Mare Island Travel Guide

  • U.S.S. Iowa
    U.S.S. Iowa
    by SteveOSF
  • Museum Entrance
    Museum Entrance
    by SteveOSF
  • Model of Mare Island Navy Base
    Model of Mare Island Navy Base
    by SteveOSF

Mare Island Things to Do

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    by SteveOSF Written Oct 8, 2008

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    The Mare Island Naval Museum is located in a historic building that was constructed in 1855. The museum contains artifacts, models, photographs, equipment, and historic detail of the Mare Island Navy Base, the ships that docked there, and the men who served there. This base was once an integral component of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

    The museum is free. However it has limited hours. It is open from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on weekdays. It is open on the 1st and 3rd weekends of the month from 10:00 to 4:00 p.m. Adequate free parking is available.

    The museum also offers tours of Mare Island by arrangement for $14 per person. Call (707) 644-4746 for tour reservations.

    Museum Entrance Viet Nam War Era Navy River Patrol Boat Model of Mare Island Navy Base Viet Nam War Era Navy River Patrol Boat
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Mare Island Favorites

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    by SteveOSF Updated Oct 8, 2008

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    Favorite thing: Mare Island is the proposed home for the battleship U.S.S. Iowa. The ship is destined to become a floating museum. The Iowa is a battleship that was commissioned during World War II. It served in both the Atlantic and Pacific. It also saw service during the Korean War. Reactivated in the 1980s, it was the site of an accidental explosion that killed 47 crewmembers.

    The Iowa is currently part of the Mothball Fleet in nearby Benicia. Tours of the Mothball Fleet are available by the organization that is sponsoring the museum project. Mare Island is a great choice of a location for the Iowa when it is converted into a museum. Existing dock facilities combined with Mare Island’s naval heritage make for an excellent match that should well serve both future visitors and the City of Vallejo.

    The 3rd picture is of an original whaleboat from the U.S.S. Iowa. This boat was used to transport sailors to and from the ship. The organization sponsoring the battleship’s museum project found the boat at an action several years ago. The boat had been left outdoors for nearly a decade and was in extremely poor condition. The organization has spent hours restoring the boat. They have done an excellent job on the woodwork, but still have work remaining on the diesel engine and steering system. Their plan is to have the boat seaworthy by the time the Iowa is moved to Mare Island. They plan to pilot the boat as needed in the nearby waters.

    Additional information of the proposed museum is available at www.battleshipiowa.org.

    U.S.S. Iowa Proposed Site of the U.S.S. Iowa Original Whaleboat from U.S.S. Iowa
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    by SteveOSF Updated Oct 8, 2008

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    Favorite thing: Wandering through portions of Mare Island on a weekend, and you might believe you have stumbled into an industrial ghost town or a set of a “Mad Max” movie. An abundance of abandoned buildings fill the island. Many of which have historic significance. Support structures like large cranes lurk overhead, while empty dry docks await ships that may never again arrive.

    But look around and you will find you are not alone. This old navy base is experiencing change. Businesses rent some of the old buildings, but activity still seems limited on weekends.

    Some of the old officers quarters are architecturally interesting. However, you may also notice new construction and signage to open houses. Portions of Mare Island have already been converted to new housing. Developers are scrambling to sell these new homes and to finish projects in progress. Near the new neighborhoods, residents can be seen enjoying strolls.

    Mare Island does contain a golf course. It may seem a little out of place. Nevertheless, it does provide for a recreational opportunity.

    Mare Island is experiencing its base conversion similar to other places throughout the country (including Hunters Point and Treasure Island in San Francisco). Issues like land use and hazardous material disposal are common among base conversions. Politicians, the local community, the Navy, and other special interests jockey to help shape the future uses. Many possibilities exist for new opportunities in this seemingly forgotten place. Mare Island is a land in transition.

    Buildings at Mare Island Crane Officer���s Mansion Quanson Hut Mare Island Building
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