Best Instant Vacation 

Robert Crown Memorial State Beach in Alameda

There are a million places where people can get seriously stressed out in the Bay Area — each of which make a getaway at Robert Crown Memorial State Beach in Alameda all the more heavenly. This so-close-yet-so-far-away-feeling beach has everything that's needed to take time out in honor of the stuff that's truly important in life (namely friends, family and food): picnic tables shaded by lush trees, a sandy coast perfect for throwing down a blanket, lovely views of the bay, and a perfect breeze. It even has bike trails, a visitor center, and bathrooms that are cleaned on a regular basis, making it the ideal location for a long soul-soothing day trip. This spot used to be known as "Coney Island of the West" because it was an actual amusement center, complete with spas, carnival rides, and baseball games. The good ol' days must have been grand, but honestly, we wouldn't change a thing. Just as it is, this little beach is a paradise.

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