Overview: Explore the region at your own pace with the Free Ride guide, safe in the knowledge that you're riding on 165 miles of the best bike... more »
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Explore the region at your own pace with the Free Ride guide, safe in the knowledge that you're riding on 165 miles of the best bike... more » routes around.
• Red tracks: Beginner and intermediate routes using bike trails, bicycle lanes and the most bike-friendly streets possible.
• Pink tracks: Advanced road biking routes for experienced cyclists looking for more a more ambitious ride, including hill climbs, winding mountain roads and bayside hugging routes.
• Green tracks: Offroad trails for bikes that were literally designed for these hills, in a region known as the birthplace of mountain biking.
• Be sure to pack layers of clothing so you can keep comfortable as the weather changes.
• Read the Blazing Saddles safety tips at the beginning of this guide. less «
One of the most iconic images of San Francisco, Lombard Street is also one of the crookedest streets in the world. The quarter-mile long switchback road was designed this way in order to reduce the hill's natural 27% grade, which was considered too steep for cars and pedestrians alike.
Travel back in time to see how 19th Century sailors fared on the Pacific Ocean at the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park, which includes tours of historic vessels, a visitor center, a maritime museum, and a library/research facility.
Free admission to Hyde Street Pier.
Paid admission required to board vessels.
Listen to the music of the waves at the Wave Organ, an art installation that includes 25 organ pipes that rumbles, gurgles and sloshes when the waves move in and out of the pipes.
This piece of environmental art was created by Peter Richards and George Gonzales in 1986 for the Exploratorium, including pieces of masonry salvaged from a demolished... More gold-rush era San Francisco cemetery. The Wave Organ sounds best at high tide.
Link to Official Wave Organ site
Link to Tide ForecastLess
A huge warehouse of science experiments, the Exploratorium has hundreds of hands-on exhibits for a child or an adult to explore, discover and play.
Touch magnetic black sand, watch a giant ring of mist rise 30 feet in the air, perform some math on a calculator powered by gravity, or crawl and feel your way through a dark obstacle course in the ... Moretactile dome.
Fun for all ages and you’re guaranteed to learn a little something too. We're also a fan of evening events which include a wet bar and hardly a child in sight to crowd the exhibits.
The Panama Pacific Exposition of 1915 was an event dedicated to progress, the celebration of the completion of the Panama Canal and the rebirth of San Francisco following the disastrous 1906 earthquake.
Considered by many the most romantic feature of the fair, the Palace of Fine Arts was the only building to remain in place after the demolition... More of the Exposition. Surrounding the Palace is a lovely park and a lagoon.
Today's Presidio has as much in common with Star Wars as it does wars past. The revitalized former military base is now home to many companies including famed movie special effects artists Industrial Light and Magic and LucasArts. This modest Jedi statue is a welcome nod to the current tenants. Impressive, it is.
In 1846 the U.S. Army took control of this once windswept dune area from Mexico and transformed it into a large military base called The Presidio. In 1994 the National Park Service took over the area and it became part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
Today, the military buildings still stand, although non-profits, businesses and ... Moreapartments now occupy the refurbished premises. In addition there are over 25 miles of hiking trails, 14 miles of paved roads (perfect for cyclists), a golf course, bowling alley, tennis courts and athletic fields.
Celebrating the life and achievements of the father of Mickey Mouse, the Walt Disney Family Museum is a relatively new addition to San Francisco having opened in 2009. The museum is a great attraction for both children and adults alike, as it presents the story of the man's rise to great things, as told by himself and those who knew him well.
... More(415) 345-6800
A great place to take a rest and catch some fantastic views, Inspiration Point is a vista point that provides panoramic vistas of San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz, Angel Island, and the verdant Presidio forest.
Once the military’s first Air Coast Defense Station on the Pacific Coast, Crissy Field is now a great place to take a break at one of the cafes or picnic tables that sit along a promenade trail. After a quick break you can head to the beach and watch the kiteboarders and windsurfers weave and bob under the Golden Gate bridge or check out the... More wildlife along the shore.
