Day Trips, San Francisco

51 Reviews

  • Alcatraz - Native American Indian Occupation.
    Alcatraz - Native American Indian...
    by IreneMcKay
  • Inside a prison cell.
    Inside a prison cell.
    by IreneMcKay
  • Alcatraz - views towards the city.
    Alcatraz - views towards the city.
    by IreneMcKay

Know about this? Rate It!

hide
  • IreneMcKay's Profile Photo

    Alcatraz Parade Ground, Agave Trail, Guard Tower.

    by IreneMcKay Updated Feb 27, 2016

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    We were lucky as the parade ground and Agave trail were open when we visited. These are closed at certain times of the year presumably as they can be dangerous in high seas. A lot of the piles of rubble covering the parade ground are probably the result of the pounding sea.

    I'll include here a few remaining photos of our trip including views of the parade ground, the Agave Trail and a good shot of the guard tower I did not fit in anywhere else.

    The guard House. The guard House. On the Agave Trail. From the parade ground. Looking down on the parade ground.
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Photography

    Was this review helpful?

    Add to your Trip Planner
  • IreneMcKay's Profile Photo

    Alcatraz - Native American Indian Occupation.

    by IreneMcKay Written Feb 20, 2016

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    On November 20th, 1969, eighty-nine Native American Indians sailed from Sausalito on a five-mile trip across San Francisco Bay to Alcatraz Island. When they landed, they declared the former prison Indian land “by right of discovery".

    Their aim was to gain funding from the U.S. government to turn it into a Native American cultural center and university. They occupied Alcatraz for more than 19 months before being finally removed in June 1971. Their demands were not met, but their actions gained a lot of publicity for the Native American cause.

    Wandering around the island you will see some reminders of their occupation. You can also learn about it in the museums in building 64.

    Alcatraz - Native American Indian Occupation. Alcatraz - Native American Indian Occupation. Alcatraz - Native American Indian Occupation.
    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

    Add to your Trip Planner
  • IreneMcKay's Profile Photo

    Alcatraz - the views.

    by IreneMcKay Written Feb 20, 2016

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Alcatraz is a good place for views. You can enjoy looking back towards the skyline of San Francisco or towards the Golden Gate Bridge or the Bay Bridge.

    The best views of the island fortress that is Alcatraz are from the parade ground when you look at the prison and the lighthouse clinging to the edges of the rock up above you.

    Alcatraz - views towards the city. Alcatraz - views towards the rock. Alcatraz - views towards the rock. Alcatraz - views towards the city. Alcatraz - views towards the city.

    Was this review helpful?

    Add to your Trip Planner
  • IreneMcKay's Profile Photo

    Alcatraz - the flowers.

    by IreneMcKay Written Feb 20, 2016

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Despite its rather gruesome history, Alcatraz is a surprisingly beautiful place with wonderful flower filled gardens and lots of sea-birds. When we finished the prison tour, we took a stroll around.

    On the introductory film we listened to in building 64 when we arrived, a woman who was the daughter of a former prison officer ,recalled her idyllic childhood growing up on Alcatraz and playing on the parade ground almost unaware of the dangerous prison inmates living nearby.

    Alcatraz  - the flowers. Alcatraz  - the flowers. Alcatraz  - the flowers. Alcatraz  - the flowers. Alcatraz  - the flowers.
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Photography

    Was this review helpful?

    Add to your Trip Planner
  • IreneMcKay's Profile Photo

    Alcatraz - the federal prison.

    by IreneMcKay Updated Feb 20, 2016

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Alcatraz is most famous for being the site of a federal prison from which escape was almost impossible.

    The price of your ticket to Alcatraz includes a 45 minute audio tour of the prison buildings. On the tour you will visit the main cell block, the library, the kitchens, the dining room, the prison officers' rooms.

    You will learn about the escape attempts from this island and the prison's most notorious inmates.

    The most notorious criminals ever to be imprisoned on Alcatraz include: gangster Al Capone, Robert Franklin Stroud - also known as the Birdman of Alcatraz, gangster Machine Gun Kelly, and gangster Alvin Creepy Karpis - who served more time at Alcatraz than any other inmate.

