Description - 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.
Copyright: - East Bay Regional Park District
Enjoying the water at Crown Beach
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.
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.
- The showpiece of Crown Memorial 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.
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. Next to the bathhouse are picnic tables, barbecue pits and lots of lawn area for ball games. Some picnic areas are reservable.
Crown is another park popular with windsurfers. Rental sailboards and lessons are available on summer weekends.
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.
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.
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. The visitor center is disabled-accessible. There are picnic areas nearby; alcoholic beverages are prohibited. (Seasonal parking fee.)
Crown Beach is open from 5 AM to 10 PM unless otherwise posted or permitted. Parking and dog fee apply.
Recreation - Viewing exhibits, plant identification, picnicking, swimming, and hiking are just a sampling of the pastimes enjoyed at this memorial park.
Climate - Climate in the San Francisco Bay area varies greatly with elevation and the amount of coastal influence. Areas with more coastal influence experience moderate temperatures year round with fog likely from June through mid-August. Plan your coastal visit in the late summer or fall to ensure the best conditions for viewing the scenery. Also, occasional clear days between winter and spring storms are incomparable. Areas further inland experience greater temperature extremes, with relatively cooler winters and hot summers. Inland areas often receive frost on winter nights. As throughout most of California most of the precipitation comes in the winter months, with April through October normally very dry.
Crown Beach is located at Eighth Street and Otis Drive in Alameda, easily accessable from downtown Alameda.