open water

The long sandy beach at Montrose Harbor is popular for every kind of beach fun in Chicago in the Summer. But the nearby seawall along the South side of Montrose harbor “The Ledge”, can be a better destination for open water swimming for a lot of reasons: Montrose Ledge has perfect skyline views, no crowds (with one important exception), shelter from NW waves like the 2+ foot (0.6m) ones that were hitting most of the Chicago Lakeshore one weekend in late June, but mellowed to gentle slow rollers at this spot.

Chicago Skyline behind the open water swimming area at Montrose Ledge at Montrose Point



The Montrose Ledge Seawall at Montrose Point


When your swim’s over enjoy an easy non-sandy water exit from the seawall ladders, a walk through the groomed Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary, and (in the summer) a beer and taco from nearby institution The Dock. Check out the Great Lakes Jumper (@danielt.oc) for a lot of great pics (and jumps) often from this spot, year-round.

Lakeside access to Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary on Lake Michigan in Chicago.




Seawall at Montrose Ledge at Montrose Point on Lake Michigan in Chicago


One important change to the open water swimming conditions at Montrose Ledge happens on Friday mornings in the Summer when the Friday Morning Swim Club takes over.  You might still have a fantastic swim, if you’re looking camaraderie with hundreds of swim enthusiasts who will be more focused on relaxing and socializing in the water than having a long swim. On those days, consider bringing a big inner tube in place of your open water swim buoy .