I love visits up to the bay area. So happy my folks live somewhere that seems to be the complete opposite of Nevada, so it’s a nice getaway, especially in the summer months! Like I said, I am not sure if I will ever actually experience a “Las Vegas Summer”… at least not for too long. To drive outta there and it’s 110 degrees… to arrive at 55 degree weather was so refreshing! The bay area is known to have some of the coldest summers. I can agree to this, in June of 2013 I caught the worst cold of my life and the chill here did not help, one bit. Freezing… to the bone.
My dad’s church invited us to Angel Island. I cannot believe that in the years I’ve been coming to San Francisco that we never took the ferry out to visit this beautiful place… filled with history. Three thousand years ago it served as a fishing and hunting site for Coastal Minowak Indians. It was later a haven for Juan Manuel de Ayala (A Spanish explorer), a cattle ranch, and a U.S. Army post starting with the Civil War. From 1910 to 1940, the island processed hundreds of thousands of immigrants, the majority from China. During World War 2, Japanese, and German prisoners of war (aka POWs) were held on the island, which was also used as a jumping-off point for American soldiers returning from the Pacific. On the island you are able to visit the Immigration Station above. A lot of the history is quite sad. Talk about a vetting process! Many of the immigrants were stuck on the island for YEARS having to prove who they were related to, exactly what they wanted from America, and if they didn’t pass the tests, they were shipped back to China.. after already going through the longest trip of their lives.
We took a tram tour which I recommend booking online prior to going. We went on a weekend and they sell out, so purchasing tickets in advance is the way to go. We enjoyed the tram ride. You get a little history lesson as you go up. The ride is about an hour and it can be a little bumpy, so if you have motion sickness just keep your eyes ahead. They make a few stops and allow you to get out to take photos or just take in the views. Once you get to the very top by Immigration Station they give you the option of getting off the tram and hiking down if you choose… they said it’s about a 40 minute hike down. You would purchase your actual ferry tickets at the SF pier or Tiburon prior to getting on the boat. It’s $15 round trip, and a little less for kiddos. We took the Tiburon entrance, it was worth the drive since the city parking can get up to $35 for the day, and if you go to Tiburon, which isn’t much farther, you are able to park at the CVS lot for $5 for the day, and then spend the rest of the afternoon when you get back in this cozy, sweet seaside town!
Biking is huge on this island. So many people brought their bikes on the ferry and it’s only $1 extra.. plus you get to board first so that’s a bonus. The trails and the hiking are perfect for a day-date for those couples who love to hike or bike or both. We heard there is camping on the island but I am not too sure how that works. There’s a main restroom by the dock, lockers to put your things if you choose to bring a bigger bag, and lots and lots of picnic tables around. Right outside of the museum by the water there’s tables and bbq pits. There’s also one café and it’s reasonably priced! For being the only café on the island you’d think they can charge whatever the heck they wanted for… let’s say… a coffee! But nope! $2 for a cup that you can continue to fill. Not shabby. $1.50 for a bottle of water… hey! They could totally take advantage but with those prices it’s gonna bring you back. If you don’t pack a lunch, don’t worry, there’s food there as well. Their home made bowls of soup will run about $5 and a big salad will cost you closer to $10. Sandwiches are also around that price. Oh, and need I mention.. they sell wine there. Yes. Wine. SOLD!
After it was all said and done we took two very exhausted kiddos back on the ferry and had some gelato in Tiburon. The place is called Caffe Acri and can I just tell you… their hot mocha and their chocolate gelato are truly the perfect ending to the day.
And there you have it! A nice escape we all had away from the city. Even if you’re visiting SF for a weekend, go here! You won’t regret it. Hope you’re all having an amazing week so far! <3 Talia
**I also made a quick video if you wanna catch a different glimpse:
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Photos by: Gicky Soriano and Talia Cruz