Submitted by Brianne
San Francisco, CA
SF Bay Area Trip Highlights
OverviewThere are so many beautiful areas to explore in the Bay Area that most locals never get to experience all of them in their lifetime. Most of us will visit the Napa Valley, the Presidio, or the Golden Gate Bridge multiple times in our lives and never think twice about what we might be missing. But with weather this beautiful and so many free weekends to fill up this summer, I had to search for the best outdoor activies. When I discovered that some of the best panoramic views of the Bay Area are from the perspective of Angel Island State Park, a small island off the coast of Tiburon, I immediately added the desination to my summer bucket list.
How to get there and get around
You have the option of taking a ferry from Tiburon or Pier 41 using the Blue & Gold Fleet in
San Francisco. Both service the island seven days a
week during the spring and summer with a handful of
departures per day. It takes around 40 minutes via San
Francisco and cost $17 while it takes 20 minutes from
Tiburon and costs $13.50.
Best Restaurants (or places to eat) in the area
Island Cafe serves all the right foods to nourish
you before or after an active day of hiking or
biking around the island. Choose from a selection of
sandwiches, salads, and soups or even indulge in the
Cowgirl Creamery Cheese Board. Don't want to sit in
a restaurant? You can reserve a boxed lunch to be
picked up at specific meeting times around the island
so you can continue your explorations.
On weekends, it converts to the Angel Island Cantina where the menu switches to Latin American dishes such as tacos and ceviche. You can even hear live music on weekends starting at 2PM!
SF Bay Area Neighborhood Characteristics
Local hangouts, Shopping spots
The history behind Angel Island is that it is
essentially the Ellis Island of the West Coast.
The U.S. Immigration Station on the island was in
operation from 1910 to 1940 as a result of the
passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Many
immigrants, mostly Asians, were held on the island to
undergo interrogations and exams solely because of
their national origin. Now the U.S.I.S. is a museum as
it is a National Historic Landmark where you can see
the Chinese poems etched in the barracks.
The island has a handful of hiking trails. If you're a beginner, take the hike along the Perimeter Road. It is a paved path all around the island and it's five miles long. You will get to see a lot of the old military buildings such as the hospital, chapel, mule bar, and the Immigration Station. As the hike comes to a close on the north side, you will get a view of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge and then a view of Tiburon.
Looking for a moderate hike? This is where you'll get the best view on the island. Take the Sunset Trail to the Mt. Livermore/Northridge Trail, a four-and-a-half-mile loop. Along the Sunset Trail, you'll see lots of eucalyptus, cypress, and Monterey pine trees. Once you cross a fire road, you get a panoramic view of San Francisco and the central part of the bay. About a half-mile later, you'll approach the summit and get more views of the bay as well as the island around you.
For those who are advanced, try the Angel Island Loop which combines the Perimeter as well as the Northridge and Sunset Trails.