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.

For more info,

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.

Click here to see a map of the beach location.

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)
  • Liquor
  • Tents
  • Inflatables
  • Stages
  • 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.  

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Here is a list of races and events that the Chicago Tribune has reported on that take place at Montrose Harbor and may effect entry to the dog beach. 


 8/17/19 & 8/18/19 All Day  Chicago Air & Water Show (not specifically at Montrose)


9/22/19 10:30 AM Chicago Lung Run


See also the Chicago Tribune


We are traditionally challenged by the cost of keeping dog waste bags available at the beach.  We generally spend $1500 or more per year.

The board has decided that if we could find and acknowledge sponsors for each month, we could cover this cost and have a little left over for projects.  A sponsor could deduct this sponsorship as either advertising or a charitable donation to Friends of the Park, which is a 501c3 that we are affiliated with.  Since usage and awareness of MONDOG varies by season, the sponsorship would also vary by season: $120 per month for winter, $160 per month for spring and fall, and $200 per month for summer. 

If you or your organization is interested, the sponsorship of individual months for the next year are available at our online store.  Just click on the Donation Store along the top of our website page or click here.

Access to the Montrose Dog Beach for people and dogs is ALWAYS FREE unless the Chicago Parks District has set up a special event. In the case of the Dog Friendly Areas (DFAs) this is seldom to never.  However, another nearby event may restrict access to the DFA; but, going to the DFA is FREE.

There have been reports on our Facebook Page that people are trying to get admission fees for the Dog Beach.  These are SCAMS!  DO NOT PAY THEM!

This is not to say that you shouldn't follow the rules and have a DFA Tag to enter the Dog Beach.  These cost $5 - $10 from your vet and are good for the entire year.

Montrose Dog Beach was founded on a simple premise: “There is enough beach for everyone.” While our community has grown tremendously over the years, we believe the sentiment still holds true. We all love our slice of shoreline, but what many may not know is that the beach to our southeastern border is equally treasured by many species of birds and a large community of birders and nature lovers.

Unfortunately, the birders and nature lovers frequently contend with dogs that are illegally on both the main portion of the beach and in the two natural areas, Montrose Beach Dunes and Montrose Point. Dogs are not allowed in any of those areas whether leashed or unleashed.

The result, as the photo from a local birder shows, can be fatal for migratory birds that use the beach to rest and feed after long and exhausting migrations. Dogs are also a danger to the 11 bird species that nest at Montrose Beach. We’re sharing the stark photo of a Stilt Sandpiper, a rare bird for Montrose that was killed this past month by a dog that was on the beach illegally, to emphasize the importance of being thoughtful neighbors by only allowing dogs where they are permitted and always keeping dogs on-leash outside Montrose Dog Beach.

If you’re reading this, you’re likely part of the majority of people who love setting their pup free inside the dog beach, and then considerately leashes them on your way in and out. So we’re asking for your help to spread the word - both digitally and in person.


Thanks for your continued help keeping the beach safe, clean and fun for everyone.


Sandpiper being attacked by a off-leash dog

While the County and Chicago Park District post a long set of rules for the Dog Friendly Areas, we would like to remind everyone who uses the DFA of these essential rules:

 1. Be sure to get a new DFA tag at a participating local vet.

2. No food on the beach.

3. No prong collars.

4. No more than 3 dogs per person.

5. Pick up after your dog.

6. When you leave the Dog Friendly Area, make sure your dog is on a leash. 

Those bags aren't free!


The Bag dispensers at the entrances have been a great help in keeping the beach clean, but they aren't free.  Mondog purchases bags and fills the bag dispensers on the Dog Beach.

Donating to Mondog is a great way to support the dog beach, and keep those dispensers full. Help us help you keep Montrose Dog Beach safe and clean by making a donation today. Your donations are tax deductible.



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