Camping in Angel Island

I ⛺ in Angel Island for a couple nights, here's my experience.

The goods:

  • Amazing view: I could see the Bay Bridge and Tiburon from my campground
  • Mt. Livermore: Very short hike and more amazing views, you can go 360 and see GG bridge, the SF skyline and the whole SF Bay
  • Did I say it was an amazing view??
  • Easy hikes around the island
  • Variety of things to do: Besides normal camping stuff like hiking and BBQ you can go visit the Angel Island Immigration Museum, the beach, the fort etc. All with relatively low effort.
  • Angel Island Immigration Museum: The pacific coast equivalent of Ellis Island. It was a pretty interesting place I didn't know about despite living for quite some time in the SF Bay Area, I wonder why it's not advertised more. It was the entrance point for a lot (most?) immigrants coming from Japan, China and Russia. The museum does a great job of showing the actual lives of some immigrants before coming to the US, their arrival at Angel Island, they often had to navigate the bureaucratic maze of immigration laws, racism and whims of immigration officers before being allowed to settle in the US (Not much different than today isn't it?? :) and their descendants.
  • A car-free hiking experience: To get to the Island one needs to catch the Ferry at the SF Ferry Building, there are 3/4 ferries per day so it's important to plan ahead. In the island cars are not permitted
  • Ferry accepts clipper card, pretty easy to move around
  • I didn't bring my bike but saw a lot of people bringing bikes in the ferry and biking around

The Bad:

  • No easy transportation in the island: That means that you have to actually carry your camping things to the campgrou d in your back. So prepare to travel light. In my case it was a hard 1h walk to the campground. I wish I had brought less stuff.
  • I frankly didn't understand the BBQ grills in the campground, why would anyone carry charcoal in their backs? I'm glad I brought a gas stove...
  • There's a Cafe in the island which is pretty good but only opens on weekends.
  • Restrooms were not bad but stinky (common on parks). Don't look at the hole in the toilet, it might look back at you.
  • Wind: Even though I was on one of the campgrounds more protected from the winds it was still pretty intense.
  • In my case I also camped in the winter which made it really cold at night (almost freezing). Bring a good sleeping bag!
  • You have to reserve a lot in advance because demand is so high, I suspect I was only able because weather sucks this time of the year, still it was 2 months before and I couldn't get a weekend.

All in all it was a great experience, would definitely recommend.


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