Chicago, Illinois area Kitesurfing
Montrose Beach - Acceptable Wind Directions: NNW, N, NE, E, SE
Directions: Montrose is located East of the Montrose/Wilson exits just north of Irving Park Road off Lake Shore Drive. So if you are in the city, just take LSD north to the Wilson Avenue exit, making a right at the stop sign toward the beach. The approved kite launch is at the bog beach side (Westmost side) which is right there if you keep going straight to the water. You MUST adhere to the rules for riding at Montrose Beach, listed below.
Montrose Beach Kiteboarding Rules and Regulations
Zion Beach, Zion Illinois - Acceptable Wind Directions: N, NE, E, SE, S
Directions: Take I294/94 North almost to Great America. Exit Grand Street and head East like going to Great America. Go to the third light and take Rte. 21 North (make a left) to Rte. 41. It basically turns into 41. Take 41 to Wadsworth and make a right. Take Wadsworth all the way to the beach. There's a McDonalds at the entrance to the park so if you're hungry, you can fuel up there, if you like fast food that is... Kiters usually park at the last small lot on the right before the big lot at the end. If you walk the trail to the right, there is a small protected beach area where the wind is blocked by a rocky bluff on the beach that makes it better to sit and talk or watch while you're resting out of the wind.
Alternate Directions: Take I294/94 North to Exit 120. Take 120 East like to Waukegan Beach. Go about a mile to Rte 41 North. Exit 120 on the right and loop around and over onto 41 North. Stay in the left lane and get off on the first exit. I think this is Grand. Make a right to Green Bay Road. Green Bay Road is your second light at the McDonalds. Make a left on Green Bay Road going North. Take this about 5-10 minutes North to just past the Waukegan airport at Wadsworth. Make a right on Wadsworth and follow Wadsworth straight to Illinois State Beach park entrance. Kiters usually park at the last small lot on the right before the big lot at the end. If you walk the trail to the right, there is a small protected beach area where the wind is blocked by a rocky bluff on the beach that makes it better to sit and talk or watch while you're resting out of the wind.
Waukegan Beach, Waukegan Illinois - Acceptable Wind Directions: NNE, E, SSE, SSW
Directions: Take I294/94 North almost to Great America. You will exit Rte 120 heading East. Rte 137 is the exit just before 120 so watch for 120 after you pass Rte 137. You will take Rte 120 East until it dead ends at the beach. You will see the water from the deadend. You can go only left or right. Make a left and head North. You will go through a stop sign. At the second stop sign (just before going up a big ramp) make a right on Clayton over the train tracks. Take your first left even though it says dead-end (Seacrest Road?). You will be going through a boat-yard. It will hook around to the right to head East to the beach and end at a stop sign. Make a right at the stop sign and go left into the parking lot. Park at the North end - so you will do a U-turn. Walk your gear to the beach along the sandy path which is about 100 yards. This is the Northern-most area of the beach, away from the main bathing area. Do not kite and set up in the main beach areas during swim season, and avoid them in non-swim timeframes. It is best to keep separated from the bathers. Do not be a kook and show off for the locals.
63rd/64th Street Beach, Chicago Illinois - Acceptable Wind Directions: NW, N, NE, E, SE
63rd/64th Street Beach is currently closed to kiteboarding activity (2005). Montrose is the only inner-city beach allowing kiteboarding. Please refer to Montrose rules listed above. This beach is open only to PASA2 or IKO3 riders!!!
Directions: Lake Lake Shore Drive (41) South until you enter Jackson Park or take I90/94 South to the exit and head East to the Jackson Park area. This beach is better for the summer since its less crowded and the lifeguards are more in tune with kitesurfing. There is also a breakwall that protects the area from waves on N winds making it a better spot to kitesurf than Montrose, anyway. Check in with the lifeguard office to sign-in and sign-out for your safety. This is so they know everyone successfully came back from the water and they don't need to do a search and rescue.
Clinton Lake, Clinton Illinois - Acceptable Wind Directions: NW, W, SW
Directions: Clinton Lake is located roughly 35 miles from Champaign/Urbana or Bloomington/Normal.
I57, Northbound or Southbound: I57 to Champaign; exit onto I74 west to Farmer City (approximately 20 miles); exit onto Rt 54 west (left at stop sign at end of exit ramp). Take Rt 54 through Farmer City and proceed approximately 10 miles to DeWitt. Brown informational sign at DeWitt will read "Mascoutin State Recreation Area". Turn left at corner of Rt 54 and Co Hwy 14. Go through DeWitt and proceed approximately 1 mile, park is on the right side of road. Park office is first left after entering park.
I55, Southbound: I55 to Bloomington; follow I55 around south side of Bloomington and take I74 east for 2 miles; exit I74 onto Rt 51 south. Take Rt 51 south to Clinton (approximately 20 miles); ignore all Clinton exits and stay on the 4-lane going around town to the 2nd stop light (Rt 54). Turn left and follow Rt 54 through Clinton; proceed approximately 10 miles to DeWitt. Brown informational sign at DeWitt will read "Mascoutin State Recreation Area". Turn right onto Hwy 14 and follow this through DeWitt; proceed approximately 1 mile, the park is on the right side of road. Park office is first left after entering park. The lake is best reached from Route 10 which runs South of the lake. Clinton Lake Information is at the links below:
Clinton Lake Map and Information