Want to catch some air? House of Air is an indoor trampoline park that lets the kid in you jump and twist on a floor covered with 42 trampolines!
The trampoline floor is also surrounded on all sides by full-sized trampoline walls set at angles to the floor, allowing flyers maximum uninterrupted bounce.
The once grand military fortress guarding the entrance to San Francisco Bay is now dwarfed by the bridge stretching above it. Fort Point National Historic Site has been well preserved for its architectural and historical appeal and can be explored for free by the public.
The World Records that the Golden Gate Bridge held back in 1937 may have now been surpassed, but the jewel in San Francisco's crown remains proud as an icon of engineering and art-deco design and possibly the most recognizable bridge in the world.
Held in place by cables supported by the two 750ft tall towers, the 1.7 mile span connects the San... More Francisco peninsula with Marin County and carries five lanes of traffic as well as walkways for cyclists and pedestrians on both sides.
Cyclists can travel across the bridge for free at any time day or night. The following times may vary slightly depending on the season:
• Weekdays east walkway open all times except 3.30pm-9pm when only west walkway is open.
• Weekends east walkway open all times. West walkway open 5am-9pm.
• Late hour access on east walkway uses gate and remote buzzer system.
Free admission for bikes.
Golden Gate Bridge - Bikes and Pedestrians
Golden Gate Bridge - on WikipediaLess
In a city where you need to be a millionaire to own the house the size of a shoebox, the dwellings in this neighborhood are notable by their size and equal parts elegance and garishness. To live around here you need to be particularly wealthy, or perhaps a famous comedian and celebrated actor ..
The Legion of Honor contains over seventy sculptures by Auguste Rodin, including a bronze caste of one of his more famous sculptures, The Thinker.
The Legion of Honor also has a collection of European painting from the 14th through 20th centuries including works by Fra Angelico, El Greco, Rubens, Rembrandt, Watteau, Gainsborough, Monet,... More Bouguereau, Matisse, and Picasso. Refer to the Legion's website for special events and collections.
Two restaurants, one building. Choose the upstairs Beach Chalet for views facing Ocean Beach and some spectacular sunsets, or decide on the slightly less formal Park Chalet at ground level which opens up onto lawns and patios. Both venues are highly recommended.
At the San Francisco Zoo you can check out more than 250 species of animals and e
as well as view the daily penguin, grizzly, or American white pelican feedings.
One of two windmills located within the park, the restored Dutch Windmill is an impressive landmark. Commissioned in 1902 the windmills were built to pump water to the park, but became relics once more effective electric pumps took over pumping duties.
A legacy of a century old commitment to conservation, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park has been home to a small herd of bison since 1891 back when their numbers where dangerously low. Today’s animals still call the park home.
When you fancy a break from pedaling around the park, why not pedal around a Stow Lake instead? Or if you prefer to give your legs a rest, try renting a rowing boat instead to explore the lake, the waterfall and the pagoda. And try and spot some turtles, too.
Paid boat rental.
USA's oldest public Japanese tea garden was originally built as the Japanese Village for the California Midwinter International Exposition in 1894, which pre-dates the more modern Worlds Fair festivals.
Wander through the garden and enjoy the decorative foilage, koi ponds, wooden bridges and artistic pagodas chased with a refreshing cup of tea... More and snack at the tea house.
The San Francisco Botanical Garden contains over 8,000 varieties of plants from around the world spread out over 55 landscaped acres. You can see plants from New Zealand, South Africa, East Asia, Chile, Australia, as well as California natives. There are also some special gardens including a Meso-American Cloud Forest, a Redwood Trail, and a... More Children’s Garden.
Paid admission (free for SF residents)
The De Young Museum not only has world class art, but also has one of the best views of Golden Gate Park and San Francisco at its observation tower, a glass enclosed structure that provides 360 degree views.
