This state beach was named in memory of State Assemblyman Robert W. Crown, who campaigned for the site's preservation as public parkland.
Known as Alameda Beach from the 1880s until the outbreak of World War II, it was an amusement center and day-trip destination for San Francisco and Bay Area residents.
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.
Location - Directions
In the city of Alameda, the visitor center is located on McKay Avenue.
The weather can be changeable; layered clothing is recommended.
Facilities - Activities
The Elsie Roemer Bird Sanctuary is located at the east end of the park and is home for aquatic birds and other salt marsh creatures. At the north end of the beach, Crab Cove is a marine reserve.
The Crab Cove Visitor Center features exhibits of the area's colorful past when it was known as the "Coney Island of the West" with bathing spas competing for business with concerts, hot-air balloons, carnivals, baseball games, prize fights and other attention-getting events.
The visitor center also has exhibits and aquaria highlighting flora and fauna of San Francisco Bay and other marine areas.
The park features 2.5 miles of beach, bordered by lawns and picnic grounds, with a bicycle trail. The water at the beach is usually warm and swimming is permitted year round, although there are no lifeguards on duty. A bathhouse is available with changing rooms.
Nearby are picnic tables, barbecue pits, and a lawn area, popular for baseball games.
Each June the park features a sand castle and sand sculpture contest. The contest is 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.
Crown is popular with windsurfers. Rental sailboards and lessons are available on summer weekends.
East Bay Regional Park District operates Robert W. Crown Memorial SB -- please visit their website for additional information.