Visiting Alcatraz Island is maybe my most favorite thing to do in San Francisco. To me – a true crime lover, a National Park nerd and a history buff – the place is fascinating. I love the access visitors get to the notorious former prison, the views of San Francisco from the island, the self-guided audio tour and the intensely spooky vibe of the place. Alcatraz Island is just one piece of Golden Gate National Recreational Area. In total, the GGNRA includes around 25 National Park Service-administered sites spread across San Francisco and Marin and San Mateo Counties.
I went to San Francisco back in February, for the start of my post-deployment West Coast adventure that also included San Diego and Portland. It was my third time in San Francisco, and I split the time doing ALL THE TOURIST THINGS since my travel partner had never been, and scampering through a few local haunts with my San Francisco-dwelling friend. If I made a list of must-see American cities, San Francisco would be on it, along with cities like New York and Vegas, Chicago and Austin. It’s iconic as fuck, for one, and it’s beautiful, and also weird. The weather is inconsistent at best and requires the wear of…