3 Island Getaways in the Bay

Angel Island
You don’t need a plane ticket for an island getaway. Angel Island offers one of the island adventures you could have in San Francisco Bay. Photo: Jerry Ting

If you’ve been dreaming of a summer escape to an island paradise, but your piggy bank has other ideas, take heart. We’ve got our own islands right here in San Francisco Bay. You may even catch a balmy breeze, watch palm trees sway, and enjoy a stunning sunset. Now is a great time to visit some of the Bay’s best attractions. No plane ticket needed.

Angel Island State Park

Angel Island offers sweeping views of the Bay, terrific hikes, and campsites from which you can see the twinkling urban skylines that surround it. Pack your satchel with sleeping bag and supplies, and take the Blue and Gold ferry over. Recommended hikes include the five-mile perimeter trail and the trek up to Mt. Livermore, where hikers are treated to a panoramic view of the Bay and Golden Gate. Reserve a campsite online at Reserve America. Bring a gas stove or charcoal for cooking, as no fires are allowed.


From its palm-tree lined boulevards, to its sleepy, small town atmosphere, Alameda offers a surprisingly different experience than the rest of the bustling Bay Area. Hipsters with children, who have fled SF for easier living and better schools, rub shoulders with retirees and Bay Area natives, giving the place a Mayberry-meets-Brooklyn vibe.  Yet it’s just minutes from downtown Oakland by car, and accessible by Ferry from SF.  Start at Crown Memorial State Beach and soak up some sunshine. It’s the largest, most stunning beach on the Bay, and a great place to walk and bike. Head over to St. George Spirits for one of the best tours (and tastings) in the Bay Area.  To get a real feel of the Alameda vibe, check out Speisekammer Restaurant, a homey spot with a great wine and beer selection.

Treasure Island

Come for the wine. Stay for the sunset. Since the Navy decommissioned Treasure Island in 1996, it’s exploded with housing, becoming a bedroom community to San Francisco. Surprisingly, it’s also become quite a wine destination, with several urban wineries setting up shop. Napa it’s not, but hey, you can get there on Muni! Take the Muni 108 from San Francisco’s Transbay Terminal and visit Treasure Island Wines, The Winery SF, Erista, and Bravium, and Fat Grape Wineries, most of which are clustered along 9th Street near Avenue of the Palms, and are open on weekends until 5 pm.

Weekly Roundup September 28, 2012

weekly roundupThis week’s roundup is all over the map. Great white sharks have returned to their feeding grounds between Monterey Bay, the Farallon Islands, and Bodega Head. In the East Bay, plans are in the works for improving Oakland’s trail system. And as federal investigators examine Chevron’s Richmond refinery, The New York Times reflects on the long-term impact of ‘Silent Spring’. We round out this roundup with vacant photos of Treasure Island and underwater images from Google Street View.

San Francisco Chronicle 9/22/2012
Great white sharks back in Red Triangle
Scientists are all but running giddily into the surf with fancy new gadgetry as the annual migration of great white sharks hits full swing along the Pacific coast and reports flood in about finned beasts lurking in shallow waters.

Contra Costa Times 9/20/2012
Improvements to Oakland hills trail system in works
Plans are under way to upgrade and map the Dimond Canyon trail system located two blocks from the heart of the Dimond Business District at Fruitvale Avenue and MacArthur Boulevard.

San Francisco Chronicle 9/22/2012
Criminal investigation at Chevron refinery
Federal authorities have opened a criminal investigation of Chevron after discovering that the company detoured pollutants around monitoring equipment at its Richmond refinery for four years and burned them off into the atmosphere, in possible violation of a federal court order, The Chronicle has learned.

The New York Times 9/21/2012
How ‘Silent Spring’ Ignited the Environmental Movement
On June 4, 1963, less than a year after the controversial environmental classic “Silent Spring” was published, its author, Rachel Carson, testified before a Senate subcommittee on pesticides. She was 56 and dying of breast cancer. She told almost no one. She’d already survived a radical mastectomy. Her pelvis was so riddled with fractures that it was nearly impossible for her to walk to her seat at the wooden table before the Congressional panel. To hide her baldness, she wore a dark brown wig.

San Francisco Bay Guardian 9/21/2012
Vacancy voyeur: Matt Fisher’s shots of a Treasure Island that waits
Originally built as an airport for flying boats, Treasure Island’s man-made four square kilometers went on to house the Navy, and now is home to wineries, environmental hazards, electronic music from time to time, 2,500 people — most of them low-income, many of them college students — and tons of unused, abandoned buildings that capture the imagination of artists
Read more and view here >>

CNN 9/27/2012
Stunning undersea panoramas now on Google Street View
Google Street View, the interactive panorama feature within Google Maps, has shared eye-level images of Antarctica, gone inside NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, floated down rivers in the Amazon and strolled the halls of famous museums.
View here >>
Explore San Francisco’s tidal marshes in Google Earth >>