Alcatraz-Golden Gate NRA

Last time Craig and I visited San Francisco, we did not have enough time to visit Alcatraz. I was really looking forward to it for our June 2015 trip. I booked our boat tickets 90 days ahead of time. The only way to get to Alcatraz is by a ferry operated by Alcatraz Cruises on Pier 33. Give yourself plenty of time to get there. The waterfront area is huge! The views of San Francisco on the boat and on the island are amazing. Our trip started out foggy, but then it turned sunny and the fog lifted. There is also a very popular night tour.

Alcatraz is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and has a few stamps for your National Parks passport. I love the lighthouse one!  

There is a garden tour you can do on certain days of the week if you get an early boat. You can also get a headset with a self guided tour. The narrators are former inmates and guards. The headsets are included in your entrance/boat fee. You can walk all over most of the island at your leisure and get a boat back when you feel like it. We even saw the cell from Escape From Alcatraz that had Frank Morris’s fake head in it. Before our trip we watched a few movies like The Rock and that made the visit even better.

The baby Seagulls we saw were very cute. Give yourself a few hours to see it all.


Book tickets and day trips to Alcatraz

Muir Woods National Monument

The last time Craig and I were in San Francisco we did a tour of Sonoma. On the way we stopped at Muir Woods National Monument. Muir Woods NM is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. It is about 11 miles north of San Francisco and a great half day trip if you are visiting the city. Muir Woods celebrated its 100th Anniversary on January 9, 2008! William and Elizabeth Kent donated the land to the government. They wanted it named after naturalist and writer John Muir. The park gets very crowded especially on the weekends. There is a park and ride from San Francisco if you do not want to worry about trying to find parking. 

The Redwood trees are so amazing to see in person. Coastal Redwoods can grow over 300 feet and they are the tallest trees on Earth. Redwoods have been around for about 240 million years! They are only found on the Pacific Coast.

“The redwoods, once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always. No one has ever successfully painted or photographed a redwood tree. The feeling they produce is not transferable. From them comes silence and awe. It’s not only their unbelievable stature, nor the color which seems to shift and vary under your eyes, no, they are not like any trees we know, they are ambassadors from another time.”- John Steinbeck

It was very peaceful walking around and enjoying the trees. Get there early to beat the crowds! There is a lovely gift shop on site with US made gifts and art. We will have to go back soon because we did not have our National  Parks Passport at the time. We need to get a stamp!

What Is In My Carry On Bag?

We are getting ready for our two week road trip through California! Craig and I have been putting aside things we need to pack. I have certain things I like to take in my carry on especially on a longer flight. I always put our camera in my carry on so it does not get ruined in any checked luggage. We bought a Sony RX 100 last year for our Yellowstone and Grand Teton trip and it worked out great. I will do another post about the camera. Newer versions have come out, but that means ours has dropped in price!

I always try to take sanitizing wipes to wipe down the tray and seat and hand sanitizer. Flight Spray is a great thing for a longer flight. It keeps your nose hydrated so it does not get painfully dry. We also have had good luck with No Jet Lag. It is natural so I feel OK taking it. We are going to try these hydration tabs we found at REI called Nuun. I also got a four pack on Amazon for our Grand Circle trip in October. It will be pretty dry in UT, CO and AZ while hiking. Check the ingredients to make sure they are OK for you.      

Craig bought Hiking Yosemite National Park: A Guide To 59 Of The Park’s Greatest Hiking Adventures for us to use at the park. I have already flagged some of the hikes and walks we want to try! I am also taking some snacks, EOS lip balm, my Kindle and iPhone so I can read, listen to podcasts and music and of course our trip info and National Parks Passport! My Midori Travelers Journal will be in there for sure. Craig got me one for Christmas and I am love with it for trip planning. He also made me one for art and one for himself. We will be visiting the Maido Stationery Store in San Francisco to buy some more inserts.

One thing I bought for our CA Road Trip that I love is this bear travel pillow. He is super cute and converts into a neck pillow for the flight. I though it was fitting to have a Grizzly with me for our National Park trips. Even though there are no more Grizzly Bears in CA, one is still on the state flag.