Rainbow Beach – Illinois, USA


Rainbow Beach is located in the South Chicago neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois, on 75th Street at Lake Michigan. It is known for having one of the very best views of Chicago’s skyline. Spanning across almost 70 acres, and Rainbow Beach Park has one of the oldest community gardens in Chicago. It was once named Rocky Ledge Beach, but once the area acquired more land, it was changed to Rainbow Beach officially in 1918 – named after the U.S. Army’s 42nd Rainbow Division that fought in World War I. 

In 2013, a stormwater filter was installed here, reducing pollution and making the beach more habitable for wildlife. There is a triangular “natural area” at the site with federally endangered and protected native plants. The northeast end of the beach has about 9 acres of dune habitat as well, where dune plants have established themselves. Native dune grasses spontaneously began to appear once the land was protected, indicating the resilience of the ecosystem. Much like the Montrose Beach dunes, there is a diverse variety of plants, which in turn, create amazing habitats for birds to thrive. The Rainbow Beach dunes trail and neighboring parkland is known as a birding hotspot within the Chicago city limits, as it attracts numerous migratory birds including warblers, sparrows, and shorebirds. There are occasionally rare birds that appear in the dunes or on the beach as well, which birders usually often report and record on eBird.org. 

 Owen traveled frequently to Rainbow Beach in September 2021, and has photographed the American Goldfinch, American Kestrel, Black-bellied Plover, Black-throated Blue Warbler, and more.

Birds found here