Wilmette, IL

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Updated on:
Mon, 2014-11-24 05:51

Gillson Park Dog Beach

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 must have a permit to use the Dog Beach. Please note: Dogs must be on leash at all times in Gillson Park while on their way to the dog beach. The dog beach has specific hours (see below) and will be closed on July 3 & 4 for Independence Day activities and fireworks. 


Click here for a copy of the Dog Beach permit application.

A copy of the current Gillson Park Dog Beach brochure can be downloaded by clicking the link at the bottom of this page.


Dog Beach Hours 

May 25 to Sept. 2, 2013

  • Monday to Friday: 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
  • Saturday & Sunday: 6 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

September 3, 2013 to May 24, 2014

  • Seven days a week: 6 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

To use the dog beach owners must purchase a tag for their dog—fees are $26 for residents and $154 for non-residents. Tags may be purchased at the Park District Administrative Office in Village Hall, 1200 Wilmette Ave. Permit tags are good for one year. They expire on April 30.

The Cook County Animal and Rabies Control Ordinance requires written proof of current vaccinations and an examination within the past year for any communicable diseases. Proof of a current rabies certificate is also required for permit purchase. The following inoculations/vaccines are required:

  • Rabies
  • Distemper
  • Hepatitis
  • Leptospirosis
  • Para-influenza
  • Parvovirus
  • Bordetella

Dogs are also welcome to play off leash in the large open area adjacent to West Park, located south of Lake and west of Laramie Avenues.

In ALL Wilmette parks, dogs must be on leash and owners are expected to clean up after their pet. Dogs are not permitted in tot lots, at the Wilmette Golf Club, in building interiors, at the outdoor pools, on the public swimming or sailing beaches, or in Gillson Park during special events such as Independence Day. 


By Ordinance of the Wilmette Park District the following rules apply: 

1. All dogs using designated off-leash play areas must have and wear a proper tag assigned to that dog.
2. Dogs must be on leash, at all times, when in Wilmette parks. Dogs must be under the control of a competent person and their leash may not exceed 10 feet. Owners are responsible for clean up.
3. Dogs are NOT permitted in tot lots, at the Wilmette Golf Club, in building interiors, at the outdoor pools, on the public swimming or sailing beaches, or in Gillson Park during special events such as Independence Day.
4. The Cook County Animal and Rabies Control Ordinance now requires written proof of current vaccinations and an examination within the past year for any communicable diseases. Proof of a current rabies certificate is also required for permit purchase.
5. Owners who fail to clean up after their dog(s) are subject to fines and loss of access privileges.
6. Dogs who exhibit aggressive behavior will lose access privileges to the play areas.
7. Dog owners/handlers must be at least 14 years old or a freshman in high school.
8. Daily access hours for dog play area adjacent to West Park are sunrise to sundown year-round.
9. Failure of dog owners to follow any and all rules, including keeping the designated areas clean, may result in loss of privileges for all users.
10. Swimming at the dog beach is for DOGS ONLY. Owners are not allowed to swim with their pets.


Fines for violating these rules:

  • $75  Dog off-leash in non-designated areas or designated areas off   hours.
  • $50  Dog on leash in non-designated areas or designated areas off hours.
  • $50  Failure of owner to clean up after dog.
  • $50  Dog on leash exceeding 10 feet in length.
  • Loss of Privilege: Aggressive or violent behavior by dog.
    (Ordinance 2004-0-3 adopted 6/14/04)   
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