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10 Islands to explore in California

The most populous U.S. state and the third-largest by area.

Alcatraz IslandSan Francisco, CA 94133, USA

Developed with facilities for a lighthouse, a military fortification, a military prison, and a federal prison that seized operations in the 1960s. Today the small island is open for tours.

Anacapa IslandAnacapa Island, California 93001, USA

A small volcanic island composed of a series of narrow islets 6 mi long, oriented generally east–west and 5 mi (8 km) east of Santa Cruz Island. Anacapa is the smallest of the northern islands of the Channel Islands archipelago, and is within the Channel Islands National Park.

Angel Island CapitalOne Embarcadero Ctr Suite 2150, San Francisco, CA 94111, USA

Angel Island is the largest natural island in the San Francisco Bay, offers some of the best views of the surrounding Bay Area. It has been used by humans for a variety of purposes, including seasonal hunting and gathering by indigenous peoples, water and timber supply for European ships, ranching by Mexicans, United States military installations, a United States Public Health Service Quarantine Station, and a U.S. Bureau of Immigration inspection and detention facility.

Bair IslandBair Island, Redwood City, CA, USA

Bair Island is a swampland spread over 3,000 acres in Redwood City. It is part of the larger Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. It is surrounded by the Steinberger slough to the northwest and Redwood Creek to the southeast. It is an important ecological wetland, which provides critical habitat for a variety of species, including the endangered California clapper rail and the Salt marsh harvest mouse, and is an important stop for birds on the Pacific Flyway.

Balboa IslandBalboa Island, Newport Beach, CA, USA

Balboa Island was originally a sandbar that developer William S. Collins turned into an island between 1905 and 1913. It is accessible to the public via bridge, ferry and several public docks. It is home to local small businesses including restaurants, bakeries, fishing & tackle, and local crafts. The island also has a fire station and a post office. The community is surrounded by a paved concrete boardwalk open to pedestrian traffic, designated as a public walking trail by the city.

Coronado IslandCoronado Island, Coronado, CA 92118, USA

A resort city in San Diego. Coronado is consistently voted best beach in the U.S. by Dr. Beach. With gentle surf, sparkling wide-sand beaches, charming main street and great hotels, including the famous Hotel del Coronado, this island paradise is perfect for a family vacation or romantic getaway.

East Anacapa IslandEast Anacapa Island, California 93001, USA

This is a small volcanic island located about 11 miles off the coast of Port Hueneme, California. It is the smallest of the northern islands of the Channel Islands archipelago, and is within the Channel Islands National Park.

Shelter IslandShelter Island, San Diego, CA 92106, USA

Shelter Island is a neighborhood of Point Loma in San Diego, California. It is actually not an island but is connected to the mainland by a narrow strip of land. The "island" is 1.2 miles long and only a few hundred feet wide. A single street, Shelter Island Drive, runs the length of Shelter Island and also connects it to the mainland via a causeway lined with marine-related businesses.

Sycamore Island39664 Ave 7 1/2, Madera, CA 93636, USA

Sycamore Island is located on the San Joaquin River in Madera County, California. It includes multiple fishing ponds and access to the San Joaquin River for fishing and other recreation. It is one of the iconic attraction in this area and also there are so many things to see and do.

Tom Sawyer IslandTom Sawyer Island, Anaheim, CA 92802, USA

Tom Sawyer Island is an artificial island surrounded by the Rivers of America at Disneyland, Magic Kingdom and Tokyo Disneyland. It contains structures and caves with references to Mark Twain characters from the novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and provides interactive, climbing, and scenic opportunities. The most prominent structure on the island, viewable from Frontierland, Adventureland and New Orleans Square, is Lafitte's Tavern, which was formerly Harper's Mill.