Angel Island is your best bet if you’re looking for an island escape in the Bay Area. This little-known gem is located in San Francisco Bay, just a short distance from Alcatraz. While most people know about Alcatraz, Angel Island is often overlooked. This island offers stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay Area skyline and plenty of outdoor activities to keep you busy. If you’re looking for a unique island getaway, be sure to check out Angel Island! 


Angel Island Location:

Angel Island is located in the San Francisco Bay, just off the coast of California. It is the largest island in the bay, and its highest point is Mount Livermore, which rises to a height of 788 feet. Angel Island’s long history dates back to the Native Americans who once lived there. It was also a major outpost for the Spanish during their colonization of California. In more recent times, Angel Island has been used as a military base, an immigrant detention center, and a state park. Today, visitors can enjoy hiking, biking, and picnicking on the island, as well as taking in stunning views of the Bay Area. Angel Island is truly a unique place with a rich history and beautiful scenery. 


What Angel Island Offers | Visit Historical Sites On Angel Island 

If you’re looking for breathtaking views, Angel Island is the place for you. Here are some of the best things to see on the island: 

The View from Mount Livermore:

Mount Livermore is the highest point on Angel Island and offers stunning 360-degree views of the Bay Area. On a clear day, you can see all the way to San Francisco and Oakland. The Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz are also visible from Mount Livermore.

Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge: 

One of the most iconic landmarks in San Francisco is the Golden Gate Bridge. This suspension bridge spans the Golden Gate Strait, connecting San Francisco to Marin County. The bridge is one of the most photographed landmarks in the world, and it’s definitely worth checking out the view when you’re on Angel Island. 


SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 24: Alcatraz City Cruises approach and dock for the partnership with The National Parks Service, Alcatraz City Cruises celebrates the 50th Anniversary of Alcatraz Island opening as a National Park at Alcatraz Island on October 24, 2023 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Araya Doheny/Getty Images for Alcatraz City Cruises)

Alcatraz is a small island located in San Francisco Bay. It’s best known for its former prison, which housed some of America’s most notorious criminals. Alcatraz is now a popular tourist destination, and you have a great view of Angel Island. 


The Painted Ladies Victorian houses San Francisco

San Francisco Skyline: 

The San Francisco skyline is one of the most recognizable in the world. From Angel Island, you can get a great view of the city’s skyscrapers, including the Transamerica Pyramid and the Salesforce Tower. 



san francisco

San Francisco Bay:

The Bay Area is home to some of the most beautiful scenery in California. You can get a great view of San Francisco Bay and its surrounding islands from Angel Island. 



Angel Island Outdoor Activities:

There are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy on Angel Island. Whether you want to go for a hike, a swim, or just take in the stunning views, there is something for everyone. 


1. Trails

For those who love to hike, several trails of varying difficulty levels are available to explore. The moderate trails offer beautiful views of the island and the surrounding bay area, while the more challenging trails will take you to some of the island’s highest points. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can even hike to the top of Mt. Caroline Livermore for an unforgettable view. 


Alcatraz School Trip

2. Coves

Swimmers will enjoy the crystal-clear waters around Angel Island. There are several sheltered coves where you can take a dip or brave the open waters for a more strenuous swim. Whichever you choose, you’re sure to have an enjoyable time. 


3. Picnicking

Angel Island is the perfect place to enjoy a picnic lunch. There are numerous scenic spots where you can relax and take in the beautiful views. So, be sure to pack a picnic basket before heading to the island. 


4. Bird Watching:

Angel Island is the place for you if you’re a bird lover. Over 60 species of birds call the island home, and you’re sure to see some interesting feathered friends during your visit. 


5. Fishing

Anglers will enjoy the many fishing spots on Angel Island. Whether you’re casting a line from the shore or going out on a boat, you’re sure to have a successful day of fishing. 


angel island


What To Pack For Your Trip to Angel Island

When packing for your trip to Angel Island, be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen and water. Hiking shoes are also a good idea, as there are many trails to explore on the island. And if you’re planning on swimming, be sure to pack a bathing suit and towel. Here are some other items to consider packing for your trip: 

  • Snacks
  • Hat or sunglasses
  • Insect repellent
  • Binoculars (if you’re planning on bird watching)
  • Fishing rod (if you’re planning on fishing)
  • Picnic blanket or mat (if you’re planning on having a picnic)

Be sure to check the weather forecast before packing for your trip, as the island can be quite windy. And if you’re visiting during the summer, be aware that fog is common in the morning and evening hours. With these packing tips in mind, you’re sure to have a great time on Angel Island. 


How To Get To Angel Island (Transportation Tips)

There are several ways to get to Angel Island. The most popular method is by ferry, which departs from San Francisco, Tiburon, and Vallejo. If you’re coming from San Francisco, the ferry ride takes about 30 minutes. And if you’re coming from Tiburon or Vallejo, the ferry ride takes about 45 minutes. Once you’re on the island, there are plenty of things to do and see. So, be sure to plan accordingly and give yourself enough time to explore what Angel Island offers. 

How Far Is Angel Island From Alcatraz?

Angel Island is located in San Francisco Bay, just a short distance from Alcatraz Island. The two islands are about one mile apart and can be seen from each other on a clear day. Angel Island is the largest island in the bay and is a California State Park. It is home to hiking trails, beaches, and bird-watching areas. On the other hand, Alcatraz is best known for its former federal prison that housed some of America’s most notorious criminals. Today, it is a popular tourist attraction where visitors can take tours of the prison grounds and learn about its history. Though both islands are worth visiting, they offer different experiences. So, be sure to plan accordingly and allow enough time to explore both islands. Also be sure to find more things to do around the San Francisco area! 

FAQs – Angel Island Things to Do in 2024

What is Angel Island and where is it located?
Angel Island is a large island in San Francisco Bay, known for its rich history and scenic views.

What historical significance does Angel Island hold?
The island has a diverse history, including use as a military base, immigration station, and now a state park.

What activities can visitors enjoy on Angel Island in 2024?
Hiking, biking, picnicking, and exploring historical sites are popular activities on the island.

Can visitors see the Golden Gate Bridge from Angel Island?
Yes, Angel Island offers stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco skyline.

What are the transportation options to Angel Island?
Ferries from San Francisco, Tiburon, and Vallejo provide access to the island.

Are guided tours available on Angel Island?
Yes, there are guided tours that provide insights into the island’s rich history and natural beauty.

Is Angel Island suitable for family outings?
Absolutely, the island’s outdoor activities and historical sites are great for family visits.

What should visitors bring when exploring Angel Island?
It’s advisable to bring water, sunscreen, hiking shoes, and a camera to capture the scenic views.

Are there any dining options on Angel Island?
There are limited dining facilities, so visitors often bring picnics to enjoy during their visit.

Can Angel Island be visited year-round?
Yes, Angel Island is accessible year-round, weather permitting.