The museum’s general collection includes American Painting, American Decorative Art, African Art, Art of the Americas, Oceanic Art, and... More Textile Arts. Check out the website for special events and collections.
The California Academy of Sciences is the only museum in the world that can boast an aquarium, planetarium, natural history museum and a four-story rainforest dome all under the same roof. Speaking of the roof, the open-air observation deck on the museum roof features the densest concentration of native wildflowers in San Francisco.
(415) 379... More-8000
The oldest wood and glass conservatory in North America, the Conservatory of Flowers is not only wonderful example of Victorian architecture, but it also houses exotic plants, tropical flowers, and special exhibits.
One of the oldest playgrounds in the United States is still a great place to take the kids - whether their preference is for the sand pit, climbing frames or concrete slides.
The area even includes a 1914 era classic wooden carousel complete with a menagerie of animals to ride from horses and camels, to frogs and ostriches!
At over three miles long and nine city blocks wide, a bicycle is possibly the best way you could explore this enormous urban park. Within its boundaries you’ll find two museums, a botanical garden, a large conservatory, Japanese tea gardens, nine lakes, a field for grazing bison, a baseball field, a huge polo field, tennis courts, soccer fields,... More equestrian facilities, lawn bowling, and several children's playgrounds. Oh, and a sports stadium. And not forgetting the golf course too. Check out our Free Ride guide for the major points of interest within the park.
If your time is limited, we recommend a loop of the eastern side of the park only which is also the flattest side of the park for those concerned about uphill sections. Use Transverse Drive to connect between JFK and MLK Drive.
With more time at your disposal, a trip to Ocean Beach along the full length of the park is definitely a worthwhile decision. Perhaps a bite to eat at the Park Chalet at the western end of the park is in order before the return trip? Alternatively there’s a Safeway just to the north of the park and you can indulge in an impromptu picnic on the beach.
Golden Gate Park official website
Calendar of events (unofficial website)Less
If you’re going to San Francisco, you might want to be sure to wear flowers in your hair when you’re visiting Haight Ashbury, a neighborhood forever immortalized by the era of the Summer of Love.
Back in 1967 a perfect storm of counter-culture, psychedelic rock music and drug subculture all came together here. The Grateful Dead, Jefferson... More Airplane and Janis Joplin all called this neighborhood home, while the mainstream media became enamored with stories about the area, the “hippies” and the music.
As brief as a real season, the Summer of Love was soon overcome by the immense numbers of people from all walks of life who were drawn to the scene, either to join in with the celebrations, or - more frequently - simply as curious onlookers.
Echoes of the past can still be seen here and Haight Street’s eclectic mix of stores and boutiques can make for very interesting shopping.
Surviving the twin threats of earthquakes and redevelopment, many fine examples of Victorian homes still exist today scattered throughout the city, but none are so well-known as the Painted Ladies on Alamo Square. You’ll have seen them in every guidebook and on every postcard rack (which is why this viewpoint is also known as 'Postcard Row') and... More you may even remember them from the TV - on the opening credits of Full House.
Built between 1892 and 1896 these ornate homes are perfect examples of the era and contrast superbly with the modern city skyline which serves as a backdrop.
Rebuilt after being destroyed in the 1906 earthquake, the City Hall and surrounding landscape is an impressive sight to behold. Head inside the building and you’ll remain impressed, and you can even sign up for a free 45 minute tour.
Movie buffs may recognize the building from some prominent San Francisco films including Milk, Bedazzled, The... More Rock and Dirty Harry.
Free admission and free tour.
If you're looking to shop until you drop, then look no further than Union Square. The Union Square area of San Francisco includes hotels, department stores, upscale boutiques, theaters, etc.
Union Square was also the principal exterior location for the famous 1974 movie ‘The Conversation’, directed by San Francisco resident Francis Ford Coppola... More.
Two blocks from Union Square, Westfield Shopping Center contains a Century Theatres multiplex and over 170 stores including the west coast flagship Bloomingdale's and the second largest Nordstrom store in the U.S.
