The island itself has remained more or less the same since the Park Service first opened it to visitors in 1973, but the tours of the world-famous prison have been getting better and better over the years. In the past, you could go only with a guide; now, well-produced audio tours, featuring the voices of real inmates and guards, let you explore at your own pace. Prefer the human touch? Take the eerie nighttime tour, which includes a narrated circuit around the island.
Tip: Even if you have an annual national-parks pass, you’ll have to pay the entry fee here; the admission actually covers the ferry ride over.
Admission: $24.50 adults ($31.50 at night); $23.25 seniors ($29.25 night); $15.25 children (5–11) ($18.75 night); free for children under 5. Open daily (except Christmas and New Year’s Day).
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.