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12th Street Beach to 63rd Street Beach - Paddle Illinois Water Trails

12th Street Beach to 63rd Street Beach

  • Skill Level:Expert
  • Trail Length:6.0 miles
  • Waterway Trail:Lake Michigan Trails
Expert, Lake Michigan Water Trails, Medium Trips

12th Street Beach to 63rd Street Beach

Directions: The designated kayak launch at 12th Street Beach is the south 100 yards of the beach (during the summer beach season). However if you ask permission from the beach manager, you may be allowed to launch closer to the beach house.

Parking at 12th Street Beach is limited and can be expensive. The large parking lot between the beach and the Planetarium is a fee lot. Meter parking may be available on Bond Drive (the street leading out to the Planetarium).

Use caution when landing or launching from 12th Street Beach during high wave conditions. A steel bulkhead wall protecting the beach stretches from the point of the Planetarium to the south side of the beach and lies only a few feet under the water surface in normal conditions. It becomes exposed in the troughs of waves and can severely damage a boat’s hull.

The designated kayak launch at 63rd Street Beach is the south end of the beach. Parking is in the small lot on the east side of Lake Shore Drive, directly south of the beach house, or in the lots directly across of Lake Shore Drive on either side of Hayes Drive.

To access the Jackson Park Inner Harbor Boat Ramp enter the parking lot on the south side of Hayes Drive, just west of Lake Shore Drive. The ramp is in the southwest corner of the lot. To enter the lake, paddle south through the Inner Harbor, under the Lake Shore Drive Bridge, and then north through the Outer Harbor to the harbor entrance.

Notes: For information on paddling Lake Michigan safely, see the Safety Center on the Chicago Area Sea Kayaking Association’s website at www.caska.org.

  • Directions: The designated kayak launch at 12th Street Beach is the south 100 yards of the beach (during the summer beach season). However if you ask permission from the beach manager, you may be allowed to launch closer to the beach house.
  • Parking at 12th Street Beach is limited and can be expensive. The large parking lot between the beach and the Planetarium is a fee lot. Meter parking may be available on Bond Drive (the street leading out to the Planetarium).
  • Use caution when landing or launching from 12th Street Beach during high wave conditions. A steel bulkhead wall protecting the beach stretches from the point of the Planetarium to the south side of the beach and lies only a few feet under the water surface in normal conditions. It becomes exposed in the troughs of waves and can severely damage a boat’s hull.
  • The designated kayak launch at 63rd Street Beach is the south end of the beach. Parking is in the small lot on the east side of Lake Shore Drive, directly south of the beach house, or in the lots directly across of Lake Shore Drive on either side of Hayes Drive.
  • To access the Jackson Park Inner Harbor Boat Ramp enter the parking lot on the south side of Hayes Drive, just west of Lake Shore Drive. The ramp is in the southwest corner of the lot. To enter the lake, paddle south through the Inner Harbor, under the Lake Shore Drive Bridge, and then north through the Outer Harbor to the harbor entrance.
  • Notes: For information on paddling Lake Michigan safely, see the Safety Center on the Chicago Area Sea Kayaking Association’s website at www.caska.org.

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