Passengers disembark from the ferry at Ayala Cove, a small marina abutting a huge lawn area equipped with tables, benches, barbecue pits, and restrooms. During the summer season, there’s also a small store, a gift shop, the Cove Cafe (with surprisingly good grub), and an overpriced mountain-bike rental shop at Ayala Cove.
Angel Island’s 12 miles of hiking and bike trails include the Perimeter Road, a paved path that circles the island and offers breathtaking views of San Francisco, the Marin Headlands, the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges. The perimeter path is bike friendly for all levels, with only slight inclines and clear markers. For more experienced riders, an interior path offers a more strenuous mountain biking experience. The Perimeter Road winds past World War II military barracks, former gun emplacements, and other historic government buildings that recall the island’s storied and dark pasts; several turnoffs lead to the top of Mount Livermore, 776 feet above the bay. Sometimes referred to as the “Ellis Island of the West,” Angel Island was used as a holding area for detained Chinese immigrants awaiting admission papers from 1910 to 1940. You can still see faded Chinese characters on some of the walls of the barracks where the immigrants were held, sometimes for months.
Besides walking and biking, there are a number of other ways to get around the island, all of which can be booked at www.angelisland.com. Schedules vary depending on the time of year. The 1-hour audio-enhanced open-air Tram Tour costs $15 for adults, $14 for seniors, $10 for children 5 to 11, and is free for children 4 and under. The Tram will stop at vistas and riders can get off for photo ops. A guided 2-hour Segway Tour costs $68 per person, and is only available for those 16 years and up. Long pants are recommended; closed shoes are mandatory. A guided 2-hour Electric Scooter Tours is available for $50 (again for 16 and up). For more information about activities on Angel Island, visit www.angelisland.com.
For a more adventurous way to see the entire circumference of the island and take in the surrounding panoramas from a unique vantage point, try a guided sea-kayak tour, available for all ages. The 2 1/2-hour trips combine the thrill of paddling stable, two-person kayaks with an informative, naturalist-led tour around the island (conditions permitting). All equipment is provided (including a wetsuit, if needed), and no experience is necessary. Rates run $75 per person. For more information, contact the Sausalito-based Sea Trek (tel. 415/488-1000; www.seatrek.com). Note: Tours depart from Ayala Cove on Angel Island, not Sausalito.
What to See & Do in Tiburon
The main thing to do in tiny Tiburon is stroll along the waterfront, pop into its handful of stores, and spend an easy $50 on drinks and appetizers before heading back to the city. With fudge samples, edible Lego bricks, and every imaginable sweet you’d expect to find in Willy Wonka’s factory, kids will love The Candy Store on Main Street at 7 Main St. (tel. 415/435-0434; www.candystoretiburon.com).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.