Keep Oakland Beautiful Point of Interest: Radio Beach.

Keep Oakland Beautiful Points of Interest remind us of how interesting and beautiful Oakland is and why we should care about protecting it.

Did you know that Oakland has a beach? I recently learned of this and couldn’t help but seek it out. That turned out to be more difficult than I imagined because there’s only one way to get there by car.

The beach in question is called Radio Beach. It’s named for the radio towers located there. The beach is just to the north of the Bay Bridge toll plaza. The first time I tried to find the road to the beach, I found myself on the Bay Bridge, heading for San Francisco!

Subsequently, I learned that the only way to drive to Radio Beach is to get on I-80 West, coming down through Berkeley. Take the West Grand Avenue/Maritime Street exit (Last Exit to Oakland) and then take an immediate right turn onto a paved, but unmarked frontage road. You’ll find Radio Beach at the end of this road.

Beach 1

This 400-foot stretch of sand is a no-frills beach. It’s in its natural state and is unimproved (read, there’s some trash that’s washed up there). You won’t find a lifeguard at Radio Beach (or a swimmer, for that matter), but you will find some interesting views of the new section of the Bay Bridge, The Golden Gate Bridge, Mount Tamalpais, and other bay scenes. The skyline of San Francisco can be seen between three radio towers, peeking out from behind the four, more distant suspension bridge towers of the Bay Bridge. Downtown Oakland makes an appearance to the south, beyond the toll traffic.

Beach 2

While walking the beach, I found raccoon and shorebird tracks, white clam shells and navy blue mussel shells (hence, the raccoon tracks), scoured shards of beach glass, and other flotsam tossed up by the lapping waters of San Francisco Bay. Big plumes of beach grass waved at the back of the narrow beach. As I beachcombed, a Great Blue Heron flew past, landing in the marsh that borders the frontage road.

Checking the marsh, I found a pair of Great Egrets and a pair of Snowy Egrets intently fishing in the shallows. Further out, a Foster’s Tern, a sleek, white bird, sporting a black eyepatch and a long, black beak, circled the bay, then dove headfirst into the green water, looking for all the world like a small plane crashing! A few metallic-magenta iceplant blossoms still lingered in their woven carpet of green, succulent leaves along the side of the road.

Beach 3

Radio Beach may be a disappointment to anyone looking for a nice place to sunbathe and swim (I wouldn’t recommend you do either of those activities there) but, if you’re interested in a quiet place (ignoring the nearby bridge traffic) to experience the bay from a different perspective and enjoy the many splendid views, you might want to try to find Oakland’s one and only beach.

Keeping Oakland Beautiful is everybody’s business.

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