Blue & Gold runs a ferry service to Angel Island; times vary with the season, so check online or call ahead before setting out. Boats arrive at the Ayala Cove visitors' centre, where there are maps, bikes to rent and all-important picnic tables. Views from the island are unrivalled. At its peak, one has 360-degree views of the entire Bay Area - one of the primary reasons the top was sheared off and replaced with a gun bunker as a part of the Bay's coastal artillery defences. Luckily, they replaced the top but the bunkers are still scattered around the island, whose history dates back before the Civil War. Author Richard Henry Dana recounts in his Two Years Before the Mast (1840) how he collected a year's supply of wood for his ship Alert when it stopped here in the winter of 1835-36. Later it acted as 'the Ellis Island of the West' serving as one of America's busiest immigration ports. Later, in its darkest chapter, it served as an internment camp for Japanese-Americans during WWII. Now, it's a great place to hike, tour by bicycle and have a picnic with time enough to get back to the city for a night on the town.