Should you buy an Alcatraz ticket or an Alcatraz tour?

Posted on June 8, 2018 |

One of the most common questions we get are about whether or not travelers should go on the best Alcatraz tour they can find — or if they should just do a San Francisco bus tour one day and get Alcatraz tickets for a different day.

We don’t think either option is bad — it really just depends on how much time you have for fun things to do in San Francisco. Let’s take at who should be taking a San Francisco Alcatraz tour and who should be booking a ferry ticket to Alcatraz.


Official Alcatraz Ticket from Alcatraz Cruises

Official Alcatraz Tickets

Photo by Kim Holland via Flickr

Who is this for? If you have more than one day in San Francisco — this will be an amazing option.

We always suggest that travelers take a comprehensive San Francisco bus tour their first day in the city. This allows you to familiarize yourself with the most popular neighborhoods (and if you have a 100% local guide you’ll walk away with some incredible restaurant suggestions around town). On your second day, especially if you were able to snag tickets for the Alcatraz Night Tour, you can revisit your favorite neighborhoods you discovered during your San Francisco tour.

Whether you want to explore San Francisco by bike, bus or electric tuk tuk — Dylan’s Tours has the perfect tour for your first day in the city. Our very popular Famous Tour explores San Francisco and Muir Woods  by bus. We also have the only combination San Francisco bike tour and Muir Woods shuttle for those who prefer to explore without a tour guide. If you’ve already checked Muir Woods off your bucket list, there’s also an option to zip around town on our San Francisco electric bike tour. Or join a half day bus tour of San Francisco and Sausalito.

What’s the catch? During the busy summer months, Alcatraz tickets through the official Alcatraz Cruises website can sell out months in advance. Be sure to check out our blog on What to do if Alcatraz tickets are sold out for some ideas on how to get around a sold out Alcatraz.


Alcatraz Tours from the Best San Francisco Tour Companies

Who is this for? If you only have one day in San Francisco — then your best bet of seeing as much as possible in a day will be with a combo one day San Francisco Alcatraz Tour.

Even though we usually suggest that people reserve Alcatraz tickets separate from their SF tour, sometimes that is just not possible. If you only have single day to explore San Francisco and Alcatraz, you’ll need a one day combo tour. It will be a very long day. But, it will be possible to see it all in A Day in the Bay — our one day San Francisco Alcatraz Tour.

What’s the catch? Both Muir Woods and Alcatraz are outside of San Francisco proper, so it is a very long day when you squeeze all these classic sites into one day. Unless you really only have one day in San Francisco, it’s better to split your Alcatraz and Muir Woods visits into two days.

Note: this tour is only offered from March-September


Two Day Alcatraz and San Francisco Tour

San Francisco Alcatraz Tour at Golden Gate Bridge

Who is this for? Travelers who want to take their time exploring San Francisco, Muir Woods and Alcatraz over a couple of days.

Experience the best of both worlds by splitting your time into a two day tour of Alcatraz, San Francisco and Muir Woods. For the summer of 2018 we are introducing our very first two day tour of Alcatraz, San Francisco and Muir Woods! On Day 1 you head to Pier 33 to catch the official Alcatraz Cruises ferry to Alcatraz Island. Then, on Day 2 you’ll join our most popular tour San Francisco, Muir Woods and Sausalito — the Famous Tour.

What’s the catch? This is a seasonal tour with Alcatraz tickets and a San Francisco bus tour is only for the summer of 2018 only. Not available year round.


Still trying to find the right Alcatraz tour for you? You can read all about who we think offers the Best Alcatraz Tours in San Francisco on our blog.

Not sure what’s the difference between an Alcatraz Day Tour or an Alcatraz Night Tour? We’ve also got a blog for you on that 😉

We’re happy to answer any of your Alcatraz questions — just shoot us a message on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

[Featured Image by Mike Holloway via Flickr]

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