- A Karen Brown Recommendation
Alcatraz: Wreathed in mystery, the often fog-shrouded island of Alcatraz lies in the heart of San Francisco Bay, a scant mile and a quarter from the sights and sounds of downtown. The site of the first lighthouse on the west coast, in operation since 1854, “The Rock” has since been used as an army fortress and a jail. The latter, supposedly escape proofed by the icy-cold waters and dangerous currents of the Bay, was home to criminals deemed “incorrigible” by the Federal penal system. Numbered among its inmates were Al Capone and Robert Stroud, the infamous “Birdman of Alcatraz.” Access is by ferry from the San Francisco waterfront. Trips run daily but are extremely popular and should be booked well in advance (contact TeleSails, 415-705-5555, www.telesails.com). The island is now under the control of the National Park Service and ranger-guided and audio-assisted tours provide a fascinating insight into the island’s history, as well as affording spectacular views of San Francisco and its bridges. Be sure to wear sturdy, comfortable shoes and warm clothing.
San Francisco, California