Frequently asked questions, and our answers!

Can I bring my dog?

Dogs are NOT allowed on the island, service animals excepted. This does not include the use of emotional support animals which are not covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Can I BBQ?

Use of charcoal or camp stoves are permitted in campsites as well as designated picnic areas, no wood fires allowed.

Can I buy food on Angel Island?

Food service and live music are available seasonally from the Angel Island Cafe. Please contact the cafe to determine availability

Credit cards are accepted by the Cafe and Cantina with a $15 minimum purchase.

ATM Machine is available inside the Cafe.

For more information call:
(415)435-3392 or

visit the Angel Island Company.

Can I swim to the island?

Swimming to the island is not encouraged due to strong currents found in Racoon Strait, the waterway between Tiburon and Angel Island. Tiburon is one (1) mile from the island and the closest mainland point.

Can I camp there?

The park’s four environmental camping areas have water and pit toilets nearby.

EAST BAY SITES are generally protected from wind.

The more exposed RIDGE SITES offer views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco.

SUNRISE SITES can be reserved individually or combined as a group camp for up to 24 people.

The KAYAK SITE on the west side— near a small beach — also accommodates groups up to 20. Kayak campers must secure their boats from high tidewaters.

For all sites, campers must carry their equipment up to two miles and bring camp stoves or charcoal, as no wood fires are allowed on the island.

To make reservations, visit the California State Park website at www.parks.ca.gov/camping

Due to the limited number of campsites available on Angel Island, please plan well ahead, reservations can be made up to six (6) months in advance.

You can also find more information about camping under the "To Do" section.

Can I rent a bike (or Segway or other equipment)?

Bicycles are allowed on Angel Island. All riders under 18 years of age are required to wear helmets. Segways may be rented as part of a tour. Personal Segways are not permitted. Bike rentals and Segway rentals are available seasonally from the Angel Island Café.

**Roller skates, roller blades, skateboards, and scooters are prohibited.

How do I get my car there?

You don't get your car here...
The island is accessible via private boat, or by ferry only. Ferry schedules and ticket prices can be found online. From San Francisco at Pier 41-
Blue & Gold Fleet or

Tiburon – Angel Island-Tiburon Ferry Company

What is the weather like?

If you are looking at local weather forecasts to determine what to wear, you may discover that nothing quite predicts what you will find on the island. Like the rest of the Bay Area, Angel Island is a study in micro-climates. It can be warm and sunny on the north side and foggy and cold on the south. For that reason, we strongly suggest dressing in layers to be ready for both chilly and warm weather.

When is there live music?

Food service and live music are available seasonally from the Angel Island Cafe. More information, reservations and prices can be found online at: Angel Island Company.

Can I take a tour?

Tram tours are seasonal and offered by the Angel Island Company.

There are several options managed by park staff as well. Check out "To Do + See" for more detail.

Can I tour the US Immigration Station?

Yes, but the Museum at the U.S. Immigration Station is CLOSED on MONDAYS and TUESDAYS.

For more information visit the State Park website.

How did the island get its name?

Juan Manuel de Ayala, the Spanish Naval Lieutenant who first sailed into our cove in 1775, named it “Isla de los Angeles” (Angel Island) after the Catholic feast day of Our Lady of the Angels, which coincided with his arrival.

What happens if you miss the ferry?

a. Don’t!
b. You will take any ferry that comes, even if it is not going where you want to go, if you have missed all the ferries you may have to hitchhike with a boater and as a last resort be taken off to Tiburon in the State Park boat if a coast guard certified operator is available. If none of these are an option you can call for an expensive water taxi.

What happened to the deer?

The island is home to a herd of about 150 deer. They tend to be shy when there are many visitors on the island. In 1982, when the island’s severely overpopulated deer herd was threatened with starvation, many deer were trapped and transported to Mendocino County; unfortunately very few survived in their new environment. Attempts to control the deer population through contraceptive techniques also failed.

Currently, rangers will cull whenever it is required in order to maintain a healthy herd. The deer also die of age and disease so culling has not been necessary for many years.

What kinds of trees grow here?

Native: coast live oak, bay laurel, madrone and toyon. Trees that were brought here (referred to as exotics or nonnative) include eucalyptus, cypress, Monterey pines, red alder, acacia, cottonwood, plum, almond and an occasional Douglas Fir and redwood can also be found. Bunyabunya and Norfolk Island pines, also exotics, can be found at the Immigration Station.

