So amazing and super close to the city
Angel Island is a California State Park, but it's surprising how many visitors do not know of the 10 campsites scattered around the island! Regular campers probably appreciate this, though more and more people are learning of their existence. Campsites are all reservable on the reservecalifornia website and they are highly recommended due to the small number of sites available. Most visitors use the ferry from Tiburon or San Francisco to get to the island, though boaters and kayakers can make the trip on their own as well. A paved perimeter road surrounds the island and campers must hike into their sites, bringing everything they need with them. All of the sites offer differing views of the bay, with the three "Ridge" sites giving campers views that stretch from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Bay Bridge with the city and Alcatraz in between! Sites are pretty primitive but depending on your site choice you will have a vault toilet or modern bathroom at your disposal. Drinking faucets are available at each site as are trash cans and food lockers. Picnic tables are also present. No fires are allowed but the sites have a free standing small bbq, and charcoal fires are permitted within them. If you are looking for an exciting and unique place to pitch your tent then Angel Island is a must see!
I camped on Angel Island with a large organized group of 200+ campers at Fort McDowell. To get to the island, you have to take a short ferry trip that leaves from Tiburon, CA. From there you will backpack with your gear until you reach the campground that you will be staying at.
The island is well equipped with various bathrooms that include flush toilets and sinks. This is a great place to visit to get views of the Bay that you cannot get anywhere else. There is plenty of hiking, beach access, paved roads for biking, and tours of the history of the island.
Be aware that it gets very windy and chilly at night, so come prepared with a sturdy tent and warm clothing. Dogs are not allowed on the island.
There's only 10 sites on Angel Island, so we got a permit by going during the week (24 hour trip out the front door and back) Tuesday-Wednesday. We also took the ferry from Tiburon so factor in cost of parking and ferry boat ride into the campground.
Definitely stay on the Eastern side for less wind but bring plenty of stakes in case. Small island hikable in one evening/ morning so not sure we'll return. Views are great, don't get me wrong, but I prefer hiking over looking.
Beautiful open space with huge views of the Bay Area. Woods, water and vistas. Also fascinating history.
There are only 10 campgrounds on Angel Island, so permits are limited! I had the flexibility to go during the week and luckily there were permits available. You have to take a boat to get out to Angel Island so you have to drive up to Tiburon and park your car and get onto one of the Ferry Boats! One of the great things about the island is they have a Immigration museum (think Ellis Island but for the west coast!)
The island itself is about a 5 mile hike from one end to the other with a very modest elevation gain so it's definitely worth doing. Try to get a campsite towards east ridge so you can get a view of Alcatraz and both the Bay and Golden gate bridge. I would definitely suggest this as a tourist many locals tried to show me the best view of the city (Coit Tower, Golden gate bridge and Marin headlands) but in my opinion the best view is to camp out and see the view at night and in the early morning!
There are only 10 sites on the island and being so accessible from the San Francisco Bay Area (only a ferry ride away from Pier 39), you can see why it is in so high demand. When I got an invite last minute from a friend I reconnected with, I had to go. I am so glad I did! The upside of being patient with how far out you make your reservation is that once the last ferry leaves, you have the island practically to yourself. It is pretty awesome.
We lucked out and the weather was perfect for our visit. We hiked around the island and explored a couple cool areas. It used to be intake for immigration and even had some military presence on the island back in the day. Lots of old buildings to explore, in addition to the awesome views of the San Francisco Bay Area from the various vista points and beaches around the island.
I definitely recommend visiting - just make sure you are aware that some sites can get windy and cold at night.