you can enjoy some breathtaking views. It’s also perfect for viewing the sunset and is open between 6am and 11pm. Swimming is only allowed when a lifeguard is present, from 7am until 7pm. Close to a number of restaurants and bars, it’s easy to get to and close to Clark/Division and served by local buses, too.
Leone Beach Park
Perfect for picnics, this beach has a grassy area where you can sit and relax with friends. The park is open everyday from 6am to 11pm and is the city’s largest beach. It was named after Sam Leone, a park employee, in 1966. There are two metered parking lots, ideal if you have a car.
Ohio Street Beach
Ten minutes from the Magnificent Mile, this stunning beach makes for an interesting landscape and is perfect for selfies or any budding photographers who want to capture the natural world against a backdrop of manmade skyscrapers. It’s also great for swimming and kayaking. It does get very busy in the summer, particularly at the weekends, but the beach is long and wide enough for everyone. It’s also close to local restaurants.
Belmont Harbor Dog Beach
The name says it all, and if you don’t have a dog, don’t worry. You can watch the pups play in the water together. It’s a short walk from Wrigley and is a little quieter than Montrose. So, if your dog is nervous of other dogs, this is the perfect place to start.
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I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.