The Short Version: Angel Island State Park is the largest island in San Francisco Bay, and it has some stunning panoramic views of the city. Couples can rent bikes, go on a guided tour, or explore the nature trails, or they can learn about the island’s history at the immigration station. Angel Island is a wonderful date destination for couples who enjoy going off the beaten path and exploring romantic spaces in the great outdoors.
Angel Island State Park can offer a serene escape from the crowds of San Francisco. The island’s natural beauty and history has attracted people seeking something outside the ordinary.
Even though Angel Island is the largest island in San Francisco Bay, it doesn’t typically hold large events. This California State Park is open to the public and has plenty of space to explore, but it’s logistically challenging to bring in the equipment, decorations, and supplies for a big bash.
That’s why the 2019 sustainability event was such a big deal. Local food writer, instructor, and advocate Jennifer Bushman helped transform the island to celebrate food and fashion.
Influencers flocked to Angel Island to discuss the importance of sustainability in these industries. The event began with oyster shucking on the beach and culminated in a dinner designed by Chef Cody. Staffers stayed until 3 a.m. working the event and relishing the party atmosphere.
“It was so much fun. I wish we could do that all the time,” said Gillian Espinosa, a spokesperson for Angel Island National Park. “It was such a rare opportunity to host these conversations about sustainability. It was a long day, but also my favorite day on the island.”
Angel Island can offer a beautiful space to come together, and it doesn’t take a world-class event to bring people out of their shells and into the sun.
As a date destination, Angel Island has many wonderful attractions for couples who want to go off the beaten path. Whether you’re picnicking at a lookout point or learning about history at the immigration museum, you can make unforgettable memories at Angel Island.
A Hidden Gem With a Lot of History & Beautiful Views
San Francisco has several well-known tourist spots — from Alcatraz Island to the Golden Gate Bridge — but sometimes it’s worth looking for adventure at a destination not everyone has heard of. Angel Island may not be as famous as some other places in the Bay, but it has a fascinating history as well as many beautiful views.
The immigration station shares the stories of the immigrant families and prisoners of war who were detained here. Historians have preserved many points of interest, including Chinese characters carved into the walls of detainment areas.
“Many visitors don’t know about Angel Island’s history. I didn’t when I first visited,” Gillian said. “It’s really fascinating and hauntingly sad to see what people went through.”
Admission to the museum costs $5 for adults and $3 for youths between 6 and 17 years old. Entry is free for children 5 and younger. Guided tours are only available on weekends and cost $7 per adult.
During the school year, Angel Island hosts many field trips where children get to learn about the immigrant experience by touring the museum and participating in historical reenactments with park rangers.
Angel Island can give visitors the opportunity to retrace the footsteps of immigrants and appreciate their struggles, their sacrifices, and their hopes for the future.
Couples can start their visit with a tour of the museum and then enjoy the fresh air by hiking or biking through the island. The nature trails cover a lot of ground and offer a chance to explore beaches, discover abandoned buildings, and find a picnic spot with a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Angel Island has many amenities, including bike rentals and Segway tours, to help daters make the most of their time in the great outdoors, and it’s pretty easy to find a romantic spot here.
“Angel Island is great for hiking. The scenery is spectacular and the nature unexpected so close to a major city,” said a TripAdvisor reviewer. “If it is not too foggy, there are great views across the Bay.”
Park Rangers Prepare to Reopen in July
Throughout the years, Angel Island State Park has become a beloved date destination and wedding venue for couples looking for a special experience in San Francisco. It’s typically a wonderful place to learn about history, spot wildlife, and savor picture-perfect moments in the outdoors.
Angel Island has been closed due to the pandemic for much of 2020, but the team is already putting together a plan to safely reopen in the summer.
Once the ferries start running on San Francisco Bay again, Angel Island will begin welcoming visitors back to its shores. The outdoor activities will be back in full swing, and the park rangers will host small group tours with plenty of room for social distancing.
Angel Island is typically not very crowded, so the team anticipates a smooth reopening where guests can spread out and have a good time.
Whether you’re stretching your legs on a hiking trip or stretching your imagination during a historic tour, you can count on Angel Island to have a lot of interesting sights and activities available once it reopens. The concession stand will remain closed until further notice, so daters may need to pack their own lunch if they plan to spend the day here.
During the first phase of its reopening, Angel Island will refrain from hosting large field trips, corporate events, or birthday parties, but small weddings at Camp Reynolds or another secluded location are still doable. Couples can email Gespinosa@basecampmail.com to discuss their options.
Angel Island’s staff have put a lot of thought into how to keep visitors safe and continue providing fun experiences at the museum and beyond.
“I’m lucky to work with such an amazing team,” Gillian said. “Our park rangers care about providing the best experiences for guests on the island, and we’ve missed sharing the fun with everyone.”
Angel Island is a Family-Friendly Date Destination
Angel Island State Park is a hidden gem in San Francisco Bay, and it can be the perfect date spot for couples looking to get away from it all. You don’t have to wait for a special occasion to plan a trip to the island. Couples can strike out on their own on the nature trails or they can join a tour group led by knowledgeable historians.
Gillian told us that Angel Island is committed to reopening safely and giving visitors a place where they can learn, explore, and enjoy themselves in the open air.
“It’s a fun adventure to hop on the ferry and come to the island for the day,” she said. “We want to show everybody what the island has to offer. We have so many activities, tours, and events, and we can’t wait to have everybody back.”
Photo credits: Russ Levi Photography