Swimming Lake Michigan, South of Chicago

SpacemanspiffSpacemanspiff Dallas, TexasMember
edited July 2014 in Locations & Networking
I have a meeting south of Chicago on Monday at noon. I'm going to fly in Sunday night to have dinner and I was hoping to get a swim in Lake Michigan Monday morning early. My hotel is off of I-90, right on the Indiana border and I see that there is a beach (Calumet Park) a couple miles up the highway. I'd like to get in a couple miles and still make it back to my hotel in time to shower, pack and get to my meeting by noon, so I can't really drive too far. Does anyone have any experience swimming from that beach? Are the life guards going to freak out if I swim beyond the beach area? Is it safe? (I notice what appear to be some significant shipping ports nearby). Should I bring my ISHOF? Is there a better alternative close by?


  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited July 2014
    Don't know about Calumet Park Beach, but one of the premiere OWS locations in the world is just up the road (6 miles along Lake Shore Drive) in Hyde Park, near University of Chicago. I highly recommend Promontory Point:


    Yes, the guards at most Chicago city beaches may freak out if you get too adventuresome, but the ones at the Point / 57th St Beach will leave you alone.

    Go in late morning and you may even run into Ted Erikson or Connie Wennenberg.
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    Go on a Tuesday and you may run into Chicken O'Sea.
  • SpacemanspiffSpacemanspiff Dallas, TexasMember
    Awesome. Thanks for the tip @evmo.
  • SpacemanspiffSpacemanspiff Dallas, TexasMember
    @evmo & @chickenosea, is that lot on the east side of Lakeshore the closest parking? If so, I guess I'll have to "speedo streak" X_X to the water.
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    edited July 2014
    It's on the west side of LSD, there's an underpass. I just bring swim stuff and clip my car key to my suit. Depending on what time you go there, there might be people around on the rocks you can leave your stuff with. There's a regular group at 6am too.

    I'm there right now. Lovely. Water's really warmed up. About 69
  • SpacemanspiffSpacemanspiff Dallas, TexasMember
    Success! Thanks @chickenosea and @evmo. After playing poker till 3 am, I didn't hit the water till 9:30 ish. There was an older gentleman getting out of the water with an improvised ISHOF-like device (except with a yellow buoy and a 5 foot tether). Swim was perfect, sunny, moderate temp, just a hint of chop. Stopped at a truck stop on the way downtown, changed into my "other" suit, slicked back my hair and made it to my meeting by noon. Booya.

    But for MSF, I might never have experienced this gem.
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    How did you like it? I was in today and it was lovely. Cooled off a bit at 62.
  • SpacemanspiffSpacemanspiff Dallas, TexasMember
    I'd guess it was somewhere between the 69 you reported on Sunday and the 62 from today. Mid-60's is my sweet spot, and it sure felt sweet. Water was clearer I expected (I could see the bottom nearly all the way across) and tasted as pure as bottled water. You are blessed! A giant step up from our North Texas mud holes.
  • I was looking for information on swimming in Lake Michigan from the Ohio Street Beach. My wife is running the marathon in two weeks and I thought I could slip in a little swim in Lake Michigan. My only concern is that the website states that the beaches are closed. Anyone know if I will cause a ruckus by swimming there? I don't actually know when I can get it in due to travel, packet pick-up and the actual race but I am thinking afternoon on Sunday while my wife recovers.

    Thanks for any information you can provide!

    Excellence is born of preparation, dedication, focus and tenacity; compromise on any of these and you become average.

  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member

    Hi It won't be a problem. What is the date of the marathon? The best place to swim is off Promontory Point, Hyde Park. It's a bit south of the loop, and worth the trip. You shouldn't be bothered by police if you swim at Ohio St beach, though. I've done heaps of off-season swimming there. Pm me or email me st saddlebagz@gmail.com

    I'm pretty much evangelical about Lake Michigan swimming. But I'm having more screws put in my ankle on Oct 9th, so probably can't join you :(.

  • SpacemanspiffSpacemanspiff Dallas, TexasMember

    I stayed in a hotel overlooking the Ohio Street Beach last fall, long after the official closing of the beach, and I saw swimmers doing laps around that cove all day long.

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