6 Chicago Water Activities for Dogs

Avast ye, landfluffers! It’s the perfect time to get out on the water with your dog in Chicago. We chased down 6 splashtastic water activities for dogs (and DANG are they cute).

1. Teach Your Dog to Swim

Before boarding a boat or hitting the beach, it’s important to know if your dog can swim (and enjoys it). At Doggy Paddle, an instructor helps your doggo feel confident in the water, and a life vest will make her feel cute as heck. After your dog knows the ropes (typically in 1-3 lessons), she can attend pool playgroups with buddies who match her vibe. And while knowing how to swim is key, remember to always play it safe and put your pup in a life vest when on a watery adventure.

2. Have a Beach Party at Montrose Dog Beach

Everypuppy who’s anypuppy knows that Montrose Dog Beach is THE place to sniff and be sniffed. At 3.8 acres and equipped with its own wash station and toy bar, Montrose is top dog. And okay, we get it, it’s a nice beach by human standards, too. But don’t be that owner (the dog park is not the place to work on your tan!). The beach is a lot of fun, but it can also just be a LOT. Make sure you brush up on how to be a good dog park citizen cause your dog’ll need your help navigating all the complex interpupsonal situations they find themselves in. 

3. Enjoy a Quiet Paddle at Belmont Harbor

If your doggo (or you) are overwhelmed by the sheer size and chaos of Montrose, take things a little easier at Belmont Harbor. This small strip of sand is perfect for smaller pups, or ones whose recall might need a little work (no judgment). Belmont’s proximity to the Lake Shore path also means there’s plenty of green space to dry off and get out the last of those zoomies. 

4. Take a Chicago Cruise

Your pup is so, so good. Don’t you think she deserves to be on a boat? See the sights with Mercury Canine Cruises, where she’ll enjoy an incredible 90-minute ride that features flexible seating, tons of water bowls, a narrated architectural tour, and a newspaper-lined little pupper’s room. Set sail on summer Saturdays and Sundays at 10:15 a.m. and get ready to bask in all the puppy smiles.

5. Stand-up Paddle board Rental in Chicago

We could learn a lot from dogs about how to keep our lives in balance, adopt a more zen mindset, and just breathe. So it stands to reason that in all likelihood, they are probably better than us at stand-up paddle boarding. Paddle boarding with your dog is a great way to chill together and just float for a while. Rent a board and try to stay afloat with Chicago SUP—and hey, falling in is a great way to cool off! 

6. Make a Splash at Prairie Wolf

Escape the concrete jungle for an afternoon and head up to Prairie Wolf Dog Park. This forest preserve will make you both feel like L.L. Bean models. Seated on 44 acres, not only is there plenty of room to romp off-leash, there’s also a pond stocked with fishes that’s perfect for a quick dip. 

What’s pup’s pawferred mode of water recreation? Woof at us in the comments, and don’t furget to tag @SidewalkDog in your pics while you’re out doin’ swimmies so we can give you ALL the heart eyes. 

Featured photo: Mia Anderson

Sidewalk Dog’s mission is to help dog parents spend more time with their puppers by discovering and sharing activities they can do and places they can go—together! Sniff out our award-winning newsletter and Instagram, and join our Dog-Friendly Chicago Facebook Group.

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