Gillson Beach in Wilmette is one of our favorite places to paddle. Located just off of Sheridan Road, kayaking here offers great views of the Baha'i Temple, sunsets, and when we paddle south, the Chicago Skyline.
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From 94/41: Exit at Lake Avenue (northbound traffic) or Skokie Blvd (Southbound traffic). Travel east on Lake Avenue for approximately 3 miles (you will go over railroad tracks). Continue east on Lake Avenue until you reach Sheridan Road. Turn right on Sheridan Road and travel south for approximately half a mile. Gilson Park is on the left (east) side of the road.
From Lake Shore Drive: Take Lake Shore north to Sheridan. Continue north on Sheridan into Evanston, past Northwestern University and into Wilmette. Once in Wilmette, you will pass the Baha'i Temple on your left before crossing a bridge over the Wilmette Harbor. Immediately after the bridge you will encounter the entrance to Gilson Park on the right (east side of the road).
Public Transportation: Gillson Beach is just a few blocks walk from the end of the CTA Purple Line at Linden. Just walk east down Linden Ave. and then turn Left when you hit the Baha'i Temple. Gilson Beach will be just over the bridge past the harbor. It's about a 10 or 15 minute walk from the Linden CTA Station. You could also get there from the Wilmette Metra (UPN). Take the Pace Bus 422 East to Central and 4th, and then continue walking east to Sheridan Road. The Gillson Park entrance will be South about a block.
For GPS Directions: The Gillson Park entrance is located at approximately 650 Sheridan Road, Wilmette Il 60091. Our Kayak launch is located at the end of Harbor Drive.
Parking in Gillson Park: Parking is available on Middle Drive for non-residents, and on Overlook Drive (right by the beach) for Wilmette residents. The Wilmette police will ticket any cars parked along the beach on Overlook Drive if they don't have Wilmette stickers...make sure to check your parking location! Alternate parking is also available on Michigan Avenue, and west of Sheridan Road- just be aware of posted signs regarding restrictions. On nice days, these streets can fill up, so allow extra time for parking Kayak Launch: The kayak launch site is at the southernmost end of Gilson Park. As you walk or drive into the park from Sheridan Road, the launch site is straight ahead of you as the road turns to the left to follow the lake front. The launch site is between two breakwaters, just north of the Wilmette Harbor. For those familiar with Gilson Park, we are next to the beach with the dog beach.