You don't have to be a resident of Chicago to use the Dog Beach, but you do have to follow the same rules as everyone, including getting a DFA tag. You need to contact one of the vets on the Participating Veterinarian list and ask what they require to issue a tag. Most vets will want you to make an appointment to review your vaccination records, and insure your dog is healthy. You can use the rabies tag and town registration from your town instead of getting a Chicago Dog license.
There are no special visitor or day passes.
My dog escaped, why isn't the fence extended into the lake?
Extending the fence into the lake may solve that problem, but would create many more. Remember the lake is a living natural area that changes almost daily. Water levers are in constant flux, and sand is moved around with every storm. In the winter the waters edge freezes, and if it's cold enough, large ice mounds form along the shore line. Running a fence into the water would be a loosing battle. It would need constant maintenance and replacing. It would be destroyed by the ice in the winter. Changes in water and sand could put the fence mostly under water and become a hazard to dogs and swimmers, or float it over the water and it's useless. Our shoreline and sand bar has moved every season, so how far would you even run it into the lake?
A fence in the water would also become a big net, and collect the algae and garbage that's brought in with the tides and storms. Once the fence was clogged with debris, the natural water flow would be inhibited and water would become stagnant and hazardous to dogs and swimmers, harbouring bacteria and parasites that would normally be washed out.
A well trained dog with a good disposition and temperament should not escape. Training your dog is easier and safer than extending the fence.
No—there are two new legal dog beaches at Belmont Harbor and Foster Beach.
The small beach area in Belmont Harbor has been used as a dog beach for years, and is preferred by many people because it's completely fenced in.
The Dog Beach at Foster is located on the north tip of the beach. It has a ramp and double gated entrance. It's fenced in, but like Montrose, is not impenetrable. It's also a small beach, and good for small dogs.
MonDog is not associated with these beaches.
That green stuff is algae. It comes in with the tide. During the summer months the big beach sweepers clear the algee away but in the off season it's allowed to build up along the beach front.
It full of nutritional food for birds, making Montrose Beach an important rest stop for migrating birds.
It takes a lot of work, time, and money to establish a DFA. The Chicago Park District doesn't just put them in anywhere, you have to work for it. You will need to establish a community group to to raise money and jump through the Park Districts hoops. The current amount needed to establish a dog park is $150,000. The average amount of time to get a dog park built is 2 years. If your DFA actually gets built, your involvement doesn't stop there. Your community group has to act as the Park Advisory Council (PAC) for the DFA. You have to keep the park clean, provide poop bags, raise money for improvements, pay for gravel if needed, etc.
The Dog Beach is fenced in on two sides with the lake making the third, but it is not impenetrable. There are gaps in fences and gates that enterprising dogs can get through. Additionally the fence doesn't run all the way into the lake. Depending on water levels and sand build up, there may be a gap of a couple feet or more between the waters edge and the end of the fence.
That's why it's important that your dog is trained before he comes to the beach, and that you keep your eye's on your dog at all times.
There in no fee to use the Dog Beach. However you are required to have a DFA tag that is good at any of Chicago's Dog Parks. The tag itself will cost you $5, plus a vet visit.
The dog beach is located on the Northwest corner of Montrose Beach (the point closest to the city). Just follow Wilson Avenue east until it curves to the left at the lake. Look for the big corrugated steel walls of the old Boat Launch, and you're there. The main entrance to the beach is through the boat launch, and down the ADA ramp. There is a second entrance on the beach to the right (south) of the boat launch at the end of the path, and down the rockwall.
The easiest thing you can do to help is to be a good and responsible member of the beach comminity. Take the initiative to clean up messes and trash that aren't yours. Apprase new beach users of the rules, and the ways of the beach. Lend a hand, or an extra bag, when someone is in need. Most importantly set a good example for others by following the rules, and being responsible for your dogs.
And of course, we always need donations. By donating your time or donate funds, you help keep Montrose Dog Beach clean, safe, and legal!
There is a very small parking lot at the entrance to the ramp. It's divided up between handicapped and regular parking, and it's hard to get a spot there. There is ample street parking. During the busy summer weekends it can be difficult to find parking during peak hours, so come early, or come late.
Parking is still free, for now.
A red flag means there is a swim ban in effect, and swimming is prohibited. A swim ban may occur if weather conditions are dangerous or there may be a risk of illness based on monitoring for bacteria in the water. Typically a swim ban will be in effect for an entire day.
The Park District monitors the water quality for people, not dogs. Typically during a swim ban your dog will be allowed in the water, but you may not be allowed in the water to your knees, or not at all. Keep in mind just because your dog is allowed in the water, it doesn't mean it's safe for him. Rasised levels of bacteria can also effect your dog.
The Dog Beach is open year round, during all regular Chicago Park District hours.
Try looking in our DFA FAQ page.
Or go directly to the Chicago Park District Web site.
We receive a lot of ideas and requests to have events on the Dog Beach. Unfortunately we're not the ones who give permits for events on the Dog Beach. It's part of the Chicago Park District. In general their rules say any event with 50 or more participants, any advertising, or at a specific location (like the dog beach) requires a permit.
Typically they do not allow parties or events on the Dog Beach. There's just too many logistic issues, too many thing that could go wrong. They won't grant a permit for anything with food on the Dog Beach. Dogs and food do not mix well.
We suggest having your event or party in the grassy area near the Dog Beach. Your guests can accompany their dogs to the beach, then relax at your event afterward. Please be sure your guests read and follow the Dog Beach rules posted at the entrances and on our web site to ensure everyone has a safe and fun time.
For more info on Park District permits, check out their web site.
Any event on park property is subject to the approval of the Chicago Park District. Certain activities that require a Chicago Park District Special Event Permit include the following:
- Events with 50 or more participants
- Use of amplified sound
- Any advertising or sponsorship activities
- Selling and/or distributing food, goods or merchandise (this includes exercise classes or boot camps)
- Specific location reservations
Please consider that there are other activities or proposed event features that may require you to secure a Chicago Park District Special Event Permit. Contact the Chicago Park District Department of Park Services at (312) 742-5369 to discuss availability and options.
No. Dogs are not allowed on the people side of Montrose Beach or any other beach, on or off leash. You can get ticketed for it. That's why the dog beach was originally founded, to give dogs a place to run and swim safely and legally. Please be considerate, keep your dogs inside the dog beach area, and don't bother other beach users. Not everyone loves dogs as much as we do.