From May to September, the Health Department's Lakes Management Unit samples Lake Michigan beaches 4 days a week. Beaches on inland lakes are tested biweekly (2 times per month). The water samples are tested for E coli bacteria, which are found in the intestines of almost all warm-blooded animals. While not all strains of E coli are the same, certain strains can make humans sick if ingested in high enough concentrations.
If water samples come back high for E coli (235 E coli/100 ml), the management body for the bathing beach is notified and a sign is posted indicating the beach closure. Additionally, since rain events tend to lead to elevated bacteria levels in the water column, we advise that people avoid swimming after a large rain event.
Two of these beaches are monitored through the utilization of SwimCast systems, which provide staff members and beach operators with real-time conditions, allowing for the most accurate and timely decisions regarding the health of Lake County beaches. SwimCast measures air and water temperature, wind speed and direction, precipitation, relative humidity, wave height, lake stage, insolation (light energy) and other water quality parameters to help predict when E coli levels are low enough to indicate safe swimming conditions or high enough to call for a swim ban.
Note: Per the Illinois Swimming Code, there is no swimming at dog beaches.
Current and Historic Beach Data: http://www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/ilbeaches/public/
Beach Safety: Check for the most recent beach hazards, including high waves: https://www.weather.gov/greatlakes/beachhazards
Bacteria Level Key
Caution swimming advisory
No swimming is advised
|Lake Michigan Beaches||Status|
|Forest Park Beach|
|Foss Park Beach|
|Illinois Beach State Park North Beach |
|Illinois Beach State Park Resort Beach|
|Illinois Beach State Park South Beach|
|Lake Bluff Dog Beach|
|Lake Bluff Sunrise Beach|
|Moraine Dog Beach|
|North Point Marina Beach|
|Nunn Beach (Great Lakes), Friday - Sunday only|
|Park Avenue Boating Facility|
|Waukegan North Beach|
|Waukegan South Beach|
Updated Friday, September 1, 2023