Alcatraz Island is located about 2 kilometers offshore from San Francisco, California, United States, in San Francisco Bay. This small island was built from 1934 until 1963 with facilities for a lighthouse, a military fortification, a military prison and a federal jail. The water currents around the island were always strong, which reduced an inmate’s chance of escaping. In 1972, Alcatraz became part of the National Recreation Area of Golden Gate and in 1986 was appointed as a National Historic Landmark.
Today, as part of Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the island’s facilities are managed by the National Park Service; they are open to tours. Visitors can reach the island from Pier 33, located between the San Francisco Ferry Building and Fisherman’s Wharf in just under 15 minutes by ferry ride.