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immigration station

Discover Angel Island and surrounding areas with our helpful resources!

Whether you’re a teacher seeking a historical location for your students, or a parent looking to entertain your children, there are countless engaging and fun adventures awaiting you.

immigration station tour

Visit Angel Island

Angel Island State Park is a spectacular cultural and historic landmark, located only a short ferry ride away from beautiful Tiburon, California. Park hours are 8:00am to sunset everyday.

The highest point is Mount Livermore which is 788 feet, and named after Caroline Livermore, a conservationist who helped to create Angel Island State Park. Mount Livermore offers beautiful 360 degree views of the San Francisco skyline, the Marin Headlands, Mount Tamalpais, and the Bay.

The Island has over 13 miles of hiking trails and over 8 miles of biking trails-ranging from beginner to advanced.

The Island is also alive with history. Three thousand years ago, the island was a fishing and hunting site for Miwok Indians. Later, it was a haven for Spanish explorer Juan Manuel de Ayala, a cattle ranch, and a U.S. Army post. From 1863 to 1962, the U.S. Immigration Station, Angel Island was an entry point for hundreds of thousands of immigrants, the majority from China. During World War II, Japanese, and German POWs were held on the Island, which was also used as a jumping-off point for American soldiers returning from the Pacific.

Angel Island State Park Rules

Please note that Angel Island State Park is subject to Park Rules, which are set by the State Park (not the Ferry Company).

You can read more information about these rules at the State Park’s official web site. For example, rules include:

  • Dogs are not allowed on the Island, service animals excepted.
  • Roller skates, roller blades, skateboards, and scooters are prohibited.
  • Bring camp stove or charcoal, no wood fires allowed.
  • Night travel after sunset on the island is prohibited in some areas for park security and public safety.
  • Personal Segways are NOT PERMITTED on the Island, unless it is being used as an assistance device for a disabled person. Segway rentals are available for guided tours only.

Explore Tiburon

Tiburon, California
Home of the Angel Island – Tiburon Ferry, Tiburon is a beautiful small town with a historic main street and numerous boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants, located just north of San Francisco. Downtown Tiburon is excellent for walking and biking.

immigration station bay area tour

Things to see include:

  • Old St. Hilary’s Church, a Roman Catholic Mission built in 1888
  • China Cabin, a Victorian style salon taken off the passenger and cargo ship S.S. China
  • Train and Ferry Terminal, built in 1884, located on the Waterfront Park
  • Main Street, a block of historical buildings from the late 1800s to the 1920s
  • Ark Row, the second block of Main Street where buildings were converted from 1890s-era houseboats
  • Waterfront Park, a quarter-mile of waterfront grass and walking/bike paths with amazing views of San Francisco, Angel Island, and boats on the bay
  • Sam’s Anchor Cafe, popular restaurant and bar, opened in 1920, on a pier overlooking San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge
  • For a live webcam view of Tiburon, visit Sam’s Cafe’s famous Sam Cam.

Immigration Station

immigration station educational tour
Visit this National Historic Landmark in person, and see the barracks where immigrants from around the world were detained, as well as historic inscriptions written on the walls.

Please note that it is about a 40 minute walk to this site from Ayala Cove (where the ferry lands). The Cove Cafe sells shuttle tickets to and from this site (leaving and returning to Ayala Cove). The Cove Cafe is open seasonally.

Please contact them directly for questions regarding their services.

United States Immigration Station Guided Tour

Tour the barracks where immigrants from around the world were detained. See historic Chinese poetry and other inscriptions written on the walls. Tour capacity is 5-40 people total. Tour length is about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Appropriate for 4th grade and up. It is about a 40 minute walk one way (1 1/2 miles) to this site from Ayala Cove (where the ferry lands). U.S. Immigration Station guided tours usually start by a bell located by the water at U.S. Immigration Station. Please check in with park staff at the U.S. Immigration Station admissions desk located inside the main entrance (top of the long staircase) to the Immigration Station Barracks the day of your visit to verify where your tour will begin. Please note that without a reservation, tours are offered when staff are available.

immigration station san francisco

U.S. Immigration Station Guided Tour Times

  • 11:00, 12:30, 1:45, Everyday

Guided Tour Ticket Fees

  • $7 per Adult
  • $5 per Youth (6- 17 years old)
  • Free for children (5 and under)
  • For school groups (K-12) the guided tour fee is $3 per person

The Park accepts cash or check payable to California State Parks. Please contact the Angel Island State Park Tour Coordinator via email at tours.angelisland@parks.ca.gov or 415-435-5537 to make a tour reservation. Tour reservations are first come first served, and for groups of 5 or more.

