Home > Arts/Culture/Entertainment > Best hidden beach and nature hike

When it comes to Chicago beaches, finding a little patch of sand to call your own among the crowds is tricky. So if you prefer a more chill experience, head to the South Shore Beach and nature sanctuary tucked right behind the South Shore Cultural Center at 7059 S. South Shore. This four-season hidden spot offers impressive views of Chicago architecture and Indiana industry. But more important, it offers nature: warm sands in summer, impressive ice formations in winter, and fox sightings all year round, as the tiny prairie preserve mixes with a snug woodland where you can walk the trails on a boardwalk or sit and rest at a firepit or on the concrete rubble along the waterline.

The whole area is 65 acres of golf course (nine holes), beach house, sanctuary, and rodeo ring (where the Broken Arrow Riding Club, Chicago’s own Black-organized rodeo, often performs its shows). All are accessible to the public, which walks, rides, or drives through the colonnade entrance, with metered parking available behind the South Shore Cultural Center.

The beach is open 7 AM-11 PM every day. But swimming is permitted only when lifeguards are on duty during summer hours, and dogs are not permitted in the nature preserve area (because of the aforementioned foxes, et cetera). Whether you go to swim, golf, hike, or see rodeo, you’ll be happy to be a Chicagoan when you bask in the sun at this gem of a spot.

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