After a long and snowy winter it's time to shed those layers and make the most out of summer. That involves the most quintessential of summer activities: a trip to the beach. Whether you're looking to swim, picnic, play sand volleyball, go boating or just soak up some sun, these local beaches offer plenty of ways to enjoy the warm weather.
Bangs Lake Beach
Where: 112 Park Ave., Wauconda
Hours: 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. daily Saturday, June 1-Aug. 11, then Saturdays and Sundays only until Monday, Sept. 2
Admission: $5 residents, $7 nonresidents; season passes available
Parking: Free in two nearby lots
Beach features and amenities: Enclosed swim area, playgrounds, water slides, sand toy area and two floating aqua patios
Food: Concessions available including pizza, hot dogs, candy and ice cream; outside food allowed
Recreation: Swimming lessons and boating
Best for: Children ages 3-10
Special events: Summer Beach Fiesta on Saturday, July 13, with games, entertainment and root beer floats. End of summer Beach Bash on Sunday, Aug. 25, with a DJ, games and raffles. Admission for both events is $6 residents, $8 nonresidents.
Information: (847) 526-3610 or waucondaparks.org
Where: 500 W. Jackson Ave., Naperville
Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays through Aug. 18, then weekends until Monday, Sept. 2
Admission: $6 residents, $10 nonresidents. Residents and nonresidents $3 after 5 p.m. Season passes available.
Beach features and amenities: Water play features, shallow-end slide, zero-depth walk-in area, bathhouses with showers and coin lockers, three diving boards, playground equipment, Frisbee area and life jackets available for free. Inner tubes and inflatable devices prohibited.
Food: Centennial Grill serves burgers, hot dogs, salads and ice cream; outside food allowed
Recreation: Lap swimming, adult float, diving, swimming and water polo lessons
Best for: Families
Special events: Open water polo play from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays
Information: (630) 848-5092 or napervilleparks.org
Diamond Lake Beach
Where: 1016 Diamond Lake Road, Mundelein
Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, noon to 6 p.m. holidays Saturday, June 1, through Aug. 4
Admission: $6, $2 for seniors weekdays, $7, $3 for seniors weekends for residents and nonresidents. Rates drop to $3, $1 for seniors two hours before closing. Free for kids younger than 3. Season passes available.
Beach features and amenities: Roped-in swim area, floating water activity area, playground on the sand, volleyball nets, gazebos, changing room and showers but no lockers, lawn chairs, a few large shade umbrellas
Rentals: Paddleboats and daily boat launch rights
Food: Snacks available; outside food allowed; grills and picnic tables available
Recreation: Swimming, volleyball and boating
Best for: All age groups
Special events: Free movie screenings at 8 p.m. Saturdays June 15 and July 20. Free Community picnic at 10 a.m. June 29 featuring a water ski show, free paddleboat rentals and games.
Information: (847) 566-0650 or mundeleinparks.org
Harold Hall Quarry Beach
Where: 400 S. Water St., Batavia
Hours: Noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, June 1, through Sunday, Aug. 18
Admission: $8 residents, $11 nonresidents. On Wednesdays, $3 residents, $6 nonresidents. Season passes and 10-visit passes available.
Beach features and amenities: Sandy beach and swimming area, zero-depth edge, kids' water play area, drop slide, diving area, playground, picnic area with grills, sand volleyball courts, and a path for biking, walking or jogging. Flotation devices prohibited.
Rentals: Volleyballs and basketballs are available for checkout. The quarry itself also is available for rent outside normal operating hours.
Food: Concession stand and vending machines available; outside food allowed
Recreation: Swimming, diving, sand volleyball, biking, walking, jogging, water fitness programs and lifeguard training programs
Best for: Families and large groups
Special events: Special Family Days from 5 to 7 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; $3. Aquapalooza runs from 6:15 to 8:15 p.m. Tuesdays, June 18, July 30 and Aug. 13, with music, games, swimming and dancing. $2 for kids entering grades 6-12 with school ID.
Information: (630) 879-5235 or bataviaparks.org
Independence Grove Beach
Where: 16400 W. Buckley Road, Libertyville
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends through Sunday, June 2, then daily Saturday, June 8, to Sunday, Aug. 18. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends Saturday, Aug. 24, to Monday, Sept. 2.
Admission: $4 Lake County residents, $7 nonresidents. Rates drop to $2 and $4 after 3 p.m. Group rates and 20-visit passes available.
Parking: Free for Lake County residents, $5 per car Monday through Thursday and $10 Friday through Sunday and holidays for nonresidents.
Beach features and amenities: Fishing piers, canoe launch, 400-foot sandy beach, beach wheelchairs, visitors' center, fountain and gardens, hiking and biking trails and a children's playground. Inflatable water toys prohibited.
Rentals: Pavilion rentals for picnics, canoes, kayaks, paddle boats, fishing boats, bicycles, adaptive tricycles, beach chairs and shade umbrellas
Food: Café open most beach hours; outside food allowed
Recreation: Swimming, hiking, jogging, canoeing, boating and catch-and-release fishing
Best for: Camp groups, fitness enthusiasts and families
Special events: Family Fun Fridays feature activities such as races against lifeguards and pirate-themed events.
Information: (847) 968-3499 or lcfpd.org/preserves
Where: 300 Lake Shore Drive, Crystal Lake
Hours: 9 a.m. until dusk daily through Monday, Sept. 2
Admission: $1 per resident and each resident can bring four guests for $1 each. Nonresident admission is $6 for children ages 4 to 15 and seniors 60 and older, $10 for adults 16 and older. Rates drop after 5 p.m. Season passes available.
Parking: $5 for nonresidents
Beach features and amenities: Floating aqua patio, fishing piers, bike compound, picnic tables and playground
Rentals: Canoes, row boats, sailboats, paddle boats and kayaks
Food: Concession stand available; outside food allowed
Recreation: Swimming, boating, sailing, fishing and biking
Best for: Families with tots or teens, fishers
Special events: Blast on the Beach from 3 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10, features food vendors, a beer garden, live music, kid's activities and a treasure hunt in the sand. Free concerts at 7 p.m. Tuesdays June 4 through Aug. 13.
Information: (815) 477-5404 or crystallakeparks.org/Parks-Facilities/beaches.asp
Paulus Park Beach
Where: 200 S. Rand Road, Lake Zurich
Hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, June 1, through Monday, Sept. 2. Weekends only after Sunday, Aug. 11.
Admission: $5 for children ages 4 to 17 and $8 for adults. Children 3 and younger admitted free. Season passes available.
Beach features and amenities: Sprayground water play area, volleyball court, picnic tables, shelters, grills, playground and nature area
Rentals: Three picnic shelters available
Food: Concessions available, outside food allowed
Recreation: Swimming, walking, bocce ball, horseshoes and volleyball
Best for: Young ones will enjoy the sprayground, but the beach and park are family-friendly overall
Special events: Independence Day celebration at Paulus Park on Thursday, July 4
Information: (847) 438-5146