Camping on Angel Island (the beta)

Countless folks warned myself and the fam last weekend to watch out for the fog on Angel Island (as if I didn't know that the San Francisco Bay could get foggy in the summer).

This maybe is a difference between locals (who have to live with the fog for months at a time, and weary of the chill of blowing greyness) and one-time locals who moved away years ago, and like to revisit the fog, as a sort of nostalgic novelty, the way one might enjoy the jolting of a cab ride in New York, or the snootiness of a Parisian waiter — a kind of local color.

You know you're in the Bay Area when you can hardly see across the road in the evening.

That's my excuse, anyhow. In any case, yours truly will not back down from the idea that camping on Angel Island is a rare treat, with or without fog. Here are some tips on how to do it.

First, if you visit the Angel Island Association site, you'll get the basic choices quickly, but it's helpful to know that there are but nine campsites on the island, in three different places on the island. 

The most popular are the Ridge Sites (#4,5, and 6), facing the Golden Gate, which a helpful parks ranger told us are booked seven months and a day in advance for summer weekends, but that you can often "slide in" on weekdays. These sites, like the less-popular Sunrise sites (#7.8.9), where we stayed, are exposed to the fog and the wind, so expect blustery nights. More protected are the Eastbay sites, (#1,2,and 3) which are in the lee of a pine grove. Sites cost about $25 a night, thru ReserveAmerica. You can do it through the site, but I suggest calling to nail down the details: 1-800-444-PARK. 

Wood fires are not allowed, 'specially after the spectacular fire on the island of last fall, but the sites have not just tables, basic food cabinets, water, and toilets, but even trash and recycling.

The ranger told us that the Ridge sites have a "$10,000,000 view." Faithful readers of this site will recall that with global warming, coastal areas such as San Francisco will actually get a little foggier. But if you like camping with a city view, and can stand some weather, Angel Island is a must.

advice is look for a weekday in Indian summer, which does sometimes
happen in the Bay Area, usually in late September or early October.
Maybe if you're really lucky, you'll find me there….

[pic from a trail atop Mt. Livermore, at about 750 feet, via SFYer]


Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

2 thoughts on “Camping on Angel Island (the beta)

  1. Delighted to see my trail shot here!

    AI is the best-kept camping secret in the Bay Area, in my opinion. And the weekday tip is a good one as you may find yourself feeling virtually alone on the island which is a surreal feeling–especially as you gaze across the water at a dense city. Simply sublime.


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