Each time I visit Crown Beach in Alameda, I'm shocked that this place exists so close to home. It offers a classic Bay Area view: downtown San Francisco in the distance and the Port of Oakland cranes on the periphery.
What makes Crown Beach so great for families, however, is that the water is shallow for hundreds of feet into the Bay. This results in a huge wave-free baby pool, whose temperature has been warmed by the sun. Even non-swimmers can frolic in the water and feel in control, as in a bathtub.
The texture of the sand is alright; this is not Hawaii. The main attraction is that huge areas of wet sand allow for tons of building. In fact, a massive Sandcastle Contest is held here every June.
Up for a stroll? A ten-minute walk on the paved path adjacent to the sand leads to Crab Cove where a visitor center houses aquariums and invites the public in for free.
Planning your trip to Crown Memorial Beach in Alameda
A big parking lot makes life easy for families who are likely schlepping a lot of stuff down to the beach. It may cost $5 to park, depending on if someone is working in the kiosk. Enter the parking lot from the corner of Otis Ave and 8th Street in Alameda.
Walk on a path between the parking lot and the beach. Picnic tables on the side of the path invite you to eat lunch away from the sand. A building with restrooms offers a place to rinse off feet when you leave.
Dogs are not permitted on the beach.
Bring your own shade as the sandy area is fully exposed.