What kinds of plants and wildflowers grow here?

Wildflowers abound (native and non-native), especially in spring. These include frittelaria, wild violet, brodea (blue dix), blue-eyed grass, morning glories, sticky monkey flower, Pride of Madeira, hounds tongue, forget-me-nots, Dutchman’s pipe, calla lily, Fremont star lily, California poppy, red hot pokers, French and Scotch broom, Douglass iris, and ceanothus (California lilac). There is also lots of poison oak on the island.

Where is a good place to go for a short walk?

Camp Reynolds, the former Civil War post, is an easy, 25-minute, walk. It overlooks Sausalito and the Golden Gate Bridge. The U.S. Immigration Station (USIS) is about a 30-minute moderate walk to the north side of the island. The USIS is available for self-guided tours daily during high season, Camp Reynolds is open when volunteers are available, cannon firings on weekends during high season.

Are any areas off limits?

Yes, the NIKE missile site, the Coast Guard Station at Pt. Blunt, and any boarded up buildings on the island; some are located at Ft. McDowell, Camp Reynolds and the Immigration Station. Employee residences are also off limits to the public. Visitors must stay on established trails and roads.

How did Raccoon Straits get its name?

No, it was NOT named after our local masked bandits! The name was taken from a British warship, the H.M.S. Racoon, (yes, it was originally spelled with only 1 “c”) which was disabled and brought here for repairs. The straits are the second deepest part of the Bay at about 200 feet. The deepest is at the mouth of the gate where it is 300 feet deep.

Where are the restrooms?

There are restrooms with flush toilets and sinks in Ayala Cove by the ferry dock and in the main picnic area. Other facilities can be found near Camp Reynolds, at the Immigration Station and Ft. McDowell. There are also pit toilets at all campsites. There are no restrooms or water available on the fire road or the foot trails to Mt. Livermore.

Were Japanese Americans interned on Angel Island during World War II?

The barracks at the former US Immigration Station were not used as an internment camp, but some internees did pass through Angel Island on their way from Hawaii to internment camps on the mainland. The barracks building was primarily used for Japanese and German POW’s who were held at the former U.S. Immigration Station at North Garrison.

How is the island recovering from the fire?

On October 12, 2008 at about 8pm, a fire broke out on the east side of the island just above the fire road. The fire spread to the south and west, ultimately burning 303 acres of the 740 acre island. A light rain a few weeks after the fire allowed grass to start to grow in many areas. State Park Ecologists determined that the fire behaved, in many ways, like a prescribed burn and was overall a healthy fire for the habitat. Wildflowers in spring 2009 were easily visible due to less underbrush. Deer preferentially graze in the burn areas once new growth sprouts. One raccoon and one mole and a few deer were reported killed in the fire. There were no injuries to any people, 29 campers were evacuated from the island. There were two historical structures damaged in the fire, the roof of a water tank that was no longer in use was destroyed and there was a little damage to the 1930s rock crusher that can be seen along the Perimeter Road on the south side of the island. The firefighters did an excellent job of protecting the historic structures and infrastructure of the park. The fire was determined to be human caused (not lightning or downed power line), but no specific cause has been identified to date.

Where is a good place to see wildflowers?

Flowers are blooming almost year round on Angel Island, if we get a break from the winter rain wildflowers can bloom as early as January and February and continue blooming through the summer. One of the great early bloomer spots to check out is right by the café where the trams park, you’ll see Shooting Stars, Hound’s Tongue, Mission Bells and later in the season Milk Maids. Forget-me-nots are not native to Angel Island, but in early spring put on quite a show behind the Visitor Center, along the road to the Sunset Trail and on the lower (shady) portions of the trail itself.

Where is a good place to see the view?

Mt. Livermore is the ultimate view, 360 degrees of the bay area. If you are not up to walking to the top, the Battery Ledyard overlook is a close second.

Can I plan an event on the island?


Involve the sale of alcoholic beverages

Require liability insurance

Involve filming for commercial purposes

Charge participants fees beyond regular use fees

Involve the sales of items or services

Have special conditions or requirements

Are for weddings and wedding receptions

Include docking charter boats

For information or permits, please contact a State Park Ranger at (415) 435-5390.

Our Community. Our Island. Our Legacy.

Angel Island Conservancy // PO Box 866 / Tiburon / CA 94920 // 415.435.3972// info@angelisland.org // FACEBOOK // FLICKR // INSTAGRAM