Thinking of summer? Ever wondered about spending the night on Angel Island? Here's how you do it:
1) Book your camping spot early. Like, 6 months in advance early. The different camp sites all over the island are all very different - some are exposed, some more protected, and of varying sizes. We stayed on the East Bay side, in a site up against a meadow with a view of the bay spreading out in front of us. It was a bit windy, but with an amazing view!
2) Find a ferry. You can take the ferry from the Ferry Building in downtown San Francisco, or from the port in Tiburon. You can leave your car overnight in Tiburon for about $25, or take the BART right to the ferry building in San Francisco. We had our bikes with us on the trip, as well as our usual backpacking gear, so driving was easier. There is limited space on the ferries and the ferries only run every few hours, so get there early and check the schedule!
3) Once you get to the island, be ready to party. The beach and marina on Angel Island is filled with people barbecuing, playing frisbee, and drinking openly. It kind of reminded me of a Saturday afternoon Fraturday...
4) After we snacked a bit, we biked our way over to the east side of the island. It was kind of a struggle biking with a full camping backpack, but it would have been more work to walk the few miles there.
We made camp and set out to explore. Angel Island is filled with interesting historical spots as the island has had different uses over the years. Mostly though, the abandoned buildings were former military houses. The island was also used for Japanese internment during WWII, and there is a museum to explore. The best part about camping on the island is that you don't have to worry about catching the last ferry home - you can spend the long summer night exploring and biking around the entire island, taking in the views of San Francisco Bay at every turn!
The accommodations are pretty rustic at the campsites - a tap, an outhouse, a grill, and a picnic bench - but they get the job done, especially for one night. We had delicious sausages, grilled veggies, and smores before huddling in our tents for the night to wait out the howling winds and hope we didn't blow away!