Chicago may not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking about surfing destinations, but the city offers a unique freshwater surfing experience along the shores of Lake Michigan. The Great Lake boasts numerous surf spots suitable for all skill levels, from beginners to advanced surfers. In this article, we will explore the top 10 best surfing destinations in Chicago, showcasing the diverse and exciting opportunities for wave riders in the Windy City.
List of Best Surfing Spots in Chicago:
- Montrose Beach
- Leone Beach
- 57th Street Beach
- Osterman Beach
- North Avenue Beach
- Oak Street Beach
- 31st Street Beach
- Rainbow Beach
- Evanston Beach
- Whihala Beach
1. Montrose Beach
Montrose Beach is a popular spot for surfers in Chicago, offering consistent waves and plenty of space to spread out. The beach is located near the Montrose Harbor and offers a variety of breaks suitable for different skill levels. During the fall and winter months, strong winds from the north generate powerful waves for a thrilling ride.
2. Leone Beach
Leone Beach, situated in the Rogers Park neighborhood, is another favorite among Chicago surfers. The beach features a sandbar break that works best with northerly swells. While the waves may not be as powerful as those at Montrose Beach, Leone Beach offers a more relaxed surfing experience ideal for beginners and intermediate surfers.
3. 57th Street Beach
Located near the Museum of Science and Industry, 57th Street Beach offers a unique surfing experience in the heart of Chicago. The beach features a mix of sandbar and reef breaks, providing a variety of wave conditions for surfers to enjoy. The picturesque setting, with the Chicago skyline as a backdrop, makes this spot a must-visit for wave riders.
4. Osterman Beach
Osterman Beach, also known as Hollywood Beach, is a lesser-known surf spot in Chicago. The beach is located in the Edgewater neighborhood and features a shallow sandbar break that works best with southerly swells. The secluded location and smaller crowds make Osterman Beach an excellent option for those seeking a more peaceful surfing experience.
5. North Avenue Beach
North Avenue Beach is a bustling urban beach in Chicago, known for its lively atmosphere and stunning skyline views. The beach offers a mix of sandbar and lakebed breaks, providing a variety of waves for surfers to enjoy. The close proximity to downtown Chicago makes this spot a popular choice for city-dwelling surfers.
6. Oak Street Beach
Located just north of downtown Chicago, Oak Street Beach is a picturesque surf spot with a sandy shoreline and clear waters. The beach features a sandbar break that works best with northerly swells, offering consistent waves for surfers of all skill levels. The proximity to the city and beautiful surroundings make Oak Street Beach a favorite among Chicago’s surfing community.
7. 31st Street Beach
31st Street Beach is a family-friendly spot located near the Chicago Harbor. The beach offers a mix of sandbar and reef breaks, providing a variety of wave conditions for surfers to enjoy. The calm atmosphere and ample parking make 31st Street Beach a convenient choice for surfers looking for a more laid-back experience.
8. Rainbow Beach
Rainbow Beach, situated on the city’s South Side, offers surfers a less crowded and more secluded surf spot. The beach features a sandbar break that works best with northerly swells. With a picturesque setting, including a view of the Chicago skyline, Rainbow Beach is an excellent option for those looking for a more tranquil surfing experience away from the city’s bustling beaches.
9. Evanston Beach
Just north of Chicago, Evanston Beach offers surfers a break from the city’s crowded surf spots. The beach is located in the suburb of Evanston and features a sandbar break that works best with northerly swells. The peaceful surroundings and family-friendly atmosphere make Evanston Beach an ideal destination for surfers seeking a more relaxed environment.
10. Whihala Beach
Whihala Beach, located in Whiting, Indiana, is a short drive from downtown Chicago and offers surfers a unique surfing experience along the shores of Lake Michigan. The beach features a mix of sandbar and reef breaks, providing a variety of wave conditions suitable for all skill levels. Whihala Beach’s proximity to the city, combined with its diverse wave offerings, make it a popular destination for Chicago’s surfers.
Despite being located far from the ocean, Chicago boasts a vibrant surfing scene along the shores of Lake Michigan. The Windy City offers a variety of surf spots suitable for all skill levels, providing wave riders with numerous options to explore and enjoy. From the bustling beaches near downtown to the more secluded spots further afield, Chicago’s surfing destinations cater to every surfer’s needs and preferences.
When surfing in Chicago, it’s essential to keep safety in mind, as freshwater surfing on Lake Michigan can present unique challenges, such as colder water temperatures and changing weather conditions. Always check local surf reports and weather forecasts, and make sure to wear appropriate gear, such as wetsuits and booties, to protect against the elements.
By exploring the top 10 best surfing destinations in Chicago, you’ll discover the thrill of freshwater surfing in the heart of the Midwest. So grab your board, hit the waves, and experience the excitement of surfing in the Windy City. Happy surfing!