Thought to be an inescapable federal prison, “The Rock” has a lot of history.

In addition to serving as a maximum security federal penitentiary from 1934 to 1963, it also served as a fort and a lighthouse.

The prison held some of the fiercest criminals ever known, including Al Capone, George “Machine Gun” Kelly, Robert Stroud, “The Birdman of Alcatraz,” and Alvin “Creepy” Karpis.

Alcatraz City Cruises, an independent company, to provide ferry rides for visitors to and from the island.

Once on the island, you can tour the prison grounds and cells.

You can take an audio tour where you hear commentary from former prisoners, guards, and wardens. It brings the eerie prison halls to life as you explore.

In addition to exploring the prison, the island houses lush gardens and many waterbirds.

It is an odd mix of natural beauty and haunting history. You gain excellent views of the bay, bridge, and city skyline.

The whole experience is unique and not something you will find at any other national park site.

For more things to experience  near San Francisco, click below.

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