Beach Front Park comprises 10 city blocks of grassy sports fields, picnic areas with unobstructed views of the harbor, a beach, a half-mile shoreline trail, and B Street Pier, a 900-foot-long accessible fishing pier (railings are 42″ high). The Fred Endert indoor swimming pool at the park’s east end is open to the public (fee). At the park’s west end, by Battery Point, is Crescent Lighthouse, one of the first to be built in California, in 1856. Situated on a small island 200 yards from shore, the lighthouse can be reached at low tide by walking across a rocky beach and causeway. It is not wheelchair-accessible, but a short ramp by the Battery Point parking lot provides a good spot for taking photos. Tours are available April-Oct., Wed.-Sun.
Toward the middle of the park is the North Coast Marine Mammal Center, which rescues and rehabilitates injured, orphaned, and sick marine mammals. When volunteers are present, visitors may view harbor seals or sea lions up close. The center also has a small gift shop and educational materials. At the park’s main entrance, at the corner of Front and H streets, are remnants of the S.S. Emidio, an oil tanker that was attacked by a Japanese submarine west of Cape Mendocino on December 20, 1941. Five of the crew were killed and the remaining survivors abandoned the ship before it drifted some 85 miles north and ran aground off Crescent City.
As you head out to the pier along B Street, you will see a level area that can provide wheelchair access to the beach with a beach wheelchair but you have to bring your own. Shorebirds, gulls, and terns feed in the flats near the beach.
Crescent City Coastal Trail
see access criteria for definitions
Trailhead: Battery Point Vista parking lot at the foot of A Street
Length: 1-2 total miles
Typical Width: 4 ft. & above
Typical Grade: Level
Obstacles: Along Howe Drive, parking blocks impede wheelchair passage across the road. There are only a few places where you can cross to reach the main section of the park.
On a rare fogless late-spring day, I had an enjoyable, leisurely stroll on this short trail, which follows the curve of the harbor at the park’s edge. There are several places to pick up the trail; I started west of the park at Battery Point Vista parking lot, where I had a good view of the park and the Crescent Lighthouse farther west. From here, after a brief gentle downhill, you can turn right on B Street to reach the pier. You share the road with cars for several hundred yards, but traffic is minimal.
Back on the trail, you cross B Street, then travel behind a large building before entering the main section of Beach Front Park. At the entrance is a new path that leads to picnic tables with views across the harbor; I lingered here to watch a competitive game of disc golf and some shorebirds feeding at low tide. An accessible fire pit would be great for gathering around with friends on a chilly evening. A few hundred feet farther is a path to the Marine Mammal Center. The trail parallels Howe Drive along the shoreline for about a quarter-mile, passing expansive grassy sports fields, to the back of the cultural center and briefly through its parking lot. Next you cross an accessible bridge over Elk Creek, an important watershed for Coho salmon, steelhead and cutthroat trout, and lamprey eel. Except for the traffic noise, this would be an ideal spot to watch for ospreys, pelicans, sanderlings, and great blue herons. Over 200 species of birds have been spotted at the mouth of the creek. The trail ends a few feet beyond, in a parking lot just before the entrance to Shoreline Campground.
The facilities listed below meet all of our access criteria unless otherwise noted.
Accessible Parking: Yes
Battery Point Vista lot at the foot of A Street, along Howe Drive, and west of Sunset Circle off Hwy. 101
Accessible Restroom: Yes
At Battery Point Vista at the foot of A Street, by the Marine Mammal Center
Accessible Picnic Tables: Yes
At Battery Point Vista parking lot; new tables near the beach, just east of the pier, have raised grills
Hours: Park: Dawn to dusk. Marine Mammal Center: Thurs., 11 am-3 pm; Sat.-Sun., 10 am-4 pm; closed Mon.-Wed.
Map: See here.
Dogs: On a leash
Public Transportation: Redwood Coast Transit