    In its twenty-nine years as a prison a grand total of thirty-six prisoners made fourteen escape attempts. Two inmates even tried twice. Of those who tried to escape twenty-three were caught alive, six were shot and killed, two drowned, and five are missing, presumed drowned.

    The most violent escape attempt occurred from May 2nd to May 4th, 1946 when a failed escape attempt by six prisoners resulted in the Battle of Alcatraz. Two guards and three inmates were killed in this battle. Eleven guards and one uninvolved convict were injured. Two of the would be escapees were later executed for their roles in the battle.

    On June 11th 1962, Frank Morris, John Anglin, and Clarence Anglin carried out an escape attempt. They tucked papier-mâché heads into their beds, broke out of the main prison building through an unused utility corridor, and sailed away an improvised raft. If they survived, their escape attempt was the only successful one ever, but their fate remains unknown.

    Inside a prison cell. Notorious inmates. The kitchens. The dining-hall. The former library.
    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

    Add to your Trip Planner
  • IreneMcKay's Profile Photo

    Alcatraz Island.

    by IreneMcKay Written Feb 20, 2016

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Alcatraz was originally named "La Isla de los Alcatraces," or "The Island of the Pelicans," by Spaniard Juan Manuel de Ayala in 1775. It is located in San Francisco Bay - 1.5 miles offshore from the city of San Francisco.

    Alcatraz was home to the first lighthouse built on the American west coast and to an early U.S. built fort. It was used as a military prison from 1868 and as a federal prison from 1933 until 1963. In November 1969, the island was occupied for more than 19 months by a group of North American Indians from San Francisco who wanted more rights for Aboriginal people. Alcatraz became a National Historic Landmark in 1986.

    In the recreation yard. Ruins of the warden's house. Looking up at the lighthouse. Over the roof of the new industries building. Looking up at the rock from the parade ground.
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Photography

    Was this review helpful?

    Add to your Trip Planner
  • IreneMcKay's Profile Photo

    Alcatraz Island - Getting there.

    by IreneMcKay Written Feb 20, 2016

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I know it's not really off the beaten path, but I'm putting it here as my things to do section is getting too long.

    We pre-booked out trip to Alcatraz, as all the advice told us to do so and I think it was probably right. We were there in February - not peak season - and it was still a very popular and busy trip.

    Boats leave from Pier 33. You are advised to be there at least thirty minutes before departure. Again this is good advice as you will arrive to find a long queue.

    You can choose to visit by day or at night. We opted for the day time tour. I'd imagine the island is quite atmospheric and creepy at night.

    You can sit in or out on the boat. Inside there is a cafe selling soft drinks and snacks. It sells alcohol on the return journey.

    We sat outside to get views over San Francisco and views as we arrived at the island. The trip only takes 15 minutes. You book a set time for going and can take any boat back.

    Alcatraz Island - Getting there. Alcatraz Island - Getting there. Alcatraz Island - Getting there. Alcatraz Island - Getting there. Alcatraz Island - Getting there.
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Photography
    • Cruise

    Was this review helpful?

    Add to your Trip Planner
  • Tom_Fields's Profile Photo

    Mission San Rafael

    by Tom_Fields Updated Apr 4, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    One of the northern missions, this was originally part of Mission Dolores in San Francisco. Founded in 1817 as a sanitarium for Indians afflicted with European diseases, it was named for the patron saint of healing. This is still an active church and school. The phone number is that of the gift shop.

    Father Junipero Serra founded this and most of the other missions in California.

    Phone: 1-800-39-ANGEL

    Mission San Rafael The mission school Father Junipero Serra
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Religious Travel

    Was this review helpful?

    Add to your Trip Planner
  • Tom_Fields's Profile Photo

    Marin Headlands State Park

    by Tom_Fields Updated Apr 4, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This often overlooked park is directly across the bay from San Francisco, just west of the Golden Gate. It offers stunning views of the city, as well as some great hiking. The lighthouse at Bonita Point is also worth a visit; guided tours are given daily.