Immigration Station General Admission

The inside of the Immigration Station Barracks and the WWII Mess Hall can be viewed by a self-guided tour (including Room 105). During the self-guided tour, park staff and docents will be available for information and to answer questions throughout the building. The grounds (outside of the buildings) are free to the public.

U.S. Immigration Station General Admission

  • 11:00 to 3:00; Wednesday to Sunday

U.S. Immigration Station General Admission Fees

  • $5.00 per adult (anyone 18 and older)
  • $3.00 per youth (anyone between the age of 6-17)
  • Free for children (5 and under)
  • For school groups (K-12) the self guided tour fee is $3 per person.

Tickets for the self-guided tour can be purchased at the admissions desk located inside the main entrance (top of the long staircase) to the Immigration Station Barracks the day of your visit. No reservations are required. The Park accepts cash or check payable to California State Parks.

Camp Reynolds Guided Tour

Visit some of the oldest buildings on Angel Island, and learn about the life of a soldier during the late 1800s! Groups tour a Civil War era Bake House and Victorian era home. An optional cannon firing can be included upon request.

  • Tour Capacity: 5-60 people
  • Appropriate Age: 4th grade and up
  • Tour Length: Approx. 1 hour and 30 minutes
  • Availability: Fridays ONLY

Group Tour Coordinator (415) 435-5537 tours.angelisland@parks.ca.gov

Fort McDowell Guided Tour

Tour the Chapel and Guard House of this WWI and WWII Army base, and learn about the varied military history of Angel Island. Learn about the life of a soldier and their families at one of the largest historic military sites in the San Francisco Bay!

  • Tour Capacity: 5-60 people
  • Appropriate Age: 4th grade and up
  • Tour Length: Approx. 1 hour
  • Availability: Fridays ONLY

Explorer’s Tour

Through hands-on activities, learn how Angel Island got its name, the first inhabitants of the island, the Coast Miwok, and about the first Spanish explorers to enter the San Francisco Bay. Each student will get to draw their own map of an island and learn about the unique resources the island provided to its early visitors.

  • Tour Capacity: 5-40 people
  • Appropriate Age: K-4th Grade
  • TTour Length: Approx. 45 minutes
  • Availability: Fridays ONLY

Living History Program (ELP)

Living History Program – Angel Island Conservancy

Civil War Living History School Program (ELP)

The Overnight Living History Program (also known as the Environmental Living Program or ELP) gives students a chance to role-play the life of Union artillery soldiers stationed at Camp Reynolds on Angel Island during the Civil War. Through hands-on experience, students learn what life was like for 24-hours in a typical soldier’s day, including activities such as baking bread and finishing with a cannon firing before they depart. (A mandatory Teacher Training Weekend is held in September)

immigration station california
  • Program Capacity: 20-44 People (No more than 11 adults)
  • Program Length: 24 hours
  • Program Availability: September to mid-June.

Appropriate for 4th, 5th, and 8th grade levels.

Additional Information: Plan for a 30-minute walk one-way (1 mile) to the site from Ayala Cove. Applications go out in early spring for the following school year. For more information about this program, contact the program coordinator at: elp.angelisland@parks.ca.gov

Teacher Resources and Additional Information

tour of immigration station

Please contact the Cove Cafe directly to inquire about shuttle tickets to U.S. Immigration Station. Please note that they are open seasonally.

Many of the facilities at the United States Immigration Station are ADA accessible. Please contact the park office at 415-435-5390 for additional information.

For additional U.S. Immigration Station academic resources, please visit the Angel Island Immigration Station’s Learning Center.

Please contact the Angel Island Conservancy for scholarship information.

Ferry fees are not included in tour costs and are paid separately to the ferry company of your choosing. Please note ferry schedule departure and arrival times. For an updated ferry schedule and to confirm your transportation to the Island, please contact the ferry companies directly. During the winter ferry service is limited and may not be available without advanced reservations.

If you are a (K-12) school group, you may be eligible for a reduced ferry ticket price. Please contact the Angel Island State Park Tour Coordinator via email at tours.angelisland@parks.ca.gov or 415-435-5537 for additional information.

Please note that all guided tour tickets and general admission tickets to U.S. Immigration Station, are not included in the ferry ticket price, the general admission fee to the Park, camping fees, or any other fee issued by the Park. U.S. Immigration Station guided tour tickets do include the general admission fee for the U.S. Immigration Station Barracks and WWII Mess Hall.

Any questions? Get in touch with us today to start planning your trip.

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