SFMOMA includes 26,000 works of modern and contemporary art with an emphasis on photography, painting and sculpture, architecture and design, and media arts. The museum’s painting and sculpture collections include Abstract Expressionism, Conceptualism, German Expressionism, and the art of California. The photograph collection also comprises... More over 14,000 images related to California and the West, the European Avant-Garde, and American Modernism.
Check out the website for special events and collections.
Situated at the end of Market Street, there’s much more to the Ferry Building that merely catching a boat across the bay. Inside you’ll find many stores and cafes and restaurants vying for your attention including artisan foods, ice-cream and the immensely popular Slanted Door restaurant. Outside you’ll find farmer’s market stalls in front of the ... Morebuilding on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and an even bigger market behind the building on Saturdays.
Built in 1898 the Ferry Building was a roaring success, connecting the San Francisco peninsula with communities across the Bay, but the completion of the two San Francisco bridges in the 1930s let to a sharp decline in its use. The construction of an elevated freeway directly above the Embarcadero in the 1950s obscured the ferry building both figuratively and literally.
It wasn’t until after the freeway was demolished in the wake of the 1989 earthquake that the Ferry Building became a celebrated San Francisco landmark once more, leading to a renovation project which aimed to bring back the glory days of the building with a 1898-style restoration.
Run by the non-profit organization that’s also responsible keeping the history of San Francisco public transit alive in the shape of the historic streetcars and the famed cable cars, this small museum is a goldmine of artifacts and exhibits for anyone with an interest in history or railway transportation.
The 214ft towering landmark which sits atop Telegraph Hill has been gracing the San Francisco landscape since 1933. Often admired from afar, Coit tower is also worthy of a visit on a clear day. Views from the top of the hill are mightily impressive, plus you can continue to the top of the tower by elevator and enjoy the 360-degree views across the... More city and bay.
Unless you’re a glutton for punishment we don’t recommend trying to reach the tower by bike and instead recommend an approach by foot up the Filbert Steps, located on the eastern side of the hill parallel to Pier 23 (between Union and Greenwich streets).
Around the tower and on the Filbert steps keep your eyes and ears alert for the sounds of the wild parrots of Telegraph Hill. People speculate that the parrots arrived here on ships from foreign shores, but nobody knows for certain.
Paid admission to the top of the tower.
Older brother to the Golden Gate Bridge by a mere six months, the San Francisco - Oakland Bay Bridge also boasts bigger statistics. Carrying twice the load with its double-deck span the structure carries vehicles 4½ miles from shore to shore, although the eastern spans of the bridge are difficult to see from a San Francisco vantage point as... More the bridge is interrupted in the middle by the island of Yerba Buena. Bicycles are not allowed on the bridge.
SF-Oakland Bay Bridge on WikipediaLess
Home of the San Francisco Giants, this 42,000 seater ballpark has been packing in the fans only since 2000. The park has seen many exciting baseball moments, but none more than in 2010 when the San Francisco Giants won their first World Series. Sports trivia fans will probably try and point out here that the team has won the title before, but not ... Moresince the team moved to San Francisco from New York in 1958.
Sailing from Pier 33, Alcatraz cruises is the only way to get on and off the The Rock, but that’s at least one more option than the prisoners of this island penitentiary had. In peak season be sure to purchase your tickets in advance.
Paid admission includes both ferry and island.
Great but relatively small aquarium located by the entrance to Pier 39. Though not a world-class attraction, its a great location to while away a couple of hours entranced by a good selection of aquatic animals. Includes two tunnels and a touch pool where you can get up close and personal with leopard sharks and rays.
Paid... More admission.
The wildly popular large pier on the eastern side of Fisherman's wharf is a great place to come for a short stroll, a little shopping, or dining at one of more than a dozen restaurants.
Attractions even include a carousel, a 4D ride experience, a mirror maze and aquarium. And don't leave San Francisco without saying 'hi' to the sea lions who hang... More out by the left side of the pier!
