Angel Island is the largest island in the San Francisco bay and is accessible by private boats or commercial ferries. Several ferries namely Tiburon Ferry, San Francisco Ferry (Blue and Gold Fleet), and Alameda-Oakland Ferry run regular service. We last visited in 2008 and used the Alameda-Oakland Ferry, which had a stopover and change of ferries at Pier 41 en-route to the island. The return was a short 30-minute ride straight to Alameda. Tickets were $14 for adults and $8.50 for children between 5 and 12. For a day-trip the ferry options were limited to – departure at 9:10 AM from Alameda (9:00 AM from Oakland) and arrival at Angel Island at 10:10 AM after the changeover at Pier 41. The ferry back was at 3:10 PM and it reached Alameda at 3:45 PM (3:55 PM in Oakland). The San Francisco ferry tickets could not be applied towards the purchase of these tickets.
Once in the island, options abound on how to spend the day. We chose the 5-mile hike to the summit of Mount Livermore. The entire hike was roughly three hours inclusive of the time it took to consume the packed picnic lunch at one of the four picnic tables at the summit. The scary moment was when a snake slithered across our trail. Our older kid was the valiant leader until then. After that the kids did not vie to be the leader at all, they were only too content to be in the middle. The views are outstanding and even in the summer a light jacket is a must as it is windy at the summit. One other popular option is taking bikes in the ferry and doing the perimeter route. That allows for going around the island and visiting historical sites. The visitor center at Ayala Cove offers two informative videos about the island. We are unsure on how much of the history the kids absorbed, but the videos are thought provoking.
The Angel Island Cove Café was the enterprise running the following other entertainment options in the island along with the café: a) Segway tours - $65 for two but special pricing as low as $35 for two people are available at certain times, b) Tram-tour - $13.50 adults and $9.50 Juniors, 5 and under free, and c) Bike rentals - $10 per hour or $35 whole day. Camping was another option – the less appealing part of it was the two mile hike with camping equipment. The sites were basic and reservations had to be made through reserveamerica website. Facilities for mooring private boats and kayaking options were also available.
The Angel Island day-trip was a great experience for both our kids and us. There was a lot more to do in the island than could be done in a single day-trip.
Last Updated: 02/2011.