    For many years, coastal defense gun batteries guarded San Francisco bay. Later, Nike-Hercules surface-to-air missile (SAM) batteries were installed here. The weapons are all gone now, but the emplacements, barracks, and other historic Army buildings are still here, along with historical markers. The Headlands are also home to a variety of wildlife, and a stop-over for many species of migratory birds.

    Marin Headlands State Park The Bonita Point Lighthouse An old artillery position The scenic coastline A migratory sea bird
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • National/State Park
    • Hiking and Walking

    Was this review helpful?

    Add to your Trip Planner
  • canbalci's Profile Photo

    Go for a hike in Marin Headlands

    by canbalci Updated Apr 4, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Marin Headlands are about half an hour north of the city across the Golden Gate Bridge. It's a great place to go for a hike or a bike ride. You can get some of the most amazing views of the city and the Pacific from the Marin. Make sure to check the weather forecast though, you don't want to waste your time on a foggy day!

    More information, maps and directions can be found at the website below.

    Hiking with friends in Marin
    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking

    Was this review helpful?

    Add to your Trip Planner
  • Have an Outdoor Adventure with the Family!

    by BayAreaNative Written Feb 24, 2011

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    For those of us who are used to the ocean, the idea of traveling for access to water seems a silly idea. That was my thought when a family friend booked a day trip to the Central Valley to go rafting anyways. What I learned is that rivers are way different than oceans (duh!) and that rafting was a great way to get our whole family into the whole outdoor recreation thing.

    Our trip started in Knights Ferry, CA, a small town that included ruins of old mills, an old ice cream shop, and other small historical monuments. After checking in, we got our paddles and life jackets, and got a safety talk from a young man about possible dangers on the river. While this talk freaked some of us out, it proved to be strictly cautionary, as the trip itself was very mellow.

    The trip itself was self guided, and lasted about 4 hours. Sunshine Rafting told us to bring our own ice chest with food and drink, and we were glad we did. Halfway through the trip was a beautiful park that we had a picnic at (they had picnic tables and BBQ pits). Throughout the idea we swam, splashed around, talked with other rafters, and generally just enjoyed having access to a steady stream of sunshine as well as the cool water.

    At the end of the trip the company shuttled us back to our cars and we explored Knights Ferry a bit more. All in all I felt tired but accomplished, and it was great to get the kids out and active in a way that they enjoyed. I would recommend this as a family trip for sure, as it provides an outlet to connect with your family in a semi-enclosed space while still being outside! Also it was only about $20 per person, which was reasonable for a full day activity.

    Phone: 209-848-4800

    Website: http://RaftAdventure.com

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Family Travel
    • Rafting

    Was this review helpful?

    Add to your Trip Planner
  • Jefie's Profile Photo

    A visit to the Winchester Mystery House

    by Jefie Updated Oct 11, 2009

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    When I was about 12 or 13 years old, I read an article about the Winchester Mystery House and I always thought it would be really neat to visit this rather eccentric mansion. My trip to San Francisco being my first time out in California, I did a bit of research online to see if it was possible to book a trip from SF to San Jose to visit the Winchester Mystery House and when I found out that Super Sightseeing Tours could take us there, I immediately decided to book it (http://www.supersightseeing.com).

    The shuttle picked us up at our hotel - they showed up 40 minutes late, so I was glad the lady at our hotel's tourist info desk could call them to make sure they were coming. We left San Francisco at 2:30 pm and made our way down to San Jose aboard a not-so-comfy shuttle bus, but at least the scenery was very nice. Once we got to the Winchester Mystery House, we were given some time to visit the firearms museum, which features a large collection of Winchester rifles, "The Gun that Won the West". Our guide Dzimitry then took us on an amazing 1h tour of Sarah Winchester's fantastic mansion. The tour goes through 110 of the house's 160 rooms, which are filled with weird architectural details. Sarah Winchester, the widow of William Winchester and heiress to the rifle maker's fortune, believed her family was being haunted by the spirits of men and women killed by the famous rifles. In order to appease the spirits, a medium recommended she built a house for them - construction began in 1884, and for the next 38 years (until Sarah Winchester died at the age of 83) carpenters worked on the house 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Mrs. Winchester would hold "seances" at night and give instructions to the crew the following day, many of which were down right bizarre: staircases leading to the ceiling, windows and doors opening up on a wall, chimneys that stop a few feet short of the ceiling... it all makes for a very entertaining tour!

