The Best Free Beaches in Lake and McHenry Counties {2017}

Our Guide to The Best Free Beaches in Lake and McHenry Counties {2017} is presented by Bear Paddle Swim School.  Their newly-opened facility in Lake in the Hills offers small, year-round swim lessons in their warm and comfortable saltwater pool.  Feel safer at the beach this summer with swim lessons from Bear Paddle Swim School! 

Who doesn’t love a good beach day in the summer? And if it’s free, even better! We have you covered with a list of some of the best free beaches in Lake and McHenry Counties.

free beaches in lake county

Free Beaches in Lake County

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L. Thomas | littlelakecounty.com | 2015

Jones Island Beach
243 Harvey Ave., Grayslake

A great little beach tucked into a quiet neighborhood, it has a port-a-potty but no lifeguards on duty. There is a shaded area for picnic which makes this a perfect place for a play date or meetup. There is also a playground, read the full Jones Island Playground Profile.

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Lake Miltmore
36745 N. Nathan Hale Lane, Lake Villa

Lake Villa residents are lucky to have two amazing free beaches within their village limits. If you happen to have friends who live in Lake Villa, become even friendlier because you will want to tag along to one of these beaches this summer. Lake Miltmore beach is located within the Venetian Village subdivision and has a grassy picnic area in addition to fishing and a small park. There is no lifeguard, but the swimming area is marked off with ropes and buoys. There are no indoor restrooms, but there is a portable restroom located off to the side. Proof of residency is required at this beach and they are patrolled regularly I am told, so find a friend in Lake Villa. Wink, wink.

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Lehmann Park
89 Cedar Avenue, Lake Villa

Also open to residents of Lake Villa, you will need to show proof of residency to park in the lot at the beach but if you are a non-resident, you can park on the street which is a short walk away. There is a great playground on the beach here as well as grills available and a shaded picnic area. There are no lifeguards here, but the swimming area is marked off with ropes. There are no restrooms at this beach.

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Breezewald Beach 
125 N. Old Rand Road, Lake Zurich

Free to all Lake Zurich residents, this beach offers swimming, fishing, restrooms, a playground, and a shelter for picnicking. There are no lifeguards at this beach.  The beach opens for the season May 30th with limited hours until June 9th, and then resumes regular hours through August 13th.

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Linden’s Landing and Beach
2100 Sprucewood Lane, Lindenhurst

Lindenhurst also boasts two free beaches and you don’t have to be a resident to enjoy either one of them! The first of the two offers restrooms, a picnic shelter, sand volleyball pit as well as plenty of parking. There is no lifeguard and the beachgoers swim at their own risk.

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Meyer’s Beach 
325 High Point Drive, Lindenhurst

This beach has fewer amenities than Linden’s Landing but does have restrooms and parking. Again, there are no lifeguards here, so swim at your own risk.

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Round Lake Beach
1019 Lakeshore Drive, Round Lake Beach

There is actually a beach in Round Lake Beach and it is round-ish. This beach is tucked away in a neighborhood and has a playground as well as picnic shelters, grills, and restrooms. There are lifeguards on duty here daily from 10:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.

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© H. Garvey | Little Lake County.com | 2016

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Illinois Beach State Park  
1 Lakefront Drive, Zion

The big kahuna of beaches in Lake County, this is the only free beach on Lake Michigan. (The Waukegan Municipal beach costs $20 to park.) There are no lifeguards here and the water gets really choppy at times, but the scenic view alone is worth the trip. There are plenty of places to lay down a blanket and have a picnic, grills are available, and parking is plentiful during the week. But on the weekends, come early as it is very busy and the adjacent Illinois Beach State Park Resort is a big wedding venue. There is also a campground adjacent to the beach area as well, so why not make it a long weekend?

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Free BEqaches in McHenry County
Photo Source Village of Lake in the Hills Facebook Page

Free Beaches McHenry County 

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Butch Hagele Beach
71 Hilltop Dr., Lake In The Hills

Indian Trail Beach
228 Indian Trail, Lake In The Hills

Both beaches are located in the Woods Creek Lake subdivision and are open from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, sunrise to sunset. Neither beach has life guards but do offer picnic shelters.

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Did we miss your favorite free beach? Tell us about it in the comments section! 


Bear Paddle Swim School provides swim lessons and water safety training using story-based lesson plans that keep children eager and engaged. Their brand new Lake in the Hills facility will delight young swimmers while Mom and Dad will appreciate family-friendly amenities such as family changing rooms, private showers, air-conditioned viewing areas and free Wi-Fi.  Sensitive skin, eyes and lungs will find comfort in the pristine 90 degree saltwater pool and small class sizes ensure your child is getting the attention they need.

Registration online is easy and ongoing! Month-to-month class scheduling gives you the flexibility you need to accommodate for summer vacations or busy sports seasons.  For a firsthand account of the Bear Paddle experience, visit Shelby’s Introduction to Bear Paddle Swim School. Bear Paddle Swim School
307 Randall Rd., Lake In The Hills, IL
(630) 692-7946 ext. 5 | Facebook | lakeinthehills@bearpaddle.com

Disclosure: Bear Paddle Swim School is the paid advertising partner. 

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About Kari Wagner Hoban 58 Articles
Kari loves to write and take photos, not necessarily in that order. Her journey started in 2010 when she sat down to write a few words on a private blog. She pressed “public” a few weeks later and the rest is history. Kari loves making people laugh, being real, and spending time with her husband and two daughters. She also really loves her dog Buddy and fish Lucy. When she is not busy writing or going through the Starbucks drive thru, you can find her talking to her plants Zoe, Evie and Albert. She didn’t name Evie. Her nine year old did. But she's totally an Edna so that’s what Kari calls her when her nine year old isn’t home.

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