Angel Island

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August 22, 2014

Islands in the San Francisco Bay

This story is brought to you by the great people over at San Francisco To Do. SF To Do shares brutally honest reviews of the best ways to plan an amazing trip to San Francisco – from Alcatraz to Twin Peaks.

Alcatraz gets the majority of the buzz when it comes to the islands in San Francisco Bay, but here are two other gems that are worth checking out on your next trip to the Bay Area. One tip: you probably won’t need your swim suit. Yes, there is limited beach access on both of these islands, but only the heartiest swimmer will want to take a dip in the bay’s chilly waters.

Treasure Island

  • An Island Built for a World’s Fair
    Treasure Island is a flat slab of an island that was built for the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition. Not much remains from the expo’s glory days, though you can check out the curved Art Deco lobby of Building One to get a feel for what it looked like. Plans are in the works to open a museum and refurbish the lobby as part of a major overhaul of the island. Visit the Treasure Island Museum Association to learn more.
  • Lights, Camera, Action!
    If you’re looking for a sweet view of the San Francisco skyline, you’ve come to the right place. Treasure Island features a number of drop-dead gorgeous views of the area. While many visitors are drawn to Treasure Island simply to take in the scenery, the lure of the island has also attracted Hollywood studios and amateur filmmakers alike. Many feature films, television shows, and commercials have been shot on Treasure Island, so keep your makeup kit handy in case you bump into a camera crew while you’re roaming around the island.
  • Drinks, Music, and the Flea
    In the mood for a glass or two of a local a craft brew? Be sure to check out the numerous local breweries for a unique taste of San Francisco. Or, if bargain hunting for curios and other treasures is more to your liking, be sure to visit on a day when the Treasure Island Flea is open for business. And for music lovers, the island rocks every October during the Treasure Island Music Festival.
  • Getting there: Treasure Island is a short drive from either San Francisco or Oakland via the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

Angel Island

  • “The Jewel of San Francisco Bay”
    Angel Island is a California State Park and the place to go for jaw-dropping panoramic views in every direction. Take the relatively easy paved perimeter road for a leisurely stroll or challenge yourself with a more demanding trek to the summit at the center of the island. Either way, you’re in for an epic day filled with one spectacular scenic highlight after another.
  • Immigration Stories from the Bay
    The U.S. Immigration Station on Angel Island is a moving, inspirational, and sometimes heartbreaking place. From 1910 to 1940, this was the first stop in America for hundreds of thousands of immigrants. Sometimes called the “Ellis Island of the West,” the Immigration Station is now a museum dedicated to telling the powerful stories—many of which were tales of hardship—of those who passed through the building on their way to a new life in America.
  • Many Ways to Enjoy the Island
    All aboard! If you’re not up for walking or biking, you can take a leisurely tram tour of Angel Island. Organized tours on Segways and motorized scooters are also available. And, for those looking for a unique overnight adventure, you can book a campsite on this spectacular island in the heart of San Francisco Bay.
  • Getting there: Take a short ferry ride from San Francisco, Tiburon, Vallejo, or Oakland. Be sure to check the schedules because service varies depending on the day of the week and the time of year.

Photo by Franco Folini / CC BY

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