Angel Island, one of the 48 islands in the San Francisco Bay, has served many functions in the last two centuries. It’s been a defensive military base, quarantine zone, and immigration port, earning it the nickname “the Ellis Island of the West.”
Now, the 1.2-square mile island is a state park and recreation hub with a 360-degree view of the bay from atop Mt. Livermore. In total, Angel Island has 13 miles of hiking trails, perfect for the history buffs or anyone looking for one of the best views in the San Francisco Bay.
If you go: Angel Island is serviced by ferries from San Francisco, Alameda, and Tiburon. To get there from SF, board the Blue and Gold Fleet at Pier 39. Tickets—$9 for adults and $4.75 for children and seniors—can be purchased online or in person. Bikes are welcome on the island (and available for rent), but dogs are not.
Short Day: North Ridge and Sunset Loop
If you only have a few hours to spare, consider a stroll to the summit of the 788-foot Mount Caroline Livermore, which offers panoramic views of the San Francisco Bay. Once a missle site, the mountain’s summit has actually been rebuilt with truckloads of dirt and native plants.