Andy Falk
Coldwell Banker Realty

Fort Cronkite, Marin Real Estate Sales


The One and Only Fort Cronkite

Cron is another one of Marin’s beaches that gets overcrowded on warm weekends, holidays, and when the surf is good which is why I like to call it Cron-crowd. On gorgeous days, the parking lot will fill up and people will find/create spots on the roadside. Part of its attraction is the accessibility. It’s super easy to get there, you won’t be driving over a mountain or winding along Highway 1 behind a parade of tourists. With showers and bathrooms adjacent to the parking lot, Cron would be an ideal place to surf if the waves were more consistent.

In 2021, the lineup at Cron has become more crowded than ever, and I’ve been calling it Cron-crowd for years. Surfers of all levels hit the water in droves, and there are generally only a few peaks from which to choose. There’s the point, which is a right-hand wave that can be the longest ride on the beach but often has the most surfers jockeying for position. Moving down the beach, there’s a peak that breaks both left and right, and the left sometimes closes out when it connects with the right point wave on the inside. Further down the beach there can be one or two more peaks as well, but the further away you go from the point generally the less consistent the waves. On the flip side, those waves are also generally less crowded but more elusive.

Cron is a magnet for the summertime south swells. In the fall and winter north swells also hit the beach pretty hard. It can be quite a dramatic beach to visit in the winter when 20+ foot swells are rising up out of the Potato Patch a mile or so out to sea. The behemoths roll and break and continue to march towards the mouth of the Golden Gate. Cron is not a big wave spot, and the rides are often too short on hard breaking waves. There’s also the small matter of the hold down times at Cron. When a wave breaks in front of you and you try to go underneath it, Cron will hold you down longer than any beach I know. It grabs you and doesn’t want to let you come up for air. On smaller days that’s not an issue, but on bigger days I’ve had to literally use my legs to push off the bottom and swim upward to break the ocean’s grip.

Another name for Cron is Cron-crunch. I call it that because the waves have a tendency to close out and pound me. It’s not always like that though. Sometimes it’s Cron-crumble. Those are the small, harmless days where the waves are gutless and slow. Cron is often a hit and miss break, where you never really know what you are going to get, in part because the wind can blow hard on the surf and really mess up the waves. It’s kind of a Goldilocks wave, you don’t want to go there when the swell is too big or too small, and you need to get it when the wind and the tide are just right. Sometimes it breaks best on a high tide, other times on a low depending on the sandbars. It’s also a good place for experienced body surfers because the waves break relatively close to shore and in shallower water.

Part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the hiking, biking and views at Fort Cronkite are world class. If you can go out on a warm sunny day when the wind isn’t blowing too hard, it can be a perfect place for a picnic and beach stroll. If you visit Cron just remember to always bring a jacket because you never know if the ocean breeze will kick up and cool things down.