Be sure to pack a parka or two, because standing on Alameda's Crown Memorial State Beach at the crack of dawn or just after nightfall can be mighty cold. But the view is worth it. Depending on when you come out, you can get an impressive eyeful of sunrise along the peninsula or watch the lights of San Francisco wink on. And if you're more of a daytime person, Crown Beach's two-and-a-half miles of shoreline make for a pleasant place for a relaxing walk or a jog. The park nearby provides plenty of picnic tables and BBQ pits, and nature lovers might want to stop by the Elsie Roemer Bird Sanctuary at the east end during outgoing tides. The park is open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. When the kiosk is staffed, parking in the lot costs $4; otherwise, it's free.
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