You don’t need to stray far from downtown San Francisco to unveil the small-town charm and wave-lashed coastline of Sausalito. Located right across the Golden Gate Bridge, perfectly perched on a secure little harbor on the bay, this treasure city is widely renowned for its rainbow-hued houseboats bobbing in the bay.
Named for its invigorating trails and uninterrupted views of the stunning Angel Island, the city tempts travelers for an out-of-the-ordinary Sausalito day trip from San Francisco. While it is arguably more polished as compared to the characterful city of San Francisco, this picturesque hotspot leaves the visitors awe-inspired with its excellent running and biking routes as well as rowing, kayaking, and sailing clubs.
That’s not all; you can bring your Sausalito exploration to a delectable end by refueling on Mexican-inspired California cuisines at the upscale joint Copita or perhaps feast on the best American breakfast ever at the effortlessly chic Fred’s Place!
How to get to Sausalito from San Francisco?
You have several options if you wish to travel to Sausalito from San Francico.
By car: Depending on the location of your hotel, travel to Sausalito from San Francisco is not too complicated. You essentially head north before reaching the Golden Gate Bridge, travel over it, and reach Sausalito minutes later.
By bike: Cycling is very popular in the area thanks to its location to Golden Gate Bridge. It’s an incentive to rent bikes or schedule a guided tour over the bridge before reaching Sausalito from the south.
By bus: Travelers also have the option of taking public transportation or a scheduled bus tour to Sausalito. Bus tours are common if you are hitting other stops like Muir Woods or Sonoma Wine Country.
How long does it take to get from San Francisco to Sausalito?
Traveling to Sausalito from San Francisco take approximately 30 minutes. The length of travel not only varies based on the mode of transportation but also traffic. San Francisco traffic is not the best, so try to avoid rush hour. Travelers staying in South San Francisco, Oakland, or Richmond have longer commutes.
How much does a Sausalito tour from San Francisco cost?
There are different types of tours to visit Sausalito from San Francisco.
Individual or guided bike tours are an excellent way to see the Golden Gate Bridge. You can pedal leisurely down the iconic bridge, which allows you to appreciate the sights far more than in a vehicle. Bike tours range in price from $45 to $75 depending on length.
Ferry tours are an affordable way to enjoy the sights around Sausalito. Starting as low as $15 per person, enjoy an excursion around the Bay Area for a relaxing morning or afternoon. Small group tours also exist at higher costs starting at $90.
Seaplane Flight Tours
Not as popular as ferry tours yet another fun way to experience the Bay Area. Seaplane flights soar over Alcatraz Island, Muir Woods, and Golden Gate Bridge. The tours are also within reason and start at $150.
- Wine Country Tours: You can make a Sausalito day trip from San Francisco into a longer journey by continuing north to Napa Valley wine country. A bus tour of Sonoma and wine country allows you to sip on your favorite adult beverage without having to drive. Tours average $140 in cost.
- Muir Woods Tours: Muir Woods National Monument is a popular place to visit the same day as Sausalito because of the distance. Half-day tours average $75 while full-day trips that include other perks like lunch begin at $125.
- Alcatraz Tours: Alcatraz is another popular place in the area to visit. The island is evident from Sausalito, even if you don’t visit it personally. Alcatraz Island tours are affordable and average $125 from Sausalito.
When is the best time to visit Sausalito?
The Bay Area is busy year-round because it is one of the most attractive destinations on the west coast. A Sausalito trip from San Francisco is preferred in Spring or Autumn. The temperatures are extremely comfortable, and you can avoid some of the crowds during the peak summer season.
What are the best things to see and do in Sausalito?
While the origins of Sausalito are in shipbuilding, the small-town has morphed into a popular tourist destination with unparalleled views of Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island.
Sausalito is a few miles after the Golden Gate Bridge concludes on the north end. It provides a unique glimpse of the Bay Area as you gaze back toward the most prominent landmarks in San Francisco. The list of possibilities in the area is nearly endless:
Sightseeing: Far and away, the most popular thing to do in Sausalito is the views of the Bay Area. The small community is perfectly placed on the bay to see all the famous landmarks. Its views of Golden Gate are spectacular, especially at sunrise or sunset.
Cycling: Biking across the Golden Gate Bridge is a popular way to experience the landmark. Sausalito is a few miles from the north end of the bridge, so it is easy to make the short commute to stop in for a break and bite to eat.
Dinner & Shopping: Sausalito caters to tourists thanks to its location to the Golden Gate Bridge and Muir Woods. It’s a fantastic place to visit after a long day of seeing the sights where there are plenty of options for fine dining. Shopping is a fun way to spend an evening with a significant other before catching the sunset in the park.
Ferry Cruises: The best way to see the Bay Area from the water is via a ferry. Sausalito receives a heavy volume of visitors from ferries because it is one of the few ungated marinas in the Bay Area. If time allows, make sure you book a San Francisco ferry tour.
Are there any other places to visit on the way from San Francisco to Sausalito?
Depending on traffic and where exactly your hotel is in the city, Sausalito from San Francisco is not a very long drive. However, there are a few noteworthy places you’ll see along the way:
Golden Gate Bridge
The proximity to Golden Gate Bridge makes Sausalito a popular destination for visitors taking the journey up the bridge from the south. Sightseeing is prevalent on the bridge along with bike rides or Segway rentals.
Muir Woods National Monument is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The monument contains some of the oldest forest growth in the country with redwood trees that date back thousands of years.
Alcatraz Island is apparent directly to the southeast of Sausalito. Along with seeing a coastline perspective of the island from Sausalito, you can also book ferries in the area that take you to the island with a guided tour of the infamous prison.
Sonoma is quite a bit north of Sausalito and a good hour drive yet well worth the adventure. Sonoma serves as the gateway to Napa Valley and its prized wine country. There is nothing like escaping the city for the day, sipping on some wine, and enjoying the breathtaking scenery.
- Prepare for traffic. San Francisco is a busy place to commute by car. It takes 30 minutes to get from San Francisco to Sausalito on a good day. Try to avoid rush hour. Scheduling a guided tour by bike or bus is a good alternative to driving through confusing streets on your own.
- Consider visiting Sausalito early morning or late evening. There are parks in the area where you can catch the sun rising or setting for the day over the Bay Area. It’s very romantic and relaxing.
- Combine tour offers for a better experience. It is convenient, cost-saving, and enjoyable to combine a Sausalito day trip from San Francisco with other opportunities like a tour of Alcatraz, a wine tour, or a visit to Muir Woods.