8 local dog-friendly beaches

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Does Fritzy fancy a frolic in the frothy waves? There is hardly anything cuter - or drippier - than a dog at the beach. Here are some places where Rover can romp:

1) Belmont Harbor, Chicago

Dogs are allowed off-leash in the fenced beach area north of Belmont Harbor, located off Lake Shore Drive just south of Recreation Drive. Enjoy the small strip of sand on the west side of Belmont Harbor.

2) Evanston Dog Beach, Evanston

Evanston’s Dog Beach is located just north of the Church Street launch facility, where Church Street meets the lake. Admission restricted to owners or handlers with a dog beach pass. Dogs must be licensed.

3) Gillson Park, Wilmette

Wilmette’s Dog Beach, located at the south end of Gillson Park, is a popular off-leash destination for many four-footed friends and their owners. Dogs are required to be leashed at all times in Gillson Park while on their way to the dog beach. Owners must purchase a tag for their dog: $25 for residents and $150 for non-residents. Tags are good for one year.

4) Montrose Beach, Chicago

The dog beach is a fenced-off area located on the northwest corner of Montrose Beach (point closest to the city). Dogs are allowed off-leash on the beach but they must remain leashed when going to and from the car or anywhere outside the off-leash area. Anyone using the beach is required to have a DFA (Dog Friendly Area) tag to prove their dog is vaccinated and in good health.

5) Moraine Dog Park and Beach, Highland Park

Registration at Heller Nature Center required with proof of license and rabies vaccination. A portion of the Moraine Beach is designated as a fenced, off-leash exercise beach for dogs. A picture permit card is required to exercise dogs in this area.

6) Sunrise Park & Beach, Lake Bluff

Dog owners must present a current beach pass or resident driver’s license and their dog must have a current dog tag issued by the Park District. Proof of current vaccination is needed. Dogs must be kept on a six-inch leash on the bluff and beach areas and may be left off the leash only in the designated fenced-in area at far north end of the beach. Residents are free with beach pass and dog sticker. Non-residents: $150/pass and sticker.

7) Centennial Beach, Winnetka

The Winnetka Park District operates an off-leash dog beach at Centennial Park south of Elder Lane and Sheridan Road. Owners must have a valid pass for their pooch. Passes may be purchased at the administrative offices and are valid through March 31, 2013.

8) Porter, Lake Michigan: Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

The national lakeshore beach east of Indiana Dunes State Park is open to dogs on a leash no longer than six inches. Dogs are not permitted on the beach west of the state park (State Highway 49). Dogs are permitted in parking areas and trails near the beach area, but they must stay off the actual closed beach and be leashed at all times, even when swimming in the lake.