San Francisco’s Alcatraz Island offers an up-close look at the the site of the first U.S.-built fort on the West Coast. It’s also home to the infamous federal penitentiary that was off-limit to the public for years. Cruises to the island leave from San Francisco’s Pier 33, and the best way to arrive on time for your cruise is to rent a charter bus in San Francisco.
The history of San Francisco’s Alcatraz Island is truly fascinating. The island, affectionately known as “The Rock” has been a Civil War fortress, a bird sanctuary, an infamous federal prison, home to the first lighthouse on the West Coast, and the birthplace of the Native American Red Power movement. For its significance to our nation’s history, the island is now a National Historic Landmark. During your visit you can learn about some of the ongoing historical preservation projects taking place on the island.
Alcatraz Island offers visitors a variety of experiences. You can learn about the nesting, mating, and behaviors of colonial nesting seabirds, birds whose ancestors have been visiting the island long before humans first discovered it. Visitors can embark on a guided audio tour of the Alcatraz Cellhouse and listen to some of the fascinating stories from the island’s penitentiary era. Or, you can study the role that the fort at Alcatraz Island played in the Civil War and learn how troops first came to be stationed on the island in 1859.
Why charter a bus to visit Alcatraz Island
Getting to Alcatraz Island is no easy task. Ferries to the island leave from Pier 33, which is located on the Embarcadero near the intersection of Bay Street. There is absolutely no parking at Pier 33. That’s why renting a San Francisco charter bus is the best option for your visit to Alcatraz Island. We have many types of charter buses to choose from: school buses for field trips, coach buses for large tour groups, mini coach buses for groups up to 32 individuals, and minibuses that fit an average of 21. Whatever your groups needs, we have the right style of bus to meet them and provide safe transportation to and from Pier 33 and Alcatraz Island!
Alcatraz Island is located in the San Francisco Bay, approximately 1.25 miles offshore. Today, the island’s facilities are managed by the National Park Service as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Ferry rides to the island typically take about 15 minutes each way and are operated by Hornblower Cruises and Events, under the name Alcatraz Cruises.
The ferry dock is located between Fisherman’s Wharf and the San Francisco Ferry Building. The total landmass of the island itself is about 22 acres. It is home to a variety of interesting landmarks, including the Main Cellhouse, the lighthouse, the original prison dining hall, the ruins of the Warden’s House and Officers’ Club, and the Recreation Yard. Visitors can also enjoy amazing views of the Golden Gate Bridge from the island, as well as during the ferry ride to and from.
San Francisco is a city that proudly celebrates its fast-paced zany culture with an incline for the out-of-ordinary, arts, fine wine, and outdoors activities. Brimming with museums, art galleries, hiking and camping spots, marathon races, vineyards, and breathtaking views of its hills, you’ll never run out of things to do and places to explore in San Francisco.