Angel Island State Park Travel Guide

Angel Island State Park Travel Guide
Angel Island is the largest island in San Francisco Bay. It has a rich history that started with the Miwok Native American tribes. Today, Angel Island State Park is a popular destination for tourists and locals who take the docent-led tours of buildings and enjoy numerous outdoor activities.

General Information

Access to the island is by ferry or boat; it is open all year from 8 a.m. to sunset. The park prohibits dogs (except service dogs), metal detectors, skateboards, roller skates, skateboards, scooters and disturbing the soil. Bike rentals and a deli cafe are available when ferries run; some rental lockers are also available. Pack clothing you can wear in layers, as some parts of the island are cool year-round. You can reserve one of four picnic areas. Everything is available on a first-come, first-served basis.


Angel Island allows camping for groups or individuals, though the campsites are only accessible by backpacking or biking. It is two miles to the campsites; some are uphill. Each site has pit toilets, food lockers, a barbecue and running water. Nine private campsites are open to individuals, and there's an Americans with Disabilities Act accessible camp. You can kayak with a group to the Kayak camp; it is the only camp with beach access. Many raccoons live on Angel Island, so it's important to use food lockers at all times. You'll need a stove or charcoal; the park does not allow wood fires. You can reserve campsites through the website.

Fishing and Boating

You can fish for halibut, ling cod, rock fish and more. Get a California saltwater fishing license before you go. Carry your own bait and tackle, as these are not available for rent on the island. The park allows private boats to moor in slips or to buoys in Ayala Cove; the slips are less expensive than the buoys.

Biking and Hiking

Two roads with eight miles of biking are on the island. Children who bike and are under 17 must wear helmets. More than 13 miles of trails are available for hiking. You can hike to the top of Mt. Livermore for a view of the bay; however, you will not be able to visit the former Nike Missile site--it is off limits. The trails become muddy when it rains. Take calamine lotion in case you brush against the abundant poison oak if you venture off the trails.

Article Written By Ellen Kendall

Ellen Kendall has 15 years of writing and editing experience. Her travel and insurance articles have appeared in national magazines. Her book contributions include biographies and multi-cultural and Holocaust lesson plans. She has previously served as a real estate broker and interior designer and taught ESL in Korea and at Duke.

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