One of the coolest things about San Francisco and being in the “bay area” is the opportunity for endless day trips! One of the easiest days trips from the city is a day trip to Sausalito, a small beach town across the Golden Gate Strait from San Francisco.
Sausalito is a small waterfront community, approx 2-square miles with only 7,000+ residents. It’s an ideal getaway if you’re looking for charm and vibrant town, fresh seafood, and a day of relaxing as you mosey through the quiet streets popping in and out of the storefronts.
The Best Day Trips from San Francisco – A Day Trip to Sausalito
Getting to Sausalito from San Francisco
The best part about traveling between SF and Sausalito is that it is incredibly easy and super accessible! You can reach Sausalito by ferry, car, or bike making it an ideal trip for any budget.
SAN FRANCISCO FERRY TO SAUSALITO
The Sausalito Ferry operated by the Golden Gate Ferry offers service between San Francisco and Sausalito 7 days/week. A one-way adult ticket costs $13 and can be purchased from the ferry terminal in San Francisco and Sausalito. Tickets are valid for 90-days so you’re able to purchase ahead of time and ride within the 90-days. From San Francisco you will depart from the Ferry Building, arriving in Sausalito a mere 30-minutes later. The ferry schedules vary depending on the day of the week and holidays, but you can find the complete schedule here.
DRIVING TO SAUSALITO
If you choose to drive your car to Sausalito, there is plenty of metered street parking located downtown once you arrive. The meters allow you to stay for 3-hours and are monitored from 9 am-6 pm. There is also free parking, but this is harder to come across and also comes with time restraints. You’ll also need to factor in the cost of crossing the Golden Gate Bridge which is $7-$8 each way. You won’t pay in person but will instead be sent a bill via your license plate.
If you don’t have a car you can rideshare into Sausalito. The cost of an Uber/Lyft runs $30+ depending on what time of the day you’re riding and where in the city you leave/get dropped off.
Keep in mind that the Golden Gate Bridge gets congested, adding much more time to your drive than you may expect.
BIKING TO SAUSALITO
My favorite mode of transportation from San Francisco to Sausalito is by electric bike! If you’re interested in biking for exercise, you can get a regular bike but keep in mind that it is quite hilly! If you’re looking to leisurely cross the bridge into town then an electric bike is quick and enjoyable.
There are bike rentals all over the city, but I prefer to rent at SF Wheels. The cost of an all-day electric bike rental is $70 and you can reserve your bike ahead of time. The electric bikes have a lot of power so even when you’re biking up big hills you’re hardly putting any work in. On the flip side, you can turn off the “electric” part and pedal on your own. The bikes come with a place to charge your cell phone, an area that holds your phone on the bike handle making it easy to navigate, a bike lock, and helmets. Once you arrive in Sausalito there are plenty of bike racks where you can park your bikes. If you bike over the Golden Gate Bridge you aren’t charged a toll fee.
Things to Do in Sausalito
Although a small town, Sausalito is easily accessible by foot and has plenty of activities to keep you entertained for the day!
Waldo Point Harbor – Waldo Point Harbor is home to 282 floating homes, all of which have been occupied since the 70s. You can visit Waldo Point and walk around admiring the floating homes. This area is also commonly referred to as “Dock of the Bay”, and even has a song dedicated to it by Otis Redding! When you visit the Sausalito houseboats be mindful of those that live there full time.
Bridgeway Street – Bridgeway Street is the main street in town and where you’ll find a majority of the popular bars, restaurants, and shops. Take your time walking through town and stop as you please. There are great opportunities for photos on this street, especially near the Sea Lion Sculpture by Al Sybrian where you’ll be able to capture views of the San Francisco skyline.
Yacht Harbor – Stroll the Sausalito Yacht Harbor as you look for your next boating escape!
Sea Trek – At Sea Trek, you can rent stand-up paddleboards and kayaks to see Sausalito in a different light – from the water! It’s the perfect activity if you’re interested in getting in some exercise and having a unique experience other than walking around downtown.
Fish – Fish is an indoor/outdoor fresh seafood restaurant with views of the harbor. I highly recommended eating here on a nice day where you can get a bottle of wine and take your seafood outside to sit on one of the picnic benches and enjoy the weather.
Lappert’s Ice Cream – Lappert’s Ice Cream originated in Hawaii but now has a storefront right on the main street of Sausalito. On a hot day, don’t miss grabbing a cone and walking through downtown.
Scoma’s of Sausalito – A more formal, sit-down restaurant, Scoma’s of Sausalito overlooks the bay and offers incredible views of the city. With a restaurant also located on the wharf of SF, this is one of the more popular and well-known seafood restaurants in the area.
Bar Bocce – A casual restaurant on the waterfront, Bar Bocce is a well-known pizza chain with a cozy outdoor patio complete with firepits and a bocce ball court. While you can sit down at a table and eat, you can also get takeaway pizza and drinks and head out back to hang out near the water.
If you have extra time to spend in the area and drove or biked into town, I recommend stopping at Battery Spencer before going back to San Francisco. Battery Spencer offers the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge and it’s free to access the area. If you’re looking to spend the night in Sausalito, both the Inn Above Tide and Hotel Sausalito are located right downtown near the water.
This Sausalito trip is short and sweet – it’s the perfect getaway from the busy city if you only have a day and are looking to relax and unwind. Its charm and vibrant buzz draw people from all over the world, so the next time you’re visiting San Francisco make it a priority to day trip to Sausalito.
If you’re looking for more day trips to take from San Francisco, don’t miss out on wine tasting in Sonoma!