Though there were once more than two dozen shrimping camps like China Camp located around San Francisco and San Pablo Bays, this state park preserves the only one as a historic site, providing a unique opportunity to learn more about this important period.
China Camp’s location on the shores of San Pablo Bay were ideally suited for shrimping. It provided perfect conditions for a shrimping camp: close proximity to the fishing beds, adequate space for processing facilities on land, and a nearby grassy hillsides for drying shrimp.
While some of the shrimp was sold to local restaurants, most of the catch was dried and prepared for export to China. The sheer amount was staggering, with more than three million pounds of shrimp was harvested from San Pablo Bay each year throughout the late 1800s and into the early 20th century.
China Camp Village reached the height of its prosperity in the 1880s, with almost 500 residents. There were several small streets lined with wooden buildings, including general stores, a marine supply store, a barber shop, shrimp drying and grinding sheds, and numerous residences.