Alcatraz Island, San Francisco

#1 of 3,744 in Nature in United States
Tour the infamous former maximum-security penitentiary on Alcatraz Island. Nicknamed The Rock, this small island in the San Francisco Bay is now a national park. After taking a ferry to the island, follow the audio guide, available in ten languages. You'll go through the inside of the old prison's facilities, which include a lighthouse, military fortifications, and cellblocks. Though long considered escape-proof, the prison suffered an irreparable blow to its reputation in 1962, when three inmates mysteriously disappeared using a makeshift raft. Explore the protected recreation area with a park ranger, who can enhance your visit with little-known information about the island's current inhabitants: the black-crested night herons and western gulls. Using our custom trip planner, San Francisco attractions like Alcatraz Island can form part of a personalized travel itinerary.
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Alcatraz Island Reviews
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45,236 reviews
  • My wife and I we were very impressed with the location ... it doesn't get neutral in there ... is impressive. Despite having been a prison ... is a National Park--is a tour that should be done.
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  • Visiting Alcatraz is a great part of visiting San Francisco. The ride out to the island from the Fisherman's wharf area is fun quick ride with great views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Bay Bridge, the...  more »
  • We had a great experience on our Alcatraz trip. The Pier CREW in San Francisco was awesome. The audio tour was much improved from my last visit 20 yeas ago and it seemed like the displays were better ...  more »
  • Well run establishment with an expertly made audio tour that was informative and enjoyable. Be sure to check with the staff regarding the days events before you set off exploring as some sections are closed until they are opened by park authorities. No food or drink (except water) is sold or to be consumed on the prison premises except the landing area. There are also many volunteers who maintain the garden grounds who also have some knowledge about the history. If you are lucky, an ex inmate of Alcatraz can be found in the gift shop signing books and taking questions. Excellent resource while he is still here.
  • Lived in the Bay Area as a kid and now with my own kids, for 5 years. Finally made it to Alcatraz and was [extremely] pleasantly surprised by the tour of the prison. An audio tour with a personal device could have been terrible but they did a fantastic job with it. Our group contained our kids, 8 and 10, my wife and I (40's) and the grandparents. Every one of us absolutely loved the tour. It was engaging, well-paced, and fascinating. I definitely recommend the tour to anyway.
  • What a blast! Our journey was made muuuuch more enjoyable by the super helpful, polite and knowledgeable staff... From the dock to the island, at every place we stopped on the island, to the ride back. We just kept commenting on how polite everyone was! It is SUPER important to plan your trip well in advance! We almost did not get to visit... And, man, would we have missed out! There's no food and virtually no drink options on the island. We did have a bottle of water with us, and that was OK to bring (we didn't get talked to about it) and it was markedly colder on Alcatraz than the rest of SF. Bring a jacket. Do NOT forget to ask about stamps on your postcards. Also, make sure to check out the plants and flowers. They're really gorgeous!
  • What a neat place to visit. I only wish I could go back during different times of the day and pick the brains of all the guides. The prison is fascinating and the walking audio tour is top notch. The stories from the famous prison quarters are worth the trip alone but you quickly find there is more to the island than just a prison camp. There is a ton of history to discover. A TON.
  • We did the night tour. This was the perfect way to see more of the city on a short fall day. We headed out around sunset on the scenic boat ride. The audio tour is amazing!! We loved the view of the city at night. My only complaint was that the gift shop was already closed!

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