US Roadtrip: Alcatraz

While preparing the trip, for our stay in San Francisco, we booked a visit to Alcatraz Island and its legendary prison. Although at that time we thought it would be very touristy, after an entire morning going crazy with photos (believe us, Alcatraz IS photogenic) the visit went directly to the top visits of our US road trip!

The visits to Alcatraz Island (a National Park since 1976) must be booked in advance through the Alcatraz island tickets site. There are several tours (early bird tour, regular tour, night tour..), and, although the night tour is the most complete one (you can visit some areas closed to the visitors during the day) we decided on the early bird to avoid the crowds and to get a good light for the pictures.

We arrived to the island with the 08:45 boat and there, on its pier, a park ranger welcomed us to explain how the audio guide and visit to the prision is organized. The island was surrounded with fog, having so few people there (only our boat group), it gave us the feeling of having stepped back in time when the prison was still running.

After a while taking pictures outside the main building, we did the tour with one of the most memorable audio guide we ever had. The English version contains lots of interviews and comments from the last guards and prisoners of the island, which amplifies the feeling of being inside a piece of history perfectly preserved.

I hope we have managed to capture a little of the essence of The Rock and that you enjoy the post as much as we liked the visit ourselves!

** This post is part of our US road trip series **

Wired SF - The cat, you and us

The ship to the island left at 08:45 at the pier 33 and we got on board at 8:15, so we were able to see the sunrise while having breakfast.

Alcatraz ship - The cat, you and us Alcatraz - The cat, you and us

The island was surrounded by fog, but we had more visibility than our failed visit to the Golden gate.

Alcatraz welcome - The cat, you and us

A few welcoming words from a National ranger was the start of the visit.

Alcatraz ranger - The cat, you and us Alcatraz wooden pier - The cat, you and us Alcatraz streets - The cat, you and us

Damaris in front of a cool brick wall. Do you notice something with her clothes?

Alcatraz infermery - The cat, you and us

Yes, while taking the previous two pictures we realized that we both went to the island with striped clothing.

Stripes - The cat, you and us Alcatraz - The cat, you and us Alcatraz social building - The cat, you and us Area closed for your safety - The cat, you and us Looking dangerous - The cat, you and us Alcatraz corridor - The cat, you and us

The light inside the main building was amazing!

Jail - The cat, you and us jail wall - The cat, you and us jail bathroom - The cat, you and us Alcatraz dining room - The cat, you and us

The dining room is the last stop of the audioguide, but if you take the early bird tour you can go first to the courtyard or the dinning room and avoid the people who are following the audioguide in order. Hope we will not end in prision for this little trick! ;)

Alcatraz dining room - The cat, you and us Alcatraz patio - The cat, you and us Alcatraz patio - The cat, you and us Alcatraz patio - The cat, you and us Last walk - The cat, you and us

And with this picture of the last man leaving Alcatraz we end this post. Stay tuned for our final San Francisco post (last post of the summer, sniff…)!

Share this adventure


  1. Jane Y. ADDS...

    pictures inside are giving me chills! wow. the lighting is pretty amazing! great choice to go early. the rock was such an amazing movie :)

    13th November 2013
    • We reply...

      Thanks Jane! After the visit we decided to re-view some Alcatraz films (The great escape, The rock, etc…), but we havent started yet ;)

  2. Ice Pandora ADDS...

    Lovely roadtrip together really the pictures
    again look beautiful! This prison jail is really
    interesting, I love gazing at old buildings
    anyway c: xx

    13th November 2013
    • We reply...

      Thanks! Tomorrow we are publishing the last post of the road trip series, glad that you liked them! We also like to visit old buildings, but sometimes they
      can be a little scary when abandoned… We once were in an old abandoned psychiatric hospital in my grandpa’s village that we had to run away without even entering one foot in it ;)

  3. Mariko ADDS...

    I love that you both wore stripes to visit a prison! How cute.

    14th November 2013
    • We reply...

      Hahaha, we didn’t realize that we were wearing stripes (in a prision!) until we took the pictures in front of the door. Damaris also thinks the coincidence is cute.

  4. petra ADDS...

    stunning pics. I can tell that the early morning light was worth skipping a fuller tour or the Rock. I’d love to there myself one day.

    14th November 2013
    • We reply...

      Thanks Petra! Good light + empty spaces + cool place, a photographer’s dream!

  5. Fiona ADDS...

    Stripes! Yay!
    What an amazing place to get to visit, I love your sneaky trick of doing the audio tour not in order :) Did you guys have nightmares that night? Pretty haunting place, even just looking at your photos. I also love that photo of the last ever prisoner, very arty, even if it wasn’t meant to be :)

    14th November 2013
    • We reply...

      Thanks Fiona! It’s difficult to explain (in words or pictures) the strange feeling of the island and the main building. It wasn’t very scary but certainly the images and feelings stay in your mind for a long while. I guess listening to real prisoners voices while walking along the aisles have a lot to do with that.

  6. Sara ADDS...

    i want to go there :D

    great coincidence,just turned on the tv and it’s on a film about Alcatraz!

    16th November 2013

Leave your comment

  • (will not be published)

(*) Comments are moderated, we will approve it soon!