Free Beaches in Lake County

There is nothing better than going swimming in the summertime, and there is nothing EVEN better than getting to go swimming for free. I mean, come on, we live in a county named after water, so that must mean we have plenty of resources when it comes to playing in it, am I right? We here at Little Lake County have you covered this summer. No need to Google for all things free for your family. Nope, we have every beach that is free in the county listed here. Just add sunscreen.

Free Beaches in Lake County

With the incredibly wet season, we are having inland beaches can have closures due to the high bacteria levels. The Lake County Health Department tests beaches Memorial Day through Labor Day 4 days a week for Lake Michigan beaches and Biweekly for inland lakes. Check their website before heading out to ensure the beach is open. Little Lake County is not responsible for beach closures.

jones island beach grayslake
L. Thomas | | 2015

Jones Island Beach
243 Harvey Avenue, Grayslake
A great little beach tucked into a quiet neighborhood, it has no restrooms or lifeguards on duty. A nice place for a playdate or meetup and then maybe make a stop into nearby Grayslake or Hainesville for lunch afterward where they do have restrooms. It also has a great little playground for when your kids are tired of swimming. The water here is pretty shallow, note the area frequently holds water after heavy rains (and I don’t mean in the lake).

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.

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.

Breezewald Beach 
125 N. Old Rand Road, Lake Zurich
Free to all Lake Zurich residents, this beach offers swimming, fishing, restrooms, a playground, and shelter for picnicking. There are no lifeguards at this beach.  The beach opens for the season June 8 – August 11. Day Camps swim here daily from 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. There is a renovated bathhouse with showers and restrooms.

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.

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.

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.

illinois beach state park
© H. Garvey | Little Lake | 2016

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?

Free Beaches in McHenry County

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 lifeguards but do offer picnic shelters.

Find a Free Beach near you

Enjoy your free day at the beach and maybe use the money you saved to buy a little something fun for the person who just saved you some bucks on swimming?

I love tacos, shoes and chocolate. Not in that order.

What free beach is your favorite in Lake County? Let us know in the comments section.

Dance academy of Libertyville
About Kari Wagner Hoban 43 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.


  1. You did an injustice to Jones island. It has a portapotty, an amazing playground, lots of grassy areas with shade and picnic tables, two picnic shelters, two sand volleyball courts and the swimming area is roped off. Biggest downer is how far you have to walk from the parking area to the swimming area.

  2. Rosewood beach in Highland Park is also free. On Lake Michigan. It’s small and hidden but yeah. Thought I’d mention it. 🙂

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