One-Tank Day Trip to Angel Island

August 25, 2012 11:00 AM

angel featured image1 One Tank Day Trip to Angel IslandMost visitors who come to San Francisco want to see the Golden Gate Bridge, the cable cars, Fisherman’s Wharf and Alcatraz Island, but another island in the San Francisco Bay is on par with all of the top attractions. Angel Island sits just a 30-minute ferry ride from Fisherman’s Wharf, a California State Park rich in history, offering some of the most spectacular views in the entire region.

Getting There

view from boat1 One Tank Day Trip to Angel Island

Visitors to Angel Island must take either a blue and gold ferry from Pier 41 at Fisherman’s Wharf, the Angel Island-Tiburon ferry from Tiburon or a private boat. Visitors traveling from the Peninsula and South Bay should travel to Pier 41 via Highway 280 or Highway 101. Visitors traveling from the North Bay and the Wine Country may take the ferry in Tiburon via Highway 101 to Highway 131. All ferry passengers should allow sufficient time for parking and ticket purchases.


There are several parking lots and garages near Fisherman’s Wharf, which vary from $10 to $40 a day. The closest parking garage is at Pier 39 but is also the most expensive. The closest parking lot in Tiburon is on Main Street but fills up quickly. The better choice might be the Point Tiburon lot at Highway 131 (Tiburon Boulevard) near Juanita Lane. Rates are $16 for the day or $4 an hour. Two other lots are available near Tiburon Boulevard and Beach Road.

Related: Fisherman’s Wharf

Ferry Service

blue   gold ferry1 One Tank Day Trip to Angel Island

Blue & Gold Ferry
Pier 41, Marine Terminal
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 705-8200

Price: $17 adults/$9.50 children ages 5 to 12/free children younger than 5 with a paying adult/$9.50 seniors 65 and older/free active-duty military with a valid ID

Departure times are limited, so view the ferry schedule online before planning a trip. Roundtrip fare includes admission to the island. Passengers with bikes board first and deboard last, however individuals who require extra time boarding the vessel have priority. Wheelchair accessibility is available only on the first deck. Dine and drink as the ferry passes Alcatraz Island going either direction, enabling passengers to take photos of it and the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance.

Angel Island-Tiburon Ferry
21 Main St.
Tiburon, CA  94920
(415) 435-2131
www.angelislandferry.comPrice: $13.50 adults/$11.50 children 6 to 12/$3.50 children 3 to 5/free children 2 and younger with paying adult/$1 bicycles

The ferry from Tiburon to Angel Island takes roughly 10 minutes. There are no advance ticket sales with the exception of group reservations. Tickets must be purchased as you board the vessel. Roundtrip fare includes admission to the island. Groups of 20 may make advance reservations online.

Angel Island State
Tiburon, CA 94920
(415) 435-2131

angel island1 One Tank Day Trip to Angel Island

All visitors arrive at Ayala Cove. Outdoor activities on the island include biking, hiking and tram tours. A five-mile bike ride or hike around the Perimeter Road is moderately challenging with some hills. For a more leisurely way of viewing the island, the tour tram with regularly schedule departures from Ayala Cove, is the best choice. No dogs, except service animals, are allowed here. No skateboards, roller skates, roller blades and scooters are allowed. Boat slips and overnight camping areas are available.

Related: Angel Island State Park

Points of Interest on Angel IslandAyala Cove
Angel Island State Park
Tiburon, CA 94920
(415) 435-3392

ayala cove1 One Tank Day Trip to Angel Island

The tiny port on Angel Island hosts the ferry terminal, equipment rentals, tour trams, boat slips, picnic areas, and food and drink options. There are also day-use lockers for $1, water fountains, a vending machine for sodas, and restrooms all within a short distance of each other. Stop by the visitor center near the picnic area or the beginning of the bike trail.

Cove Café
Angel Island State Park
Tiburon, CA 94920
(415) 435-3392

cove cafe1 One Tank Day Trip to Angel Island

The cafe along with the Cantina Oyster Bar are the only two eating establishments on the island. Both establishments share a common deck that provides chairs and tables adorned with umbrellas. The Cove Café offers breakfast and lunch. Among the best food choices at the Cove Café are the Alcatraz veggie wrap and the East Garrison sandwich. The cafe offers a catering service for picnics, corporate events and weddings.

Cove Cantina Oyster Bar
Angel Island State Park
Tiburon, CA  94920
(415) 435-3392 cantina1 One Tank Day Trip to Angel Island

The Cantina Oyster Bar is the scene for live music and dancing on weekends. This is the only location where beer and wine may be purchased, and it must be enjoyed on the deck. Cove Cantina offers a handful of premium beer choices and a good selection of red and white wines. The featured food items on the menu are the oysters, which may be ordered in either a half or full dozen. Other great choices for food include the New England-style shrimp roll and the taste of the South barbecue chicken sandwich.

The United States Immigration Station
Angel island State Park
Tiburon, CA  94920
(415) 435-5390

Price: $5 adults/$3 youth 6 to 17/free children 5 and younger

memorial bell2 One Tank Day Trip to Angel Island

From 1910 to 1940, more than 1 million immigrants from nearly 90 countries were detained and processed at the facility known as the guardian of the West Gate. Most of the immigrants entering the station were of Asian descent and were segregated from other ethnic groups due to racial tensions during that era. Explore the museum for a nominal fee, and stop by the memorial bell at the entrance of the dock where those immigrants first landed.

Fort McDowell (East Garrison)
Angel Island State Park
Tiburon, CA  94920
(415) 435-3392
www.angelisland.orgfort mcdowell1 One Tank Day Trip to Angel Island

The U.S. Army used this facility from 1898 to 1905 as a detention and discharge facility. During World War I, the site was used as a Recruit Depot for men entering in to military service and processed roughly 4,000 men per month. During World War II, the site was used as a point of embarkation for the allied effort in the Pacific Theater, and shipped more than 300,00 soldiers. Most of the buildings are in ruins, however some others, such as housing for military officers, are well preserved and maintained.

Nike Missile Site
Angel Island State Park
Tiburon, CA  94920
(415) 435-3392
www.angelisland.orgnike missile site One Tank Day Trip to Angel Island

At the southeastern portion of the island, a Nike anti-aircraft site was built for defense during the Cold War crisis. An IFC radar center was perched at the top of  Mount Livermore, and at 788 feet, it’s the highest point on the island. The site is off limits to the public, and the entrance is marked with a single sign. This area along Perimeter Road offers the most panoramic views of San Francisco, Alcatraz Island and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Camp Reynolds (West Garrison)
Angel Island State Park
Tiburon, CA  94920
(415) 435-3392

camp reynolds1 One Tank Day Trip to Angel Island

The Army base located at the southwest portion of the island was established during the Civil War. The original two-story barracks, the chapel, officers’ housing, a hospital and the large parade grounds still remain. However not much remains of the wharf, and just a small portion of the original pilings are still visible. The Bakehouse at Camp Reynolds is one of the oldest buildings on the island; arrange a tour to view bread making here. In 1891, a quarantine station was established at the original Camp Reynolds hospital in Hospital Cove, which was later renamed as the present day Ayala Cove. Explore and enjoy.


Randy Yagi is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. His work can be found on

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