Soak up some sun at a local beach
The Polar Vortex made this winter particularly miserable, and the snowy spring may have had you doubting if warmer weather would ever come. Now that summer is finally in sight, why not plan on making the most of the warm weather at one of these local beaches, which offer a wide variety of activities for the whole family to enjoy.
The Beach at Independence Grove
16400 W. Buckley Road, Libertyville, (847) 968-3499, lcfpd.org/swimming/
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends May 25 through June 2, daily June 3 through Aug. 9, and weekends Aug. 10 through Sept. 2
Admission: $4 for Lake County residents, $7 for nonresidents. Rates drop to $2 and $4 after 3 p.m. Group rates and 20-visit passes are available. Residents can also buy a season pass.
Enjoy 400 feet of sandy beach along the lake, with chairs and shade umbrellas available for rent if you want to do some lounging. You can buy snacks and drinks at the cafe in the Visitors Center. Bathrooms, showers and lockers are also available. Families can play games on Fridays to win prizes, which are based on a different theme each week.
112 Park St., Wauconda, (847) 526-3610, waucondaparks.org/
Hours: 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. May 25-27 and June 1 to Aug. 11; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 17-18, 24-25 and 31 and Sept. 1-2
Admission: $5 for residents and $7 for nonresidents. Free for seniors and kids younger than 4. Season passes are available for residents.
Kids can play all day with two slides, aqua pads, sand toys and a playground, with swim lessons available to get them water-ready. Grab some food from the concession stand and a spot at one of the picnic tables, with shade trees providing some relief on hot days. The beach features an outdoor rinse station and restrooms, plus there's space available to rent for birthday parties and other occasions. For extra family fun, come on July 6 for a beach luau featuring games and ice cream sundaes or the Final Beach Bash on Aug. 25 when you can bid farewell to summer with a cookout and drawing for a 2020 beach pass.
A lifeguard watches over the crowds swimming at Centennial Beach in Naperville last year.
- Courtesy of Naperville Park District
500 W. Jackson Ave., Naperville, (630) 848-5092, centennialbeach.org/
Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. May 25; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 26-27, July 4, Aug. 18 and 25 and Sept. 1-2; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, from May 28 through Aug. 13; 4 to 7 p.m. Aug. 15-16 and 19-20; and 11 a.m. to dusk Aug. 17, 24 and 31
Admission: Residents: $9, $7 for kids 3-17; nonresidents: $14, $12 for kids 3-17; $4 after 5 p.m. Season passes available for both residents and nonresidents.
Wade in at zero-depth and swim out to 15 feet at this former quarry. Bring a cooler and have lunch at one of the picnic tables or grab a burger or hot dog from Centennial Grill. The spot has locker rooms with showers, a sand volleyball court, a sand play area, a waterslide, diving boards and a bags area so you can spend the whole day having fun. This year, in addition to swim lessons, the beach is also offering paddleboard yoga and junior lifeguard training classes.
Kids enjoy the Witbit inflatable at Diamond Lake Beach last year.
- Courtesy of Mundelein Park District
Diamond Lake Beach
1016 Diamond Lake Road, Mundelein, (847) 566-5650, mundeleinparks.org/
Hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekends June 1 through Aug. 4
Admission: $4 weekdays, $5 weekends. Seniors admitted for $2 weekdays and $3 weekends.
The 100-acre space along the lake offers a mix of sand beach, grassy areas and shaded space for picnicking. Kids can play in the floating SportsPark or on a playground in the sand. Paddle boats, kayaks and standup paddleboards are available for rent.
Come from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, June 22, for the second annual Beach Bash, which features Zumba and yoga classes, a water ski show, a Ninja Warrior competition for kids 6-12 and a cardboard regatta. You can build your boat for the contest at the beach during a workshop from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, June 13.
There's always a line of kids ready to slide down the slides at Harold Hall Quarry Beach in Batavia.
- Courtesy of Batavia Park District
Harold Hall Quarry Beach
400 S. Water St., Batavia, (630) 406-5275, bataviaparks.org/harold-hall-quarry-beach
Hours: Noon to 6 p.m. daily May 25 through Aug. 11; opens at 11:30 a.m. for season pass holders. Special family day hours are extended to 7 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with a twilight special from 5 to 7 p.m. ($3 residents; $4 nonresidents).
Admission: $8 for residents, $11 for nonresidents, free for kids 2 and younger; $4 for residents and $7 for nonresidents on Wednesdays. Season and 10-punch passes are available.
The 60,000-square-foot former quarry includes islands, slides, a diving area, picnic tables and a playground. Little kids can take advantage of the zero-depth entry area while older ones might want to try the drop slide. You can also play sand volleyball or lounge on a deck chair while snacking on nachos, pretzels and hot dogs from the concession stand. Swimming classes are available throughout the season, and the beach also hosts several special events. Come on Monday, June 17, for the Wacky Water Olympics, which features relay races and splash contests. The first 100 guests to visit on Thursday, July 18, get a free beach ball. Mark the end of the season Friday, Aug. 9, with games and extended hours.
Kids enjoy the dragon-themed paddle boats at Main Beach in Crystal Lake.
- Courtesy of Crystal Lake Park District
300 Lake Shore Drive, Crystal Lake, (815) 477-5404, crystallakeparks.org/beaches
Hours: 9 a.m. to dusk May 25-27 and June 1 through Aug. 9; noon to dusk May 28-31; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Aug. 10-11, 17-18, 24-25 and 31 and Sept. 1-2
Admission: Residents: $1; free for seniors and kids 3 and younger; free for residents after 5 p.m. Nonresidents: $12, $8 for seniors and kids 4-15, free for kids 3 and younger; half-price after 5 p.m. Season passes are available.
Rent one of the whimsical dragon-shaped paddle boats or a more conventional canoe, sailboat, rowboat or kayak to launch from one of the beach's docks. There's also an area for fishing and a playground. Picnic tables are available for rent and so is the pavilion and band shell if you're hosting a big event. Private and group sailing lessons, swim classes and lifeguard training are all offered.
The beach also hosts a wide variety of special events. Water skiers will compete in a series of monthly tournaments, and the beach hosts free concerts at 7 p.m. every Tuesday. The Kids Party in The Park from 7 to 10 p.m. July 19 features a showing of "The Lego Movie 2" plus games and an ice cream-eating contest.
Paulus Park Beach & Spray Ground
200 S. Rand Road, Lake Zurich, (847) 438-5146, lakezurich.org
Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 25 through June 7, Aug. 17-18 and 24-25 and Aug. 31 to Sept. 1; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 8 through Aug. 11
Admission: $8 for residents, $9 for nonresidents; $2 or $3 after 5:30 p.m.; $5 or $6 for kids 4-17; free for kids younger than 4. Individual and family passes are available for residents.
The village just purchased seven Witbit inflatables so you can climb, bounce and test your balance on the water. Residents are also welcome to use kayaks, canoes, paddle boats and other nonmotorized crafts for a $5 fee. The beach house features changing rooms, showers and bathrooms. Swim lessons are available for kids starting at age 3. The beach hosts a Fourth of July celebration starting at 10 a.m. featuring DJs, a petting zoo, kids' rides, food and beer tents and fireworks.