Waukegan Beach

BeachFeatures & Attractions

Waukegan Municipal Beach is easily accessible by car, train, plane, bicycle or boat and is open every day of the year. Our 400-acre lakefront, with a mile-long beach and 1,000-slip marina offer opportunities for the recreational and competitive boaters, kiteboarders, and people who just want to enjoy the water.

A great location for live music, the Stiner Pavilion is home to the Waukegan Band on Tuesday nights and a variety of other concerts and festivals in summer months. Stop for ice cream and brats at Dockside area, enjoy mobile food vendors at the beach on the weekends, or bring your own picnic and watch sailboat races. The beach is also a short walk or bike ride from downtown Waukegan’s growing arts district, its restaurants.

The Waukegan Beach features one mile of sand along with some of the only remaining natural dunes in the area. Recreational activities (PDF) include swimming, sunbathing, picnicking, kiteboarding, sand soccer, and sand volleyball. Additionally, many special occasion pictures are captured and weddings are held on the beach.

The City is in partnership with Lake County Audubon Society (LCAS) to advance bird conservation and public environmental awareness; the partnership, Sharing Our Shore-Waukegan, has received national acclaim.  LCAS put together a self-guided, family friendly walk to encourage beach exploration.  A self-guided walk is available.

Important Safety Information

No lifeguards are on duty at this facility and swimming is at your own risk.

Beach Accessibility

The City of Waukegan is committed to providing a safe and accessible swimming beach.  The City has embarked on a mission to include amenities that enhance the beach experience for mobility impaired visitors.  In 2022, the City enhanced the concrete turnaround and drop-off area through an expansion of the patio and installation of a ramp that leads to a portable roll-out accessibility mat (also called Mobi-Mat).  The mat was installed at the beginning of the 2023 season.  The City also purchased two beach wheelchairs for use by the public.  Accessible parking and bathrooms are available at the beach. 

More information about the Beach Wheelchair Service is available online.

Beach Hours: Dawn to Dusk

The Waukegan Municipal Beach is open to the public year-round from dawn to dusk.  A parking fee is collected during the summer season* on Saturdays, Sundays and federal holidays (Memorial Day, Juneteenth, 4th of July and Labor Day) for all vehicles that do not display a current city sticker.  Vehicles displaying a current city sticker always park free. Parking fees are waived for active duty military, veterans and first responders. Pedestrians and cyclists always have free access to the beach.

 *The summer season begins the Saturday before Memorial Day weekend and ends on Labor Day. 

(City of Waukegan Ordinance Chapter 11, Article IV, Section 11-40.)

Beach Rules

  • No alcoholic beverages are permitted at the beach.
  • No glass containers are permitted at the beach.
  • No littering permitted on the beach. All litter must be deposited in receptacles provided or carried out.
  • No pets allowed on the sandy areas of the beach.
  • No vehicles allowed on the beach.
  • No loud music.
  • No fires are allowed on the beach.
  • No charcoal grilling permitted on the sandy areas or in the dunes of the beach. Charcoal grilling is only permitted in the designated grass picnic areas and within Stiner Pavilion. 
  • No walking outside of clearly marked trails or dunes, except as necessary for first responders or maintenance. 
  • No indirect or direct feeding of birds or any wild animals.
  • No motorized watercraft are allowed to land on the beach except in the area north of the designated marker and no such motorized watercraft are allowed to enter the public swimming area adjacent to the public swimming beach.

To report violators, call 847-599-2608. In case of emergency, call 911.

(City of Waukegan Ordinance Chapter 11, Article IV, Section 11-41.)