Dog Parks And Beaches On The North Shore

Summer has finally (finally!) arrived, and that means some QT outdoors with your dog.

Here are the hot spots where you and your four-legged friend can get some exercise and a breath of fresh air.


Prairie Wolf Dog Exercise Area: Lake County Forest Preserves
Waukegan Road (Route 43) south of Old Mill Road and north of Half Day Road (Route 22), Lake Forest
Hours: 6:30 a.m. until sunset daily
Phone: 847-367-6640
Description: 44-acre off-leash area
Cost: Daily permits are $5 for Lake County residents ($10 for non-residents) and are available at a self-pay station located in the parking lot of each Dog Exercise Area. Annual permits are $44 for the first dog for Lake County residents ($120 for non-residents) and $18 ($56 for non-residents) for each additional dog in the same household.

Permits are available by mail, fax, online and in-person at the Lake County Forest Preserve General Offices at 2000 North Milwaukee Ave. in Libertyville. You will need to know your dog’s rabies tag number and your vehicle license plate number(s).

Independence Grove Dog Park: Lake County Forest Preserves
Milwaukee Avenue (Route 21), just north of Buckley Road (Route 137), Libertyville,
Hours: 6:30 a.m. to sunset daily
Phone: 847-367-6640
Description: 30-acre off-leash exercise area, fields and wooded areas, a large pond for swimming and retrieving games, and is fenced on three sides.
Cost: Lake County residents, $44 for the first dog and $18 each additional. Nonresidents, $120 for the first dog and $56 each additional.

girls sitting with dog

Beck Lake Dog-Friendly Area
Cook County Forest Preserve
Central Avenue and East River Rd., Glenview,
Hours: Sunrise to sunset
Phone: 847-635-7024
Descriptions: 26 acres of legal leash-free activity
Cost: $50 per dog. You must include a Permit Application (new or renewal) and a Veterinary Health Report. Apply by mail with form available on Web site.

Main-McCormick “Pooch Park”
City of Evanston and Skokie Park District
3220 Oakton St., Skokie
Hours: 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily
Phone: 847-674-1500
Description: 2.7-acre off-leash recreational dog area includes an area for small dogs/puppies.
Cost: The fee for an Evanston or Skokie household is $40 for the first dog and $10 for each additional dog. The fee for nonresidents is $80 for the first dog and $15 for each additional dog.
Permits are sold at: Robert Crown Center, 1701 Main St., Evanston; Oakton Community Center, 4701 Oakton St., Skokie; Devonshire Cultural Center, 4400 Greenwood, Skokie; Weber Leisure Center, 9300 Weber Park Place, Skokie

Glenview: Community Bark West (off-leash dog park)
Glenview Park District
1001 Zenith Drive (west of Milwaukee Ave., north of Central Ave.)
Hours: 6 a.m. – 9 p.m. (year-round)
(Closed for maintenance Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 8:30-11:30 a.m.)
Dog Passes for 2010-2011 season, valid from July 1, 2010-June 30, 2011
Can use passes prior to July 1, but must pay $5/month for May and June
Dog Park passes can be purchased at Park Center, 2400 Chestnut Ave.
Maximum of 5 dogs/family can be registered
Cost: $50/$100 R/NR
$25/$50 per additional dog per year R/NR
Additional swipe cards: $10 each

Buffalo Grove: Happy Tails Dog Park
835 Commerce Court, Located at the south end of the parking lot at the Sidney Mathias Metra Train Station
Phone: 847-850-2100
Currently available for Buffalo Grove Park district residents only
Hours: Sunrise to Sunset
Cost: $6/dog, limit 3 dogs/person
Annual Fee: $30 for 1st dog, $15 for each additional dog

Deerfield: Jaycee Memorial Park
1050 Wilmot Road
Phone: 847-945-0650
Open year-round, dawn-dusk
Free, no special permit required

dog playing tug of war on the beach


Highland Park Dog Beach
Park District of Highland Park
2501 Sheridan Rd., Sheridan Road and Moraine Road
Hours: Dawn to dusk
Phone: 847-433-6901
Description: Off-leash dog exercise area
Cost: Resident Fee $40/each dog and current City of Highland Park dog tag, Nonresident Fee $140 each dog and current Lake County rabies vaccination paperwork. To receive a permit, bring your canine friend, along with your city tag license number and rabies tag to Heller Nature Center, 2821 Ridge Road, Highland Park.

Gillson Park Dog Beach
Wilmette Park District
South end of Gillson Park, Sheridan Road and Harbor Drive, Wilmette
Hours: Closed on Memorial Day; July 3 & 4; and Labor Day, September 7.
May 23 to Sept. 6, Monday – Friday 6 a.m. – 11 a.m and 5 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.;
Saturday – Sunday 6 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. Sept. 8 to May 28, 2010, Seven days a week 6 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Phone: 847-256-9656
Description: Leash-free zone, fenced Dog Beach between the pier and harbor mouth (south end of park). Dogs are also welcome to play off leash in the large open area adjacent to West Park, south of Lake Avenue and west of Laramie Avenue.
Cost: $25-Resident, and $150-Non Resident. Purchase a beach permit tag at 1200 Wilmette Ave.

Evanston Dog Beach
City of Evanston
1631 Sheridan Rd. (Church Street and the lake)
Hours: 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. (May-October)
Phone: 847-866-2900
Description: Leash-free zone and dog beach
Cost: $40 (per dog-Evanston Resident) and $80 (per dog- Non Resident). Need a beach token to be admitted-can be purchased at Dempster Street Beach Office.

Centennial Park Beach
Winnetka Park District
South of Elder and Sheridan Rd., Winnetka
Hours: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Phone: 847-501-2040
Description: Leash-free zone and dog beach next to, not including, Centennial Park
Cost: $30-Resident ($10 additional dog) and $160-Non Resident ($60-pass, $100 MANDATORY parking pass) ($35 additional dog).

Lake Bluff: Sunrise Park and Beach
1 E. Center Street
Phone: 847-234-4150
Hours: Sunrise to Sunset
Cost: Residents-free with beach pass and dog sticker
Non-residents-$150/pass and sticker