Nestled along the San Francisco Bay in the Dogpatch neighborhood is the brand-new Crane Cove Park. This unique seven-acre bayfront park quietly opened at the end of last year and it offers a little something for everyone. From barbecues to a rocky beach, Crane Cove takes its historic surroundings and makes it into something families can enjoy for years to come. We checked it out and have the full scoop on what you need to know when you visit!

photo: Port of SF

This public open space is the brainchild of the Port of San Francisco and it aims to preserve historic maritime resources while providing a major open public space full of opportunities for exploration. Crane Cove gets its name from the two cranes that remain preserved in this seven-acre park. Officially, they are Cranes 14 and 30, but unofficially they are named Nick and Nora after characters from the movie "Thin Man." Children will admire their stature, while adults can admire their history.

photo: Jennifer Snyder

Probably the biggest draw of this park is the rocky beach where children can wade the slightly-warmer-than-Ocean Beach water while watching the paddle boards and boats sail by. Children may swim anywhere within the buoy limits but there is no lifeguard on duty. Pro tip: being water shoes and maybe even a wetsuit for the little ones. The rocks are tough on their sensitive feet, and the water can be quite chilly.

photo: Kate Loweth

On the opposite side from the beach is a green space complete with picnic tables and a barbecue grill for public access. The convenient proximity to Third Street provides a wealth of coffee shops and restaurants for the parents in case you have a hungry child on your hands. Pro tip: Check out Neighbor Bakehouse for yummy treats and a little pick-me-up.

photo: Jennifer Snyder

Just in case all of this isn't enough, there is lots of pavement for walking, biking, or scooting not only along the perimeter but also near a preserved railroad track that the kiddos will find exhilarating. The park is open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. It is located at 18th and Illinois, and parking can be found along Illinois street. Pro tip: bring quarters, most parking is metered until 6pm.

This summer there will even be a Stand-up Paddleboard Summer Camp for children ages 8-15 years old at Crane Cove Park.  If you have a little adventurer on your hands and you're in need of some "me time," this might be the perfect solution. The camp will be held Mon.-Friday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Note: Due to COVID, currently there are only Port-a-Potties available for any bathroom emergencies, or costume changes.

Crane Cove Park
18th and Illinois Streets
San Francisco, CA
Open daily 6 a.m.-10 p.m.
Online: sfport.com/crane-cove-park

—Jennifer Snyder

RELATED STORIES

The Ultimate Guide to Kayaking Around the Bay with Kids

Kid-Friendly Fishing Spots

Luxurious Camping Close to the Bay Area

Beach Babes: The Best Swimming Beaches for Kids