(415) 705 5500
The Blue and Gold Fleet ferries serve the routes listed below. The company additionally operates a RocketBoat during summer season and cruises around the bay.
• Pier 39/41 to Angel Island, Sausalito, Tiburon and Vallejo
• Ferry Building to Vallejo, Alameda/Oakland
Blue & Gold Fleet website.
The Fisherman's Wharf is usually at the top of most visitors lists of places to visit in San Francisco. It may be for the many restaurants or crab stands, for the street performers, for the sea lions at the end of pier 39, for the bay views or just somewhere to while away the time waiting for a ferry, but this place sure draws the crowds.
Be sure... More to investigate the oft overlooked Musee Mechanique and definitely take a stroll along the Maritime Museum's pier at the end of Hyde Street.
Home of one of the world's largest collections of antique mechanical arcade machines. Discover out how your great-grandparents were entertained before Playstation, Pacman and Pong.
For those remember Rubik's cubes and legwarmers and want a blast from their own past, the museum also features a selection of 1980s and 90s arcade machines in... More tip-top condition.
There's no entry fee to the museum, but be ready to feed those machines full of quarters!
Only two of the 2,710 Liberty Ships built during the second world war, only two fully functional vessels remain. The SS Jeremiah O'Brien survived the war intact, even after making several wartime voyages including eleven trips across the English Channel carrying personnel and supplies to Normandy in support of the D-Day landings.
You can take a... More tour of the ship or take cruise on the SS Jeremiah O’Brien on special days throughout the year. Check the website’s calendar for cruising dates.
Built in 1855 and relocated in 1877, the Point Bonita Lighthouse was built to guide ships coming entering the San Francisco Bay during the gold rush era. Now operated by the U.S. Coast Guard, the lighthouse is still guiding ships into the Bay.
To visit Point Bonita and the lighthouse you'll have to lock up your bike at the trailhead and... More proceed on foot for half a mile. The trek along the cliffs, over bridges and through a narrow tunnel is a memorable one even before you reach the suspension bridge to the lighthouse.
The trail operates limited hours so be sure to check before setting out.
Housed within a converted church, the Marin Headlands Visitor Center is worthy of a visit to learn more about the people who lived in these hills. From coastal Miwok native Americans to the men and women who manned the military bases and defenses of this area, the excellent interpretive facilities explain all in detail.
Free... More admission.
Popular with surfers and sunbathers alike, this sheltered Marin Headlands beach is a great location to hang out and enjoy the ocean shore.
This non-profit organization opens its doors to the public at the Marine Mammal Center in the Marin Headlands to share in an understanding of the animals it cares for.
In addition to research and education programs, the center is directly responsible for caring for up to two thousand sick marine mammals each year, many of which are cared for at... More this facility and can be seen from the viewing platform in the facility.
If you spot a marine mammal on the San Francisco area coastline which appears to be ill, abandoned or in danger, call them directly at the number below. Also, if you live in this area consider saving this number in your 'phone for future reference.
Free admission (donations appreciated)
Keep to the cycle lane on this single-track section of the road and there'll be plenty of space for both you and the cars. Head for the light at the end of the tunnel, and consider the 500ft of hill above you that this short-cut saves you the trouble of scaling!
The diversionary route via Fort Baker is a great chance not only to freewheel under Golden Gate Bridge all the way to the water’s edge but also a perfect place for a photo opportunity and a classic, yet less well known picture-postcard view of the bridge with Pulpit Rock in the foreground. The jetty at this location is also a great spot from which... More to admire the whole area.Less
This isn’t just a museum, it’s a wonderful play area for your 6 month to 8 year old to be curious, creative and adventurous. Indoor and outdoor exhibits include an art studio, a simulation of the San Francisco and Oakland ports, and an outdoor play area featuring natural, cultural and built icons of the Bay Area.
Not only is this a great place ... Moreto watch your kids play, but it also has breathtaking views of the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.
