“Break the rules and you go to prison, break the prison rules and you go to Alcatraz.”- Anonymous.
Located in a beautiful landscape surrounded by lush blueish green water bodies, The Alcatraz Islands resides in San Francisco. The Island owes it’s recognition to a Spanish Gentleman named Juan Manuel Diaz. Owing to its large population of Seabirds, he first named the Island La Isla De Los meaning the Island of Pelicans. It is found in a completely isolated region and covered with fog most of the time. Being an outlying area it has now received a lot of attention. Alcatraz tours include the ancient US prisons and a trip to the National Park.
Alcatraz is made out of rock its walls, ceilings, buildings almost everything. Additionally, the Islands and its National Park boast many varieties of some of the most invaluable plant and animal habitat. Book the Alcatraz tours of your choice via cruise or plane. We also suggest you experience the audio tour where you can visualize the actual situations of the prisoners and the prisons. Many documentaries and movies have been released but none will give you the thrill that an actual visit would provide.
Best time to visit
The ideal time to tour these Islands is generally the warmest months of the year, summertime. Let the foggy atmosphere dilute and you would enjoy a peaceful vacation here. Usually, the months of September and October are preferred to visit the cells as it remains cool throughout the year. To avoid the rains, keep away from these Islands during January and February. However, if you want to escape crowds the rainy season is one of your best chances. Moreover, during this season the ferries do not get cancelled as they are covered. During the summer the crowds grow and the fog spreads across the Island thus making it the worst time to visit the marvellous Island.
1. Ghost tour
Initially, the secluded island was a prisoners locality. The US government locked up many dangerous criminals. The place gained repute for stories of escapists and bloodshed. To this day if you decide to visit these islands you will hear at least one person narrating you a horrifying story about the prisons and its prisoners. To feel those vibes or maybe even encounter any activity close to one with a paranormal activity, hop on a ferry and go on a ghost tour aka night tour.
This tour takes place mostly in the evening or night time on a ferry. The tourists are allowed to visit the prisons where the criminals lived. Cases of paranormal activities and sounds have been brought to light by visitors and tour guides. This experience is offered from Thursday through Monday nights and sell out a week prior. The cruise is narrated and you will have a guide along. You may also choose the self-guided audio tour till the prison.
Night tour Alcatraz ferry tickets usually cost $45 for the adults, $44 for kids between the age of 12-17 and $26.75 for kids between 5-11. However, children below the age of 5 get a free pass. The package includes a shared ferry where you will have to go in groups of 150 people. The ferry will tour around the island for a long time before you reach the prison cells. Furthermore, .you get to watch the golden sun and the sparkling lights of San Francisco.
2. Alcatraz and Angel Island Tour
This is one of the most family-friendly tours that allows you to visit two sights in one day if you are short of time. Take the ferry to the Alcatraz Island and then the Angel Islands. At the Angel Island roam around in a tram on a guided audio-tour and explore the breathtaking sights. After which, you will return on the ferry to pier 33. The ticket for the Alcatraz and Angel Island Tours varies in price from $76 to $ 51 and is free for kids below the age of 5. You can hop on these Alcatraz tours from April till October. The facility extends to two hours per day.
The Angel Islands Tour will help you discover the historic Island with spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay. Thousands of Immigrants from Asia and Ellis Island led to the development of interesting museums that showcase dorms and rooms. This museum is on the way to the tram and is worth a visit. The whole tour is about 5.5 hours and starts with the Alcatraz Island tour. Here the tourists leave Pier 33 at 9:15 a.m. After which they travel 2.5 hours around and on the Island. Then visit the Angel Island for about 3 hours and live around the purest air of the Island. Then head back at pier 33 completing the trip.
If you wish to take a tour without a guide hop on the Blue and Gold Ferry from Pier 41. Also, experience thrilling hiking ventures and Segway tours. If you decide to tour the Angel Island on your own would cost you around $33 including a ferry ride from San Francisco and a tram tour on the Island.
3. Alcatraz Audio Tour
Climb a steep hill and acquire your audio headsets from your guides. However, for those finding it difficult to hike up you can take a 35-minute tram. If you wish to do something else, inform your guide and return the headsets claiming a refund of 8$. The refund system is only applicable to the people choosing the day tours. The tour is undertaken in many languages such as English, German, French, Spanish, Dutch, Italian as well as Russian, Portuguese, Korean, Japanese, and Mandarin. It lasts 45 minutes and is a self-guided tour. Moreover, you can rewind or fast-forward the tape and tour at your leisure. The audio tour is a great journey that takes you on an adventure-filled trip to the prisons and its contents.
