Visit “The Rock”
Alcatraz is a must-see for any traveler visiting San Francisco.
The Alcatraz Island tour starts with a scenic 10-minute ferry ride from San Francisco’s Embarcadero. Taking the ferry to Alcatraz will afford you amazing views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Angel Island, Alcatraz Island, and the San Francisco city skyline from the north. When you land on the island, you’ll get a short history of Alcatraz, and then head up into the prison! You’ll be equipped with an audio tour titled “Doing Time: The Alcatraz Cellhouse Tour”, which features interviews and stories of prisoners and correctional officers who either worked on or were incarcerated in the United States Penitentiary-Alcatraz.
An orientation video, ranger-led tours and docent tours are also available.When you’re through at The Rock, you simply catch a ferry back to land: they run every 30-40 minutes!
You may choose to skip the crowds and travel a little later, taking the Alcatraz Night Tour. This includes all of the same highlights as the day tour, but it’s usually less crowded, and the sunset view of the bay is amazing.
Named for the birds that roost on the island, Alcatraz was first called “La Isla de los Alcatreces,” or “The Island of the Pelicans,” and was later shortened to “Alcatraz.” Being just 1.5 miles off the coast of San Francisco, it became a military asset in the early 1850s at the end of the Mexican-American war, when California became a part of the United States.
Although it also functioned as a military arsenal and holding place for military prisoners during the American Civil War, Alcatraz is most famous for its time as a Federal Prison from 1934-1963, when it housed famous prisoners such as Al Capone and George “Machine Gun” Kelly. While there are many urban legends about escapes from Alcatraz, it is believed that no inmate ever successfully escaped from “The Rock”.
After closing as a federal prison in 1963, the island of Alcatraz was occupied by Native American activists, the major occupation taking place from 1969 to 1971. The Native Americans were protesting federal policies that denied land rights to native tribes. The occupation continued until President Nixon rescinded the previous policies that denied federal recognition of the tribes. To this day, there are many cultural exhibits on the island recognizing the native people that occupied the island.
In 1968, Alcatraz was declared a National Historic Landmark, and became a national recreation area under the protection and management of the National Parks System in 1972. More than one million people visit Alcatraz Island annually to learn about its rich history.
Book your Alcatraz tour tickets today to see The Rock for yourself!
A Memorable Experience in Wine Country and Alcatraz
“The whole experience was more than I would have expected. Mitch your guide for our NAPA/Sonoma day trip was very knowledgeable and made our day very enjoyable. Our trip to Alcatraz was amazing and the ease of picking up our tickets and getting to Alcatraz made it that much enjoyable. I would definitely recommend this tour to all my friends. Thank you for making this a memorable experience.”
– Robert T
Traveled March 2016
Napa and Sonoma Wine Country Tour with Alcatraz
Perfect Combo of Nature and Culture
“This was an excellent full day tour. Just the right combination of nature and culture. The bus was first rate and very comfortable. What really made the trip was the excellent driver/tour guide. Sarah was absolutely excellent!”
Traveled August 2017
Muir Woods and Sonoma Wine Tour
Wonderful and Educational Tour
“It was a wonderful trip in the second week of August. The guide did a wonderful job of giving us the history of the park. We enjoyed the nature’s beauty, and I will surely return back and spend more time in the park. The Alcatraz reminded of how life was when I saw Clint Eastwood’s movie Escape from Alcatraz. The audio tour was very descriptive and thorough with the entire island’s history.”
Traveled August 2017
Alcatraz and Yosemite Day Tour