Visiting Chicago’s Montrose Dog Beach

dog swimming at beach

Josie takes a swim at Montrose Dog Beach!

This may seem strange, but the first time I visited Montrose Dog Beach with my dog Josie I was nervous. I read some of the more colorful and, uh, passionate “Mon-Dog” Yelp reviews and went there expecting angry dog owners, children running wild, dog poop strewn about the beach and a pack of wild hyenas there to chase down my sweet pup. After visiting the dog beach at Montrose several times over the last few weeks, I am happy to report, in my experience anyway, I have witnessed none of that. What I have seen is a wonderful, clean, courteous space for dogs to be dogs, run, play and enjoy the water and the waves.

We have met dozens of dogs there and every dog we’ve met has been, well, a dog. I have seen nothing out of the ordinary and I would go so far as to call that section of the beach remarkably clean. At any dog park, when dogs are running free and interacting with each other, there will be some behavior that might seem aggressive or alarming, but usually, the dogs are just playing and working things out in their normal, natural way. Yes, sometimes dogs can bully other dogs or play too rough, but such is the nature and expectation at a dog park and Montrose Dog Beach seems to me to be an exceptional space for dogs to play.

Montrose Dog Beach is free to use as long as your dog has Dog Friendly Area tag and is up to date on all required vaccines. There is a small parking lot at the entrance of the dog beach and even though it is often full, there is plenty of free parking near by. While dogs aren’t allowed on the people side of the beach, there is tons of green space for exploring and walking before or after a beach visit.

Belmont Harbor Dog Beach and The Dog Beach at Foster are two other options with good reputations and we plan on visiting both of them very soon. Maybe later today!

I have read that the beach can be crowded at peak times and if your dog is not comfortable around dozens of dogs, then it’s best to go early in the morning on a weekday, but I discovered my dog enjoyed having so many potential playmates and I have had good experiences with the majority of the dog owners I have spoken to there. We’ve also found there are normally plenty of tennis balls lying; watching my Boston Terrier splash into the waves of Lake Michigan after a ball is truly a joyful experience and one I highly recommend.

Visit Montrose Dog Beach webpage

for more information and a list of FAQs.

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