10 Things to do on Angel Island, San Francisco

Tripoto
9th Jul 2014
Photo of 10 Things to do on Angel Island, San Francisco by Valerie Fidan

Arrive by ferry

Photo of 10 Things to do on Angel Island, San Francisco by Valerie Fidan

Hike around the island…

Photo of 10 Things to do on Angel Island, San Francisco by Valerie Fidan

And take in the views

Photo of 10 Things to do on Angel Island, San Francisco by Valerie Fidan

Tour the historic sites around the island

Photo of 10 Things to do on Angel Island, San Francisco by Valerie Fidan
Photo of 10 Things to do on Angel Island, San Francisco by Valerie Fidan

And learn about the story behind the island

Photo of 10 Things to do on Angel Island, San Francisco by Valerie Fidan
Photo of 10 Things to do on Angel Island, San Francisco by Valerie Fidan

Go boating.

Photo of 10 Things to do on Angel Island, San Francisco by Valerie Fidan

Pitch a tent.

Photo of 10 Things to do on Angel Island, San Francisco by Valerie Fidan

Cruise the island effortlessly by bike

Photo of 10 Things to do on Angel Island, San Francisco by Valerie Fidan

Ride around in a diggler scouter…

Photo of 10 Things to do on Angel Island, San Francisco by Valerie Fidan

…Or a Segway

Photo of 10 Things to do on Angel Island, San Francisco by Valerie Fidan

There is no doubt that San Francisco is a spectacular place. Whether you’re a visitor or call the Bay Area home, there is so much to do. I recently ventured around Angel Island, one of the largest in the San Francisco Bay; with spectacular panoramic views, this California State Park is the perfect spot to take a breather from the city. Originally a hunting ground for the Coast Miwok people, the island has also hosted Spanish explorers, various military garrisons, a cattle ranch, a quarantine station, and a World War II POW camp. Most famously, it was used as a U.S. Immigration Station, processing hundreds of thousands of mainly Chinese immigrants between 1910 and 1940, giving rise to its nickname, “the Ellis Island of the West.”

Around The Island

The Immigration and Quarantine Stations both have museums and you can take guided tours of military installations such as Fort McDowell. For a broader overview take the historical tram tour of the island, and for something a little more active there are Segway and electric scooter tours available. If you’d rather go it alone, you can rent bikes (or bring your own) and there are numerous hiking trails to explore. Make sure to relax on one of the sandy beaches, though be warned that strong currents make swimming hazardous. There’s a café and a cantina on the island, too; the latter hosts live music each weekend during the summer.

Getting There

You reach Angel Island via ferry from Pier 41 in San Francisco or from downtown Tiburon. Check out Alcatraz Cruises if you’d like to bundle in a visit to “the Rock.” But, DON’T miss the last ferry back or you’ll be camping on the island.

Overnight

If camping is your thing, Angel Island has 11 camp sites. The Service Site is very popular, advance reservations are recommended. But, be prepared to carry and transport your equipment up to 2.5 miles. Some sections are uphill, total elevation gain may be over 300 feet. Tables, food-lockers, running water, pit-toilets, and a barbecue are located at each site. Here Are 10 Things To Do on Angel Island:

  1. Arrive by ferry

  2.  Hike around the island…

  3. And take in the views

  4. Tour the historic sites around the island

  5. And learn about the story behind the island

  6. Go boating.

  7. Pitch a tent.

  8. Cruise the island silently and effortlessly by bike

  9. Ride around in a diggler scouter…

  10. …Or a Segway

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