There are many great Chicago and South Lake Michigan Harbors that boaters visit every summer! Here’s a list along with some great information on each starting from the northwest.
Northpoint Marina : The largest marina on Lake Michigan is home to over 1500 slips with some of the nicest facilities available. With transient slips available, this is a great place to stop off when cruising between Milwaukee and Chicago.
Waukegan Harbor : Just south of Northpoint Marina, Waukegan Harbor has some of the nicest amenities you’ll find. It also has excellent salmon and lake trout fishing right outside the harbor.
Wilmette Harbor : Wilmette Harbor is a very small harbor that caters primary to small sailboats. The main attraction though is the architecturally stunning Baha’i Temple which is a hidden gem for boaters just south of the harbor. Sporting one of the few areas with sand bars on the western shores of Lake Michigan, this area is anchor down at when light SW winds are blowing.
Montrose Harbor : Montrose Harbor is the most northern harbor in the 10 Chicago public harbors. Fishing from shore around the harbor is excellent and it also has a great bait shop too!
Belmont Harbor : Belmont Harbor is one of the largest harbors in Chicago providing slips to both sail and power boats. The fuel dock facilities can accommodate vessels up to 120′.
Diversey Harbor : This harbor is home to power boats only due to the bridge clearance of ~ 14′ at the mouth of the harbor. It’s one of the most vibrant harbors in Chicago and also has 2 launch ramps for daily boaters. Being steps away from Lincoln Park and Lincoln Park Zoo, this is a great place to lay up for the night. This could be the wildest Chicago and South Lake Michigan Harbors.
DuSable Harbor : DuSable Harbor sits on the northern point of Monroe Harbor which is where you would enter by sea. It’s the closest harbor to Navy Pier which always provides a great day of entertainment.
Monroe Harbor : The harbor of cans….. Not those cans but the cans you will have to moor your boat too! There are no slips at this harbor but the cans are a very affordable way to start boating in Chicago with some of the lowest rates for slips. Monroe also has a great “touch and go” for picking up and dropping off guests.
Burnham Harbor : Home of some of the largest yachts in Chicago and also the Chicago Bears, this harbor has something for everyone. Burnham Harbor is located with in walking distance of Chicago’s museum campus and Northerly Island which hosts outdoor summer concerts just about every week. Getting a transient slip on the east side of the harbor is the way to go to enjoy your favorite bank on the night of the concert.
31st Street Harbor : The newest harbor in Chicago, 31st offers some of the best amenities available to boaters. It also has a very wide and accessible set of launch ramps and hosts some great events over the summer. The Chicago In-Water Boat Show is one of a kind where you can pull up and dock your boat while browsing the newest boats available. There are also plenty of summertime concerts at 31st too.
59th St Harbor : This harbor is one of the smaller harbor in Chicago but one of the most beautiful. It’s a short walk to the Museum of Science and Industry and also the 63rd St Beach. There’s also a public golf course nearby too.
Jackson Park Outer & Jackson Park Inner : The Jackson Park Harbors are divided into two with Jackson Park Inner only able to accommodate power boats due to bridge restrictions similar to Diversey Harbor. The harbor has a fuel dock offering both gas and diesel.
Hammond Marina : Not only is Hammond Marina great to tie up at for a trip to the Horseshoe Casino but also hosts one of the best festivals of the year, Festival of the Lakes.
Michigan City Port : This harbor has gone through some great renovations over the past 10 years. There’s a great beach right next to harbor and home to some of the most majestic sand dunes in Indiana.
New Buffalo Harbor : New Buffalo is one of the closest and best destination when traveling from Chicago by sea. The Stray Dog Bar & Grill is a must see when your in town but there are plenty of good restaurants and bars within walking distance to the harbor. Transient slips are available at a great rate and it’s the perfect place for a quick overnight stay.
St Joseph & Benton Harbor : These two cities have developed into one of the most popular stopovers in the lake which lie at the mouth of a major river. West Basin Marina is a good place to stay since it’s the only marina with connection to the beachfront. This is definetly a port where you’ll want to spend a few night traveling around the river and also to see what both towns have to offer.
South Haven : South Haven is by far the premier cruising destination with multiple marinas available to dock at up and down the winding river which makes it so popular. It’s very easy to walk through this historic and beautiful town with it being another port that you’ll want to stay more than a day at. Another great resource for South Haven is the South Haven Visitors Bureau.
Saugatuck : Sometimes called the Cape Cod of the midwest, Saugatuck is a beehive of social activity. When you enter the channel into the Kalamazoo river there’s a great anchorage right inside to starboard which gets very crowded on the weekends. As you get into Kalamazoo Lake they’ll be plenty of slips on northside servicing the downtown area. This is one of the best Chicago and South Lake Michigan Harbors.
Holland : A pleasant town of tulips and Dutch charm on inviting Lake Macatawa, Holland’s beauty is unmatched. You won’t find the hustle bustle of Saugatuck in Holland but it’s a great place to explore and unwind. When entering this port you won’t miss the now silent foghorn of Big Red on the south pier.
Chicago and South Lake Michigan Harbors
There is nothing more beautiful than some of the Chicago and South Lake Michigan Harbors. To visit all the Chicago and South Lake Michigan Harbors takes years and should not be rushed. Please send your comments on your favorite Chicago and South Lake Michigan Harbors today.