California Staycation

California is one of my favorite places and I love living here. Today we decided to be tourists of San Francisco. The kids had never been to Alcatraz and we had never been to Angel Island before. We got up early like it was a school day and packed a picnic lunch. We left the house by 7:45 am in time to drive up to the city and find parking before arriving for our 9:30 am departure.

It was very cold and even with our multiple layers we were still freezing. When it wasn’t windy, we felt fine and when the sun eventually peeked out, we were quite comfortable.

Here are some pictures from our Staycation.




Being in Alcatraz and listening to the stories while walking through the prison cells and hallways made me thankful for my freedom. It made me wonder why and how some people become so hardened and can hate life so much that they don’t want to follow the rules and will accept the loss of their freedom in exchange for their choice of rejecting societal norms.

Some people may not have the ability to weigh the pros and cons of their choices and be able to look past the current moment to see that they might end up in a worse place if they choose to act in a certain way. The human mind fascinates me.

Seeing the small cells where men lived and hearing how the space became part of them was so surreal.

The solitary confinement units where the worst of the worst inmates were placed in the dark for 24 hours at a time would make most people go insane. Hearing the audio tour as you walk through the exhibits really makes you feel and experience what it might have been like before 1963 when the last inmate was released from Alcatraz.

It’s actually a beautiful place to visit and to take in another view of the city from the water.


From Alcatraz, we took another ferry over to Angel Island. The sun was out by now and it was a beautiful journey. We ate our picnic lunch from the boat deck and enjoyed watching all the sailboats sail by. Once we arrived at Angel Island, we took a tram ride around the island that lasted one hour.





It turned out to be a perfect day of sunshine. We all loved the island and hope to come back and rent bikes one day and tour around again and explore this gorgeous place. We took a ferry back to San Francisco and finished our day with a walk to the Ferry Building. From there we started to head back to our car and discovered the stairway to Coit Tower. Even though we were tired, we still rallied and hiked the 400+ steps to the top because I was curious and wanted to try something new. More beauty was experienced and I was thankful that we all made it despite a few grumblings. I kept telling my kids that we didn’t have any wimps in our family and I guess they believed me!

My phone battery had died by the time we got to the steps so I was unable to take anymore pictures. Jeff took this one of me playing in this flower tree that made me smile.


There was a beautiful secret garden we discovered, quaint little homes and a cute black cat. The Filbert steps are definitely worth taking if you ever have the chance .

We are definitely tired now after more than walking 19,000+ steps, but in a good way.

I love San Francisco and life is good!

4 thoughts on “California Staycation

  1. We are vacationing in San Fran next week (I am highly envious of your short little car ride over)! I was wondering if we should tour Alcatraz. Thanks for the info!!

    • We used to work in SF and took the train in from Menlo Park. The conductor used to remind us how lucky we were to be coming to SF everyday for a “free vacation.” It is a wonderful city! Are you bringing your kids? If so, they probably won’t get much out of Alcatraz. You can also take a ferry over to Sausalito that they may prefer, where you can wander by the water and storefronts and get a delicious ice cream. The Randall museum is also a small, local museum for little kids that is not touristy and provides a place to run outside too and has awesome views of the city. It’s near Buena Vista Park. Have a wonderful trip!

  2. Rob and I climbed those steps a few years back and were lucky to see the flock of wild parrots screaming overhead……

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