From Chicago to Harbor Country, the shoreline of Lake Michigan offers a variety of beaches suited for just about every lifestyle. We’ve rounded up a list of spots to visit based on how you prefer to spend your day at the beach. Keep reading and weigh in on your favorite ways to spend a beach day in the comments.

If your typical beach day means spending the day with family…

You won’t want to miss Gillson Park in Wilmette. More than 60 acres of lakefront property make this one of the North Shore’s favorite summertime hangouts, offering outdoor activities for all ages. Rent a sailboat or kayak, play tennis or volleyball, go for a swim at the beach, or head to the playground…there’s something for everyone here.

City dwellers will appreciate 31st Street Beach for its newer playground with water features, picnic tables and nearby concessions. Further south in Jackson Park is 63rd Street Beach, another popular destination for families thanks to a historic beach house and interactive water fountain.

If your typical beach day means playing fetch with your pooch…

Head to Uptown’s Montrose Beach, where there’s a fenced-in area for dogs to run around off-leash. Other great dog-friendly locales include the slightly less-crowded Foster Avenue Beach in Lincoln Park and Belmont Harbor Beach in Lakeview.

For those who live on the North Shore, dogs are welcome in designated areas of beaches in Evanston, Winnetka, Highland Park and Lake Bluff, to name a few.

If your typical beach day means getting your fitness on…

Check out North Avenue Beach, where you’re bound to find a volleyball tournament in action as well as rentals for everything from bikes to kayaks to stand-up paddle boards. This is one of Chicago’s biggest attractions during the summer so expect large crowds on nice days.

If you’re in the South Shore area, stop by Rainbow Beach and Park. With a gym, fitness center, soccer field, and tennis, handball and basketball courts, this beach is home to just about every sporting activity under the sun.

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If your typical beach day means catching rays with a side of cocktails…

Look no further than Oak Street Beach Food + Drink or Ohio Street Beach’s Caffé Olivia. Both beachside spots are ideal for kicking back with a refreshing drink and taking in the sights of the lake and the beautiful city backdrop.

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If your typical beach day means relaxing and soaking up some vitamin D…

Enjoy a more laid-back scene at Leone and Loyola beaches. Spanning eight blocks, these adjacent beaches boast plenty of sand to sprawl out and soak up some rays.

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If your typical beach day means finding a retreat away from the city…

The lakefront communities of Southwest Michigan and Northwest Indiana are calling your name. Pristine beaches can be found all throughout the region, including New Buffalo and St. Joseph.

Written by Kelly Maguire
Kelly is the corporate communications specialist for @properties. She joined the company in 2012 and earned her real estate license earlier this year.