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Crown Memorial State Beach
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About The Park
Crown Beach is operated by the Park District under a cooperative agreement with the State of California and City of Alameda. It is named in memory of State Assemblyman Robert W. Crown, who had campaigned for its preservation as public parkland. In 2013, a $5.7 million project that pumped 82,600 cubic yards of sand restored the beach and dune system to its 1987 footprint. More Information: Crown Memorial State Beach Sand Project
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Showpiece of the park is its 2.5-mile beach, with sand dunes bordering a bicycle trail. The beach is a great achievement of landscaping and engineering. After wind and water action had eroded the beach dangerously, it was restored in early 1982 with sand from San Francisco Bay, pumped ashore by pipeline from a barge. More sand has been added since then, and groins have been constructed to keep it in place.
From the 1880s until the outbreak of World War II, Alameda Beach was renowned as an amusement center, the largest beach on San Francisco Bay.
Known for its beautiful sands and warm waters, the beach was a popular day-trip destination for residents from throughout the region. It earned the name "Coney Island of the West," and bathing spas competed for patronage by staging concerts, balloon ascents, carnival rides, baseball games, prize fights, and other publicity stunts.
The carnival is over, but the beautiful beach is back, bordered by lawns and picnic grounds. Some of the area's colorful past is preserved in exhibits at the park's Crab Cove Visitor Center.
The natural history of Crown is emphasized in two locations. Elsie Roemer Bird Sanctuary at the east end harbors aquatic birds and other salt marsh creatures. Crab Cove at the north end is a marine reserve where all plant and animal life is protected. Note that there is no entry into the Elsie Roemer Bird Sanctuary to facilitate ongoing restoration work.
Crab Cove Visitor Center, located on McKay Avenue within Crown Beach, contains exhibits and aquaria highlighting flora and fauna of San Francisco Bay and other marine areas. To read more about the visitor center, visit the Crab Cove Visitor Center page.
There are picnic areas nearby; alcoholic beverages are prohibited except with a permit at a reservable picnic area. There is seasonal parking fee.
The water is warm and shallow at Crown Beach. At the west end of the beach is a bathhouse with changing rooms. Swimming is permitted during park hours year round. No lifeguards are on duty.
There is no boat launch facility. Only sailboards, kayaks and car-top inflatables are permitted at Crown Beach. For more information, see our Boating and Sailing page.
Crown Beach is popular with windsurfers and kiteboarders. Rental equipment and lessons are available on spring weekends and during the summer. Call (415) 385-1224 for information.
Next to the bathhouse are picnic tables, barbecue pits and lots of lawn area for ball games. Some picnic areas are reservable; call 1-888-EBPARKS or 1-888-327-2757, press option 2 to make a reservation.
Fishing is allowed from shore subject to State Fish and Game regulations. Persons 16 years and older must have a California State Fishing License. No Park District Fishing Access Permit is required.
Dogs are not permitted on the beach. Dogs are allowed only on lawn areas and along the paved pathways. Dogs must be on leash (six-foot maximum) and under control at all times. Please clean up after your dog.
Naturalist-guided programs for school groups and other organized groups are available in the Crab Cove Visitor Center Wednesday through Friday by advance reservation. Call (888) 327-2757 x3187 for information. To browse programs online, visit EBParks.org/Register.
An annual crowd-pleasing tradition at Crown is the Sand Castle and Sand Sculpture Contest, held in front of the bathhouse on a low-tide Saturday morning in June. Open to all ages, the contest attracts hundreds of participants and spectators. High tide destroys the sand creations, but winners receive trophies and ribbons as mementos of their artistry.
Concerts at the Cove offer incredible free music and fun! Extended hours at the Visitor Center plus family activities on the deck and beautiful views of San Francisco Bay make our concerts extra special. Bring your blanket or lawn chair; food and beverages available for purchase. For information, see the Special Events page.
You can save the Crab Cove movie to your computer in QuickTime format. If you don't have QuickTime, you may download QuickTime here.
Download: Crown Beach Movie Clip (7.5 MB QuickTime movie)
The following facilities are accessible to wheelchair users: Nepture reservable picnic area, Crolls Garden reservable picnic area, Rocky Shoreline Tide Ramp, Crab Cove Visitor Center and the bathhouse.
Wheelchair accessible restrooms, drinking fountains, parking and paved trails are also available.
Beach wheelchairs, intended to provide a means for wheelchair users to travel across the beach, are available free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis. They require an assistant to push and are not intended to enter the water. To arrange for use of a chair, call the Crab Cove Visitors Center at 510-544-3187, or the Crown Beach park office at (888) 327-2757, option 3, ext. 4522. Arrangements will be made to bring the chair out to the beach. It takes approximately 15 minutes to prepare the chair. Staff will give a brief orientation to the chair and arrange a time for the chair to be returned.
From San Francisco, take the Bay Bridge to I-580 east and I-980 (downtown Oakland). Exit I-980 at 11th/12th Streets, go through several traffic lights and make a left onto 5th Street. This will take you to Broadway and the Oakland/Alameda Tube. Once through the Tube, you'll be on Webster Street. Webster will dead end at Central Avenue. Turn left onto Central and right onto Eighth Street to reach the Crown Beach entrance. Turn right on Central then turn left on McKay Ave to reach the Crab Cove entrance.
Transit & Trails: Crown Memorial State Beach (transit, biking, and walking directions)
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