Alcatraz Island

Alcatraz Island

National Park · San Francisco, California
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Alcatraz Island is located in San Francisco Bay, 1.25 miles offshore from San Francisco, California, United States. The small island was developed with facilities for a lighthouse, a military fortification, a military prison (1868), and a federal prison from 1934 until 1963.

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Alcatraz: for over 150 years, the name has given the innocent chills and the guilty cold sweats. It’s been a military prison, a forbidding maximum-security penitentiary and disputed territory between Native American activists and the FBI. Today, first-person accounts of daily life in the Alcatraz lockup are included on the award-winning audio tour. But take your headphones off to hear carefree city life across the Bay: this torment made perilous prison escapes into riptides worth the risk.
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Alcatraz Island was used for camping and gathering food, as well as seclusion and isolation, over 20,000 years ago by Indigenous peoples. Over 10,000 Indigenous people, later called the Ohlone, lived in the area before colonizers from Spain and Portugal arrived. In November 1969, a group of Native American activists in the Bay Area occupied the island in a powerful act seeking to reclaim their ancestors’ space.
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Notorious prisoners, multiple escape attempts, murders, suicides and horrendous punishments have left one of the most recognizable prisons in history indelibly haunted. In the season two finale of Haunted Road, we head to Alcatraz to separate fact from fiction, and share a whole load of ghost stories.
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No trip to San Francisco is complete without a tour of Alcatraz! One of the most notorious penitentiaries housing the likes of Al Capone, Alcatraz island is reached by a ferry and even more interesting at night so consider a night tour.
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Cruise out to Alcatraz Island for a memorable day on an island full of stories. An iconic prison known for its tales of incarceration and escape, there is more to this mysterious island than you’d think. Here you can see the first lighthouse and U.S. fort on the West Coast, learn about the American Indian fight for equality, and explore the natural wonders, from birds to bay views, that this special island offers. Pro tip: reserve your ferry spot in advance!
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Converted from a lighthouse station to a military prison in the 1870s, this formidable fortress in the middle of San Francisco Bay was home to the early 20th century’s most notorious criminals. Today, you’ll only make it to "The Rock" via ferry from Pier 33. Once there, the self-guided audio tour narrated by former inmates and guards will fill you in on harrowing escape attempts, prison riots and the 19-month long occupation of the site by Native Americans in 1969.
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One of the most famous prisons, Alcatraz Island also saw an occupation from November 1969 to June 1971 by a group called Indians of All Tribes, Inc., made up of indigenous people. Protesting government policies that stole land from American Indians and destroyed their cultures, the occupation shone a light on the need for Indian self-determination and led to federal laws demonstrating a new respect for aboriginal land rights and the freedom of American Indians to maintain their cultures.
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