An Afternoon at Angel Island
Hi, I'm Celeste! I'm a senior at UCSB and the Perfect Provenance's newest marketing intern. Yesterday I visited Angel Island State Park for the first time. Having lived in Marin County all my life yet never visited, I was excited to experience the island's rich history and natural beauty.
On my trip I wore an adorable outfit from our store, pictured above. Details: Neslie blouse by Vanessa Bruno ($225), Tobby shorts by Vanessa Bruno ($260), Glenn sandals by Robert Clergerie ($512), and Abalone Gold Circle earrings by Earthy Luxe ($120).
In the early 1800s, Angel Island served as a military base, transitioning into an immigration station after WWII. Up to a million immigrants passed through its gates, the majority of which being Asian immigrants, making it one of the first sites of Asian American culture and literature and earning it the nickname "Ellis of the West."
How To Get There:
Angel Island is only a 10 minute Ferry ride from downtown Tiburon! The ferry schedule varies, running every day in the summer months, although more limitedly on the weekdays. Check their website for details.
Tickets cost $15 for adults, $14 for seniors, $13 for children under 12 years old, $5 for children under 5, and free for toddlers under 2. After July 31st, 2022, prices will be rising by a few dollars.
Angel Island welcomes around 200,000 visitors each year, most of which in the summer as it is an ideal time to visit. The summer schedule is as follows:
Weekdays: 10, 11, or 1 pm departure from Tiburon (3 pm for campers only); 10:20, 11:20, 1:20, and 3:20 departure from Angel Island
Weekends: 10, 11, 1, 2, 3, 4 (5pm for campers only); 10:20, 11:20, 1:20, 2:20, 3:20, 4:20, 5:20 departure
Pets such as dogs are not allowed on the island, but you can bring your bike for an additional $1.00 per person.
Make sure you take the correct ferry! I made the mistake of lining up for the San Francisco ferry instead. The Angel Island ferry is white and smaller, marked with "Angel Island" on the far right side of the dock if you are facing the water. If you are like me and happen to miss your ferry, although tickets are not refundable you can easily change their date or time at no extra charge. Call their office to do so, but note that their phone lines are closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
What To Do:
The ferry will drop you off at Alaya Cove, where you will be greeted by friendly staff, signs, and maps to help guide you. This cove also hosts a Welcome Center, Gift Shop, Bike Rental kiosk, and Café.
Depending on the day of the week, your energy level, and time frame, there are a variety of activities to do on Angel Island.
If you're feeling active, hike the Angel Island Perimeter loop. This 5 mile hike allows you to see the entirety of the island's rich history and takes about 2.5 hours to complete.
For a shorter, yet more challenging climb, hike Garrison Fire Road, a 3 mile trek that gives way to breathtaking views of the Bay.
A more relaxed activity would be to go for a bike ride around the island. I would especially recommend this option for families with younger children. The island's coastal bike paths can take you all around, from beautiful Quarry Beach to historical Civil War landmark Camp Reynolds. If you can't bring your own bike they are available to rent on a first come, first serve basis hourly or daily upon arrival.
Another family-friendly activity is the tram tour of the island. For $18 a person, the tram will take you on a guided tour of the entire island, lasting about an hour. On the tour you will see historical sites such as the old barracks, immigration detention center, and Alcatraz Island, as well as gorgeous beaches and adorable animals like deer and geese. The amazing guides will also share interesting anecdotes about the island and those who once lived on it. Tram spots can be reserved in advance, and the tour is an engaging and easy way to understand what Angel Island is all about.
Where To Eat:
After a few hours of exploring, stop for lunch at the Angel Island Café. Although the café is small and casual, it has all kinds of snacks, drinks, and comfort food like hot dogs and burritos. And don't forget to grab a delicious ice cream while you wait for your ferry back to Tiburon!
They are open from 10am-3pm on the weekdays and 10am-4pm on the weekends. Be sure to arrive 30 minutes before closing if you want lunch food as their kitchen tends to close early. On Saturdays in the summer the Café also hosts "Angel Island Live," a series of music performances by local artists. One thing to note is that there are a ton of wasps at the Café, making it difficult to relax and eat in peace. I'd recommend that you instead take your food to one of the many picnic spots around the island such as this one:
It is best to go to Angel Island on clear, sunny days, as that will guarantee you a good view of the Bay and its surrounding beauty. Even on sunny days the island is pretty windy, so I would recommend bringing a warm sweater or jacket.
I loved my day trip to Angel Island and would highly recommend it to anyone, tourist or Marin local alike.
If you end up loving Angel Island too you can donate $50-$150 and become a member. Conservancy membership means grants you access to discounts at the Angel Island cafe and gift shop, on bike rentals, and even from various local vendors, including Sam's Cafe and us at the Perfect Provenance! You can find more information about this program here.
I hope you enjoy your afternoon at Angel Island!