At the former fishing village of Sausalito you’ll find a perfect place to browse the little boutique stores that line the bay-side road. Follow this up with refreshments or a meal at one of the many well regarded restaurants near the center of the town where you can also enjoy views of the San Francisco skyline across the water.
Want to visit the entire bay area in less than an hour? The Bay Model is a giant hydraulic model of the San Francisco Bay, Sacramento River and San Joaquin Delta.
About the size of two football fields, the model was built in 1957 by the US Army Corps of Engineers to study the water flow, tides and current of the bay and humans’ affect on this ... Moreunique water system. Renovations are common on the Bay Model - we suggest calling in advance to confirm their status before visiting.
The lucky few who own a houseboat at Waldo Point have the San Francisco Bay as their backyard. This part of Sausalito was used to construct the Liberty Ships during WWII. After the war, beat-generation folks and hippies called these houseboats home.
Today 245 houseboats are privately owned and have a lease with the harbor for their berth. ... More Feel free to tour the neighborhood, but please be respectful of the residents who call this place home.
Seated in the shadow of Mount Tamalpais, the modern town of Mill Valley grew out of the lumber business which supplied wood for San Francisco's Presidio.
Today Mill Valley is very popular residential neighborhood, in part due to the town's setting and the great weather the area has compared with San Francisco. Many popular restaurants serve the... More town, most situated at the end of Miller Avenue.
Named for the old wood mill which gave Mill Valley its name, its with some irony that the park contains some of the few remaining large redwood trees in the area. The timber-framed structure by the river is a faithful recreation of the shell of the former mill building.
Visiting this small park is a worthwhile excursion if you're already in the... More area to enjoy the attractions of Mill Valley or perhaps ending a Mt. Tamalpais hiking or biking trip.Less
Tiburon in Spanish means 'shark' and is named for the many leopard sharks that frequent the San Francisco Bay. You're unlikely to see many sharks in Tiburon, you will see great views of the San Francisco skyline, Angel Island and the Golden Gate Bridge.
Tiburon is a small, usually sunny town which sports boutique stores and a whole host of... More waterfront restaurants including Sam's Anchor Cafe, one of the oldest and most popular restaurants in Tiburon.
Take a break and have a snack or play some horseshoes at the West Point Inn - a 1904 historic inn that has views of the East Bay, parts of San Francisco, the Marin Headlands, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Pacific Ocean.
The inn was once a stopover for passengers who rode the 'Crookedest Railroad in the World' up from Mill Valley to the top of the ... MoreMt. Tamalpais. Today, it’s a rustic inn, which hosts monthly pancake breakfasts from April to October beginning on Easter Sunday each year.
Blue and Gold Fleet provide a ferry service between San Francisco Pier 39 boarding from the left of the restaurants. A service to Angel Island is also available from here - proceed to the Angel Island-Tiburon Ferry Company, who sail from a dock to the right of the Blue & Gold service.
(415) 705-8200 | Blue & Gold Fleet (to SF Pier 39)
(415)... More 705-8200 | Angel Island Ferry (to Angel Island)Less
Known to locals simply as Mt Tam, a visit to Mt. Tamalpais State Park is the perfect day-trip and once you're here it's hard to believe you're just a stone's throw away from the second biggest city on the West Coast.
From the parking lot, visitor center and restroom area there's a short half-mile journey to the 2,572 ft summit which is accessible... More by foot alone. The trail to the peak begins on an easy boardwalk and continues up timber steps before leading to a more rugged and rocky path towards the summit.
Try and leave enough time for the free Gravity Railroad Museum which memorializes the historic scenic mountain railway and the free-wheeling return journey back to Mill Valley.
Free admission to cyclists.
California State Parks official website
Trailspotting's recommended Tamalpais hikesLess
Muir Woods National Monument protects one of the few remaining patches of old-growth redwood forest which used to blanket the western coast. Spared from the axe of the lumberjack initially by the location’s inaccessibility, and then by preservationists, Muir Woods became a National Monument in 1908.