The audio you hear is somewhat like a 3D version of visuals as you will actually hear the voices and pleads of the prisoners and guides describing their lifestyle. This is sure going to give you the chills. The narration also takes you to peculiar spots where fascinating events often took place. You will also land on sites from where various prisoners had planned their escapes. In spite of various attempts, many many inmates failed to escape due to the isolation of these Islands. The water remained cold and currents strong.
At the end of the audio tour of the prison, you will head to the Lighthouse. This place will provide you relief from the darkness and gloom of your previous visit. Here is where you can cross the Golden Gate Bridge and Gaze at an unusual sight of San Francisco’s beauty and pleasing your eyes to a full panoramic view of the scene. This is the time you’d enjoy clicking your selfies.
4. Alcatraz National Park
Visit the mysterious Alcatraz National Park that hides some of the worlds most unique and endangered species of wildlife and maybe even a few ghosts according to many tourists. You may also choose to stay at the Park for the breathtaking views as well as historic cultures. This historic site was established in 1972 by the Congress. It was built with the motive of “bringing the parks to people”: and make the treasures of the national park accessible to the masses. Also, in the quest to preserve some of the oldest buildings and peculiar habitat. In October 1973 it first open to the population who had never even heard about the Island.
The response the Park got was overwhelming. Moreover, native American Indians visit the Island every year to gather for a sunrise ceremony at the Alcatraz Islands. However, during the summer the Park is filled with fog and disappears from a distance with the mist and its mystery.
If you decide to visit the Island, the best thing for you to do would be for you to take a cruise on the Alcatraz tours. However, be cautious in choosing your cruise e-booking sites as you may encounter few fraudulent sites. We suggest you book your tickets on the main website where you’d not only have security but also get some cheap packages.
San Francisco Bay Cruise
It is one of the most adventurous cruises and is a must do according to us. Board the cruise and go on An Alcatraz Island tour at Pier 39 in Fisherman’s Wharf. Upon reaching the Pier you will encounter the famous San Francisco Sea Lions on your right. When you head to the Pacific ocean your eyes feast on natures play. The cruise will take you around first of Fisherman’s Wharf, Aquatic Park, then Fort Mason as well as the Marina District, Pacific Heights, Crissy Fields and finally the Presidio.
Take your cameras out while cruising your way under the Golden Gate Bridge live this unforgettable moment. Furthermore, treat your eyes to the pleasant views of Beach, Seacliff and Marin County. Complete the prison tour and head back to the Alcatraz Island following the charm of Bay Bridge, San Francisco Downtown, and of course the San Francisco Hills. This cruise will give you the entire history of the historic San Francisco Bay. The Alcatraz tickets for this tour range from $29 to $24 (adults to kids).
Escape from the Rock San Francisco Bay
This hour and a half bay cruise and sail under the Golden Gate Bridge and view the Island from all of its beautiful angels. Hear the harsh and chilling accounts of the horrifying escapes of the prisoners and atmosphere as jailers. This is one of the darkest encounters you will come across. However, after the brutal visuals of the prisons, you would soon liberate your souls to the next destination.
Fun fact: For every ticket, you purchase for your child between the age of 5-12, they will receive complimentary 5x blue-gold coloured binoculars to enhance the experience. This will make for a great cruise for your whole family. The tour would cost an adult $34 and a child $27. It starts at Pier 39 and does not include food or drink.
Blue and Gold Ferry
This is a one hour cruise for the tourists who wish to make a trip to the Alcatraz Island during the day. This cruise is like the others as it takes you all around the Island and also features an audio recorded narration of your surroundings. Moreover, you sail past the Sea Lions under the Golden Bridge starting from Pier 39. Your eyes would be pleased to meet the visuals of the bridges, the skyline and the beautiful open sky. This cruise would cost you $29, nevertheless, the hack to a $4 off is an online booking.
Catamaran Bay Cruise
The cruise is a fun sail over the calming waves of the sea that takes the same routes as the above-mentioned cruises. The trip would take you around the Island across the bay and under the firm bridge, The ride will make you feel great and the vibes are absolutely surreal. Furthermore, you can buy some mouthwatering food and savour a few tasty drinks on this cruise of the Alcatraz tours. Imagine you surrounded by the blissful sight of the sea, the bridge above feeling the gentle breeze against your face holding a glass of quality wine. Doesn’t this sound great? This trip would cost you $49 and your journey would last 90 well spent minutes.