If you hoped to get your beach body ready in time for this year's beach opening, you will have officially run out of time by Memorial Day weekend. The major U.S. beach season kicks off May 22 and 23 at shores in New York City, Long Island, N.Y., and along Lake Michigan in Chicago. Unlike in the southern U.S., states where the warmer climate allows beaches to be open nearly year-round, the beaches up north are seasonal and typically close around Labor Day in September. Here's a quick guide to the 2015 beach season:
New York City: The city Parks Department maintains 14 miles of beaches, all of which are open from Memorial Day weekend (May 23) through Labor Day. Lifeguards are on duty daily at the city's beaches, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Swimming is not allowed when lifeguards are not on duty, or in closed sections marked with signs or red flags. For more information about specific beach locations, click here.
Long Island, New York: Open from late May until Labor Day, Jones Beach State Park, about an hour from New York City, and the beaches in Montauk and the Hamptons, are consistently ranked among the top waterfronts in the U.S. However, some of Long Island's beaches are restricted to residents and others assess a fee for use. For more information about specific beach locations, click here.
Chicago: The Windy City's metropolitan waterfront includes 24 beaches along parts of the Lake Michigan shores. The beaches are open from Memorial Day weekend (May 22) through Labor Day. Swimming is permitted, but only while lifeguards are on duty, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Lifeguards now have the ability to update a Chicago Park District website in real time from the beach. This allows beach goers easier access to swim restrictions based on poor weather and rough surf, as well as water quality restrictions. The beach website also include information about concessions, accessibility, and parking. For more information about the beaches, click here.