Though the park doesn’t host either the largest... More or the oldest redwood trees it does boast towering specimens up to 258 feet (79 meters) in height and trees up to 1,200 years old. The tallest redwood stretches 379 feet (116 meters) above the ground and is located 360 miles north of San Francisco in Redwood National Park and is the tallest known tree in the world.
Muir Woods trees can be toured along a short paved loop trail along the valley floor, or explored in more depth across a network of hiking trails which extend into the neighboring Mt. Tamalpais State Park.
Muir Woods National Monument official website
Trailspotting's Muir Woods and Tourist Club hike from Panoramic HighwayLess
A faithfully recreated seventeenth century English country pub nestled in the valley between Mt. Tamalpais and Muir Beach. This is a great location for cyclists, hikers, motorists and beach-goers alike and attracts folk who enjoy a shepherds pie by the fireplace or a pint of ale on the lawn.
Tucked away into the hills of the Marin Headlands, this rarely crowded beach offers tranquility to nature-lovers and a great place to simply be. Though the beach is semi-sheltered, its not known for it sun-baked sand and on some days the breeze can chill you to the bone if you’re not suitably wrapped up!
California is known for its beaches and Stinson Beach is one of Northern California’s gems. This 3½ mile sandy beach has a 52-acre park with 100 picnic tables and grills, lifeguards on duty from May through October, and a snack bar from April through September.
Welcome to Angel Island! A great place to enjoy the San Francisco Bay and get away from the bustle of the city. Separated from the mainland since the last ice age 10,000 years ago, the island was used almost exclusively for grazing livestock until the military established a base here during the American Civil War in 1863.
Virtually every part of... More the island has been shaped by military presence in some way, as our counter-clockwise tour of the Perimeter Road will illustrate.
You'll be aware by now that even the busiest ferry route to Angel Island is limited, so be sure to make a note of (and maybe even an alarm call for) the last boat off the island.Less
Many of the Angel Island park rangers live here on the island, and are possibly the best possible source of advice and information about the State Park. Be sure to make good use of their knowledge.
Built at the turn of the 20th century, Battery Drew remained in service until 1917 and like all coastal defenses in this area, it saw no action (which has to be a good thing!). Records show that the 8-inch gun only ever fired a total of 26 practice rounds.
You'll find evidence of decommissioned coastal defenses all over the island and throughout ... Morethe San Francisco - and far too many to mention in our guides.Less
Our side trip is the best way to explore Fort McDowell, from the enormous barracks and the buildings by the former boat dock all the way back up to the former hospital.
Decommissioned in 1946 some of these buildings are in a poor state of repair and shouldn't be entered, while others you are free to explore.
... MoreFort McDowell History (Angel Island Assn)Less
Beneath an army barracks isn't the place you'd normally expect to see stretches of golden sands, but this tranquil little spot is a great way to enjoy views of the bay and the San Francisco city skyline as the water gently laps by your feet.
Angel Island was the first American soil to greet almost one million immigrants between 1910 and 1940. New arrivals were usually processed within three days, but thanks to a long-repealed Chinese exclusion law, a different treatment awaited the 175,000 Chinese immigrants who were confined here for months in prison-like conditions.
Operations... More were removed from the island when the administration building burned in 1940, survived by the large barracks on the hill and a recreation of the portal between the two buildings.
Now designated as a National Historical Landmark, the stories of immigrants who entered the country through here are retold through memorials and a guided tour of the barracks museum. Bikes are not permitted down in the cove - lock your bike in the racks provided and walk down.
Free admission. Fee payable for museum tour.
History of the Immigration Station (CA State Parks)
Angel Island Immigration Station (Wikipedia)Less
Serving anything from a breakfast croissant to an afternoon beer or ice-cream, the Cove Cafe is a welcome sight for a weary cyclist!
One word of warning however - they close rather early. So when heading back to the ferry, check in here first or you might have to wait in refreshment limbo until the ferry arrives.
Hours vary... More depending on the season, but commonly open approx 10am - 3pm (4.30pm at weekends).Less