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Fun in the Sun, Chicago Style

Posted by Jody on April 24, 2012

One of the best things about growing up in Chicago was the super-easy beach access!  Chicago has always had a wonderful mass-transit system, but our family was lucky enough to live within walking distance of Foster Beach, in the Edgewater community.  My mom, her four eager kids, and our neighbors, the Donnellys, would all pack our arms full of  towels, sand pails and shovels (and whatever the adults thought we needed for a day at the beach), and happily set out in our flip-flops. Although it was only about a 3/4 mile walk,  it somehow seemed like we had trudged much farther when we finally crossed under the Lake Shore Drive overpass. That’s when we knew we had arrived! WoooHooo! We were spending the day at the beach!

Foster Beach, Chicago, Illinois

Chicago actually has 26 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, and the best part is that every single mile is free and open to the public! With the official start of the “beach season” beginning across the country on Memorial Day weekend, you’ll be sure to find at least one of Chicago’s 33 beaches to be your perfect combination of sand, sun and fun!

Montrose Beach, Chicago (Photo:Alanscottwalker/Wikimedia Commons)

The Chicago Park District manages Chicago’s lakefront year round.  The Windy City’s beaches are always open but you’ll need to look to the Park District’s colored beach flag for current swimming conditions. Chicago has a simple, standardized, three color beach flag system. The Chicago Park District website suggests: “When you are at the beach, look for a flag near the beach house or on a lifeguard stand. These flags are part of the Chicago Park District’s flag notification system and indicate the current water quality or weather conditions at your local beach.”

Green – Swimming is permitted. Water is calm and water quality is safe based on current monitoring for E.coli bacteria.”

“Yellow – A swim advisory is in effect. Caution is advised while swimming. Water and weather conditions are becoming unpredictable. Restrictions may be implemented. There may be an increased risk of illness based on current monitoring for E.coli bacteria.”

Red – A swim ban is in effect due to severe weather and/or water conditions, which may be hazardous. There may be a risk of illness based on current monitoring for E.coli bacteria.”

So simple! ~Now, let’s go get some sand between our toes, Chicago style!

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