Just 6.2 miles from the San Francisco Ferry Building is another world away from crime, theft, murder, traffic, congestion, homelessness and all the other ills of urban city life.
Experience a small island that can be explored on a 5.5 mile walk or bike, with only 12 full residents, the people who work on the island.
I recently brought Photowalks TV Camera to Angel Island to explore with my iPhone 14 Pro and I fell in love. Please watch the video below to see it in all its glory.
THERE a restaurant and a bike rental shop, there are no hotels or other businesses. (You can’t stay overnight in a bed, but you can CAMP. There are 11 campsites on the island.)
You can only get to Angel by boat – and most people take the ferry from nearby San Francisco or Tiburon to visit.
Angel is the largest island in San Francisco Bay, but as most people know, it’s not the only one in the city. There is another much more famous island, the former prison called Alcatraz, which attracts 1.5 million visitors every year.
There are no tourism statistics cited online for Angel–but know that it’s much less than Alcatraz.
Angel doesn’t get mass tourist love, despite offering “some of the best views of the surrounding bay area,” the tourism bureau notes. “With great hiking trails and many other recreational opportunities available, Angel Island is truly a hidden gem in the middle of the urban Bay Area.”
We agree. Small crowds like in Alcatraz. Check. Do you like to lose? Check. An open canvas for great photography and exploration.
Angel Island is its name.
And a practical note: San Francisco has suffered from a crime wave that has been targeting photographers lately. Thieves steal expensive cameras and drive away in their cars. But on Angel Island, there are NO CARS! You can run, but you can’t hide. Another big plus to visit.
There are those great views of the Golden Gate Bridge from the island on a clear day, or, if you climb up, you can catch a glimpse of Sonoma and Napa counties to the north, or all the way to San Jose on the south side. . Those big old buildings. (See photos above and below, or see our photo online gallery of Angel Island here.)
The history of Angel Island goes back to the birth days, and then during the Civil War, California was worried that the Confederates would get to California and start attacking, so a battle station was established on the island.
In 1910 Angel became an immigration station, initially processing Chinese immigrants and often holding them for long periods of time. Then, during World War II, where Japanese and German prisoners were interned before being sent elsewhere.
If you’re lazy, you can pay $20 and take a tram ride, a guided tour of the island, or you can walk, which is highly recommended. Climb the hill to get those killer views of San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. (Or you can cheat, like I did. I did the tour, more to get pictures from the car for my video than because I didn’t have the energy to walk. But when we got to the top, I told the operator that I wanted you to come down and walk. The best of both worlds.)
The ferry ride from San Francisco takes about an hour; while the boat from Tiburon is much shorter, about ten minutes. For shipping information, go to http://www.goldengate.org
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