We do love the beach and if it has to be a giant lake then so be it. Lake Michigan offers up some solid beach front and waves big enough for the girls to frolic. Not a big fan of the over protective lifeguards but recognize the rational. My go to beach is Montrose Harbor - definitely not the go to beach of most Chicagoans as North Street and Oak Street are way more happening and walkable to most who live downtown or in the neighborhoods. Montrose is a bit north but the expansive park that borders the beach has ample parking and accommodations are solid. The beach is huge so crowds, especially on a weekday, are not a problem. I used to play soccer here back in the day every saturday. Then I would go to the beach and cool off with a swim. Once in a while the girls would come down to "watch" so we have come familiar with this stretch of Chicago.
That is a lot of beach.
Breaking wave ... not surfable but looks good.
Nice view of the Chicago neighborhoods to the north all the way up to Evanston.
And a selfie - head gear in place to ward off the midwest sun.
Girls goofing ...