Associate Arts Editor
WINNETKA, IL - Sun, sand, and sea. For Chicago's residents, the "sea" is replaced with "lake", indulging in the clear waters of Lake Michigan on the north end of the metropolitan area. Chicago's North Shore, consisting of some of the most affluent suburbs in the region, borders the shore of Lake Michigan.
In 1833, white settler displaced American Indians and forced them to sign a treaty, essentially barring the locals from ever having access to their lands again. The region was developed into towns following the opening of Northwestern University in Evanston in 1855 and the founding of Lake Forest College two years later.
This area became popular with the affluent wanting to escape urban life, beginning after the Great Chicago Fire, and grew rapidly before and just after World War II. Large mansions were built, along with lavish homes.
The North Shore is also the home of the Ravinia Festival, a historic outdoor music theater in Highland Park, Illinois.
Some of Chicago's more beautiful beaches are also located in the North Shore.
Winnetka’s Tower Beach, for example, has diverse amenities, including restrooms, showers, foot baths, concessions, water/sand play areas and beach volleyball courts. There are two parking lots available to beach-goers as well.
"The beaches here are great, and it's a really good time," mentioned Tommy, a young Winnetka Park District worker. "It's nice here, and the beaches are pretty clean. Everybody loves it."
Forest Park Beach in Lake Forest is considered one of the most attractive in the area because of the picturesque view, large beach and grass areas, walking trails, restrooms, a playground and fishing pier, and concessions They also offer a book cart for those craving a mid-afternoon novel.
If escaping Chicago's urban jungle is what you seek, the North Shore and its beaches provide a bit of serenity and piece of mind that is much needed during the summer months.
Make sure to bring sun screen, a beach towel, and a firm, toned body because things may get a little hot.