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Yiming Chen/Getty Images

Key Info

San Francisco Bay

Price & Hours

Free
Hours vary seasonally

Details

Parks and Gardens, Hiking Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend

scorecard

  • 3.5Value
  • 3.5Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

Angel Island State Park is situated in the San Francisco Bay and provides an abundance of outdoor activities for anyone willing to trek across the water. Before the government converted the storied island into a park, it served as a hunting location, a cattle ranch, an immigration station and even a missile base.

Past visitors suggest taking the tram tours to get a feel for the island. Tickets for the tour cost $15.50 for adults, $14 for seniors 65 and older and $10 for children 12 and younger. They can be purchased on the Angel Island Company's website. Recent travelers also say visitors should allot extra time to hiking the roughly 6-mile perimeter loop, which offers excellent views of the water and is relatively easy.

The only way for travelers to access the island is via private boat or public ferry. Tickets for the public ferry can be purchased in advance from the Blue and Gold Fleet website. One-way tickets cost $9.75 for adults, $5.50 for children age 5 to 11 and for seniors age 65 and up. Keep in mind that you must purchase an additional one-way ticket to return from the island. Angel Island State Park is open daily from 8 a.m. to sunset. For additional info, check out the California state parks website.

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#1 California Academy of Sciences

Attention all traveling families: recent visitors said this is the perfect place to bring kids in San Francisco. The California Academy of Sciences brims with plenty of things to see, including an aquarium, a planetarium, a natural history museum and even a rainforest. 

The Steinhart Aquarium is home to about 40,000 animals representing more than 900 different species, including a penguin colony from Africa, a swamp with an albino alligator, a shark lagoon and a separate 100,000-gallon tank that mirrors the ecosystem of the California coast. Meanwhile, the Osher Rainforest houses 1,600 animals, including 250 free-flying birds and about 100 reptiles and amphibians in its four-story complex. The Morrison Planetarium is known for its 75-foot-diameter screen, which screens "Tour of the Universe" shows daily. And the Kimball Natural History Museum boasts dinosaur fossils, an interactive science exhibit and a unique earthquake simulator. 

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