Frequently Asked Questions
How much time should I allow for my visit?
You can stay on Alcatraz as long as you like, but allow at least 2 ½ hours for sailing to the island, taking the cellhouse audio tour, exploring the rest of the island and its historic exhibits, and returning to the mainland.
Where will I be seated, can I choose my seats in advance?
Seating is on a first come, first served basis, no assigned seating is available. We cannot be held responsible in the event that your group is unable to sit together on a bus or fairy.
How should I dress and what should I bring with me?
The mean temperature in San Francisco is 62 degrees but weather varies around the San Francisco Bay Area. It may be foggy and cool when you depart San Francisco but weather can be more true to season as you visit outlaying areas so it is best to layer your clothing. The Napa Valley will reach temperatures of the mid-70s to mid-80s during the summer months with Yosemite National Park reaching temperatures of the mid- to upper-80s. Pack sunscreen. All tours offer unforgettable photo vantage points so bring your camera.
What can I see and do on Alcatraz?
The National Park Service volunteers & guides offers guided programs throughout the day, frequently taking visitors into seldom-seen areas of the island. The compelling Cellhouse Audio Tour “Doing Time” through the cellhouse featuring the actual voices of former guards and inmates is currently available in eight languages: English, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish Dutch and Mandarin. An orientation video with historical footage of the island is shown every half hour. In addition, museum displays and several bookstores are available. From late September until February 1, when bird nesting season begins, you can explore the island’s historic parade ground and hike down the Agave Trail to the water’s edge.
Where can I park?
On-street parking in the Fisherman’s Wharf area can be hard to find, and nearly every space has a parking meter. Parking meters take nickels, dimes and quarters. One half hour parking is roughly $1.25 in change. Commercial Parking Lots There are fifteen commercial lots with a five-block radius of the Hornblower Alcatraz Landing at Pier 33, with a total of more than 3,000 parking spaces. The closest and most convenient lot is at 80 Francisco at Kearny, just one block away, across the Embarcadero from Alcatraz Landing.
We are traveling with a wheelchair, can you accommodate us?
Tours can accommodate passengers with collapsible wheel chairs but drivers are unable to assist such passengers in boarding or exiting the bus due to insurance restrictions. Buses do not have lifts for motorized wheelchairs. Please contact your tour operator for more details.
How accessible is Alcatraz?
Much of Alcatraz is steep and hilly, so be prepared for walking long distances uphill. The distance from the dock to the prison at the top of the island is about 1/4 mile (.4 km) and the elevation change is 130 feet (40 meters). This is equivalent to climbing a thirteen story building. Visitors unable to make the climb up Alcatraz’s roads may take advantage of SEAT –Sustainable Easy Access Transport — an electric shuttle that meets each scheduled arrival at the Alcatraz dock and transports visitors requiring mobility assistance from the dock to the prison building. SEAT returns visitors requiring mobility assistance from the prison building back to the dock at regular intervals throughout the day. Visitors requiring mobility assistance may be accompanied by one attendant in their party if space is available. Families with small children and strollers cannot be accommodated on SEAT. Seating is on a first come, first serve basis. The SEAT schedule is listed on the Accessibility page. The following areas are completely wheelchair accessible: • Alcatraz dock area • Prison building main floor • All bookstores • Museum displays • Island theater Is a gratuity included? Tour guide/driver gratuities are not included and at your discretion. Are meals included? Tour prices do not include meals or other souvenirs / incidentals unless otherwise stated.
What happens to the tour if the weather is bad?
Tours go rain or shine excluding any natural disasters or catastrophic conditions.
Are meals included on the tour?
Tours do not include meals or other souvenirs unless explicitly stated.
Is gratuity included?
No gratuity for the tour operators or drivers are included and are completely at your discretion.