Video by Shaun Edward

More than anything else Angel Island–the largest island in San Francisco Bay–is known for its immigration station. Opened in 1910 and operational until 1940, more than 1 million immigrants passed through the station–sometimes refferred to as “The Ellis Island of the West.”

The  Station was closed following a fire in 194o. But the military, which had first opened a quarantine hospital at Ayala Cove  in 1891, continued to be a presence on the island until the Nike Missle site built on the Island’s southern tip was closed in 1962. The State Park Service, which had started buying land on the island in 1954, took over complete control of the Angel Island.

Today, Angel island can only be accessed by boat via Ayala Cove, right across the Raccoon Straight from Tiburon. A ferry ticket from Tiburon costs $13.50 for adults 13 and up, and includes covers the park entrance fee as well.

Ayala Cove Angel Island Boat Docks

The docks at Ayala Cove can handle boats up to 50 feet long. Photo by Shaun Edward

For those wising to take their own boats there–as Sausalito Waterfront did–there are docks available for day use at Ayala Cove as well, which can accommodate boats of up to 50 feet. Docks cost $15 per boat for an all day pass, and mooring buoys are also available for $30 a night.

Ayala cove is the gateway to the rest of the island. Here you’ll find a cafe, bicycle and locker rentals, and Tram and Segway tours for those who don’t like to do their walking the old fashioned way. For people not wanting to shell out anymore cash than it already took to get there, there are also picnic tables and grills for public use.

There are trails for hiking and biking all over the island (click here for a map), but we’d recommend the 5-mile Perimeter Road for first time visitors. The paved road winds its way around the island, passing all the historically significant spots–the Immigration Station, Camp Reynolds, and the Nike Missile site, just to name a few.

Camp Reynolds Angel Island State Park

Photo by Shaun Edward

Angel Island’s south side probably offers the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito, and San Francisco, but there really are no bad views here. Not only are the views of San Francisco Bay stunning, but the natural beauty of the island itself is also worth taking the time to appreciate. If you want the ultimate in 360 degree view, it’s worth the climb to 733-foot tall Mt. Livermore, the top of the island.

San Francisco Bay view from Angel Island State Park

Photo by Shaun Edward

Angel Island State Park is open seven days a week from 8am to Sunset. Wherever you may choose to wander on the Island, you’ll probably need to come back again and again before you’ve had your fill.




Shaun Edward Photography