Angel Island, a large island in the middle of the San Francisco Bay, is a landmark and known as a top camping destination. With limited campsites, reservations are required months in advance. You can explore this island that once was a prisoner detention center, Nike missile site, and a military camp. The views of San Francisco, Oakland, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Oakland-Bay Bridge all make this a unique experience.
Best Time to Visit Angel Island
Go during the September-November when days are warm and there is less fog. These are the best months for outdoor activities in the Bay Area.
How to Book a Campsite on Angel Island
Reserve a campsite on reserveamerica.com. Campsites are released in month blocks on the 1st of the month, exactly 7 months ahead at 8 am. For example, if you want to book a weekend in October, a great month to go, you need to book on March 1. Make sure to be online and reserve spots right at 8 AM, as they likely will get sold out after only a few minutes. There are only 9 campsites on the island.
How to Get to Angel Island
Angel Island is a common day trip. Ferry services depart from different areas around the bay. There are ferries throughout the day. Go to one of the ferry terminals, either in San Francisco, Tiburon, or Sausalito, and wait for the next ferry going to Angel Island.
Top Activities on Angel Island
To loop the entire island, it is around 6 miles total. Also, you can take the trail near the Nike missile site which leads to the top of Mt Livermore, the highest point on the island. Hiking is very easy on Angel Island, with views from nearly every vantage point.
Explore Abandoned Buildings
Fort McDowell is a great place to explore abandoned buildings. Many of the buildings have no doors or broken windows which you can enter through. The abandoned buildings are unique and offer a very cool perspective on the history of the island.
Note: Be careful when entering and around abandoned buildings, as they can be dangerous to enter.
Watch Sunset Behind the Golden Gate Bridge
From the southern part of the island, you get great views of the San Francisco skyline and the Golden Gate Bridge. Sit on one of the benches to enjoy a spectacular sunset.
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Exploring Angel Island: San Francisco