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Advice on visiting Alcatraz (for a semi-local)

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Advice on visiting Alcatraz (for a semi-local)

Hi,

We have lived in the Bay Area for many years, but have never made it over to Alcatraz. We finally decided to do it on our upcoming trip to the Bay Area from SoCal (late July). We will be staying in Sauaslito/Mill Valley area and will be going on a Monday. We are not morning people and will likely go for a 1PM or so ferry from pier to Alcatraz. I imagine we will stay a couple hours then head back. I assume traffic over the Golden Gate Bridge gets pretty terrible starting around 4 (?). So, I was wondering:

1.) Instead of driving from Sausalito to the pier, is there a shuttle bus or ferry to avoid driving, parking, and/or dealing with bridge traffic?

2.) Any advice on the best time to visit? I realize that the earlier the better probably applies here, but we just can't do it that day.

3.) If we have a 1PM ferry reservation to Alcatraz, what time should we plan on leaving Sausalito (not familiar with the route and parking)??

4.) Any other advice on visiting or planning the visit?

Thanks!

Edited: 5:02 pm, May 31, 2018
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1. Re: Advice on visiting Alcatraz (for a semi-local)

questions about SF are best asked in the SF forum in future -- no worries this time

Yes there is a ferry from Sausalito to the Fishermans' wharf area and you can then walk to the Alcatraz ferry

Best time is early am but since you cannot do it, not sure what to say -- do it when you can

Yes do read the top question on alcatraz in the SF forum top question. Planning ? It is a visit to a prison for heaven's sake - just purchase tickets and then go

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2. Re: Advice on visiting Alcatraz (for a semi-local)

Thanks! I looked up the ferry and it looks great--so much better than fighting bridge traffic and trying to figure out where to park!

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3. Re: Advice on visiting Alcatraz (for a semi-local)

There are 2 ferry companies running from Sausalito to SF. Blue & Gold docks at Fisherman's Wharf. Golden Gate transit docks at the Ferry Building which is about a mile away from the Alacatraz Pier. Check their websites for ferry schedules and duration of trip.

Alcatraz will tell you to be at the Pier 30 minutes in advance. That's not really necessary but I wouldn't pull up 2 minutes prior either.

I have no idea what the parking situation may be in Sausalito. I might consider Ubering from Mill Valley.

Tickets go on sale 90 days in advance. Buy them soon, they always sell out. Check SF Top Questions for lots more info and details.

Edited: 5:14 pm, May 31, 2018
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4. Re: Advice on visiting Alcatraz (for a semi-local)

It took me 30+ years of living in the Bay Area before I visited Alcatraz a couple of years ago. I went around 1 PM and had no problems. It's probably less crowded in the morning, but the crowds weren't that bad in the afternoon.

The Blue & Gold ferry goes from Sausalito to Fisherman's Wharf. Then you can walk the five minutes to the Alcatraz ferry.

Golden Gate Transit also has buses from Marin County.

Buy your tickets from www.alcatrazcruises.com

Edit: Obviously my paws go too slow on the keyboard. There was only one response when I started typing.

Edited: 5:19 pm, May 31, 2018
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5. Re: Advice on visiting Alcatraz (for a semi-local)

THere were very few Alcatraz tix left, but we were able to get on the 2:40 PM ferry--a bit later than we wanted, but should give us plenty of time.

I just also bought 4 tix (2 people round trip) for the Blue and Gold. Strangely, it did not ask me what time I wanted. I guess you just go to the Kiosk, pick up tickets and then get on whatever one you want??

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6. Re: Advice on visiting Alcatraz (for a semi-local)

Might one paw be wrapped around a beer? Of course, I can touch type while balancing a vino!

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7. Re: Advice on visiting Alcatraz (for a semi-local)

The biggest issue with the Sausalito ferry crowds is for those with bikes. People get on but rezzies are taken for the bikes these days. If you're heading over about noon there shouldn't be overcrowding on the ferry.

You might think about having an early dinner in North Beach before getting a ferry back.

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8. Re: Advice on visiting Alcatraz (for a semi-local)

Looks as if we'll be on the last ferry going back to Sausalito at 8:20PM. If we get in at 9 or so, I assume it is pretty safe to walk a couple miles north to our place after finding a spot for dinner?

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9. Re: Advice on visiting Alcatraz (for a semi-local)

Mill Valley is more than 2 miles. Once you leave Sausalito and go under Hwy 101 there isn't much of a sidewalk. If you're before that, there is a walkway which, while isn't my 'hood, I'd say would be safe at that time.

Where exactly are you staying?

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10. Re: Advice on visiting Alcatraz (for a semi-local)

Hi, yes, we are in Mill Valley at an AirBNB. It is a bit too far to walk. Will probably have dinner near the water, then cab back (have not waded into the Uber waters yet if you can believe).

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