I love fresh water lakes, in part because I was raised in western Michigan near Lake Michigan and the large number of lakes and rivers inland as well. While my other family members talked about sharks and alligators near coastal areas down south, I never had to fear the wildlife in the northern midwest. Sure, Wisconsin, and Michigan have black bears in varying areas, but they’re most uninterested in human beings compared to brown bears. On top of that, they’re largely absent from Illinois and Indiana, so I have little to fear from animals when I’m out swimming along the coasts of Lake Michigan. The bigger fear that Chicagoan residents should have regarding the water is rip currents. I learned this during a summer spent in Muskegon on the opposite coast. Still, there are a number of beautiful beaches along the Lake Michigan coastline in Chicago. If you live in the northern part of the city, there’s the North Avenue Beach near the Lincoln Park Zoo. If you live towards the south end of Chicago, you can visit 31st Street Beach and Oakwood Beach. I love stopping at one of the 20 or so cannabis dispensaries in the Chicago metropolitan area before heading to one of the many Lake Michigan beaches throughout the city. This summer is particularly warm so it is a wonderful time to be out at the water in Chicago. Because of Illinois’s recreational cannabis legalization, the area sees tourism focused solely on the cannabis industry. It’s common to see people puffing on cannabis vape pens out on public beaches and in public parks, despite the rules against public use.