    Once we were done touring around the house, we were invited to do the garden tour on our own, and we also had a bit of time to visit the giftshop before it was time to head back to San Francisco (we got back at around 6:30 pm). I thought the price ($60) was fairly reasonable, especially considering that it costs $26 just to visit the house. For me, visiting the Winchester Mystery House was a bit of a dream come true and it definitely lived up to my expectations!

    Phone: 408-247-2101

    Website: http://www.winchestermysteryhouse.com

    Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, CA Inside one of the mansion's 160 rooms Window with an incredible view of the wall! Mrs. Winchester loved spiderwebs, go figure! In the mansion's beautiful gardens
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

    Add to your Trip Planner
  • virtualvagabond's Profile Photo

    Great Waterfalls just 90 Minutes Away

    by virtualvagabond Updated Aug 28, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Uvas Canyon County Park is a fantastic getaway just 90 minutes south of The City. It’s great for camping any time of the year, but really shines in the spring when the park’s many waterfalls are at their fullest and the forest is covered in a lush carpet of moss and ferns.

    Another nice thing about the place is the last 30 minutes of the drive to get there. After you get past San Jose (make sure to take 280 – not 101), the route goes along some beautiful roads through mercifully undeveloped ranch land and then through stands of redwoods before culminating in a single lane road to the park entrance.

    Phone: (408) 779-9232

    Website: http://westofthebay.wordpress.com/2009/08/02/uvas-canyon/

    Chilling at the campground
    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park
    • Camping

    Was this review helpful?

    Add to your Trip Planner
  • krissyM's Profile Photo

    Point Reyes National Park

    by krissyM Written Jun 29, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    POint Reyes National Park is a great daytrip from SF. There are a number of different activities to particiapte in including horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking, birdwatching and when in-season: whale watching. There are also a number of historical sites in the park including an old lighthouse.

    The Point Reyes Lighthouse, built in 1870, was operational until 1975 when the U.S. Coast Guard installed an automated light.

    Point Reyes is the windiest place on the Pacific Coast and the second foggiest place on the North American continent so make sure you bring a jacket as the fog can roll in unexpectedly.

    Website: http://www.nps.gov/pore/

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Beaches

    Was this review helpful?

    Add to your Trip Planner
  • Muir Woods National Monument

    by MartinLC Written Jun 2, 2008

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Just 30 minutes north of the city is Muir Woods. Named for John Muir, the founder of the Sierra Club, the Woods are one of the few remaining groves of coastal redwoods. Coastal redwoods are taller than sequoias but not as large around. Walking through the woods is an awe-inspiring experience. There are a number of different trails within the park (which is a US National Park) and you can select your hike based on your ability and time available. The easiest trail is paved so even those with limited mobility can get into see these magnificent trees. If you're able to take the time and go off on one of the less crowded trails, you will be rewarded with great scenery.

    The Park Service charges $5 for those 16 and above; free from those 15 and below. There is no picnicing in the park. The greatest challenge may be finding parking. The two parking lots are of limited size so you're well advised to try and arrive before noon. Obviously, week days are less crowded.

    Website: http://www.nps.gov/muwo/

    Towering coastal redwoods in the Muir Woods A view toward the pacific from the Muir Woods Sunlight streaming thru a grove of redwoods
    Related to:
    • Backpacking
    • National/State Park
    • Hiking and Walking

    Was this review helpful?

    Add to your Trip Planner

Instant Answers: San Francisco

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

13 travelers online now

Comments