Crown Memorial Beach
Location: 8th Street, Alameda 94501
Pricing: Beach is free, $5 to park in lot
Hours: 5a.m.- 10p.m.
Description: This is one of the only beach's that I know of on this side of the bridge that actually qualifies as a real beach. A place where parents can sit and bake in the sun while children frolic in the waves. The shoreline of sand is a little on the thin side with an awkward sloping down hill- but it works! There is a really nice collectively family fun and friendly atmosphere here on weekends. Lots of families come enjoy this site on sunny days, so it does get crowded especially when it's really hot! I took my daughters on a weekday on one of the last day's of my daughter's summer vacation. It was perfect! There were a few other families but for the most part it was quiet and peaceful. My daughter had lots of room to run and play on the edge of the water without running in to other people's stuff. The beach area is just a short walk from the parking lot, so it made it easy for me- who tried the trip with a newborn and 6 year old, to haul all of our stuff by myself. The beach was not windy when we went (which the Bay Area ocean side can usually be) so very minimal amounts of sand got in to our picnic lunch. There are many hungry seagulls. So I made it in to a game for my daughter to chase them away every time they got near us. You can boat and plane watch from the shores, there is always something interesting going by. We made up a game to guess where the planes were flying to. If you are in to water sports you can do windsurfing and kite boards and rent them through the website above. Picnic benches are located up on the lawn area and is the perfect place to BBQ or have a beached themed birthday party. There is a visitor's center in the Crab Cove area that gives you a history of the shoreline (it used to be the West Coasts Coney Island)- that would be exciting! If you are looking for a beach area close to home- this is your spot!
Highlights: It is a nice beach that really feels like a beach on the shoreline in the heart of the Bay Area, it is really one of the only swimmable beaches on this side of the Bay! Also it is right down the block from a really nice park- Washington Park is a wonderful Alameda park for families to enjoy. Not to mention downtown Alameda is just minutes away- a nice place to pick up some food after a tiring day in the sun.
Tips: Bring $5 for the parking lot. I did not, but a very nice young ranger let me come in and park without hassling me anyways. They probably are not so forgiving on crowded weekends!