Angel Island State Park

#22 in Best Things To Do in San Francisco
Angel Island State Park picture
Yiming Chen/Getty Images

Key Info

San Francisco Bay

Details

Hiking, Parks and Gardens Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
3.6scorecard
  • 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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Type
Time to Spend
#1 Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge's vaulting, orange arches amidst the rocky seascape of the San Francisco Bay have made it one of the West Coast's most enduring symbols and the city's most popular tourist attraction. The bridge's name, "Golden Gate," actually refers to the body of water it spans (the Golden Gate Strait that connects the Pacific Ocean with the San Francisco Bay), and was built to make travel between San Francisco and Marin County an easier feat. 

There are plenty of great spots to capture a snap of the majestic bridge. But if you want a truly postcard-worthy shot, head to the Golden Gate Bridge Vista Point, situated high on a hill overlooking San Francisco. If you have extra time, make sure to explore the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The actual span of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area encompasses multiple places in San Mateo (south of San Francisco), San Francisco and Marin Counties (Alcatraz and Muir Woods included), but notable parts of this recreation area can be found just a stroll away from the Golden Gate. From the bridge, travelers will find some scenic, bayside trails, some of which lead to secluded beaches, including Kirby Cove and Black Sands Beach. If you really want a trek, journey to the Point Bonita Lighthouse for sweeping views of the bay, found at the very tip of the Golden Gate Strait.

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