What are the best ferry rides in San Francisco?

Answers from Our Experts (2)

Katie Sweeney

Walk along San Francisco's Embarcadero Street and you'll come across countless ferry companies boasting the best tours of the bay. However, you can't go wrong with Golden Gate Ferry. Operated by the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District, the Golden Gate Ferry lines are what locals take to go back and forth between the north bay and San Francisco. There are three ferry routes that cross the bay and each lands in a different location: Sausalito, Larkspur, and Vallejo. During commute hours, the ferries run about every thirty minutes; during non-commute hours, the ferries run roughly every hour. All three depart from San Francisco's beautiful Ferry Building. Head to the market building early, so you can sample some of the delicious food from local artisans like Cowgirl Creamery, Boccalone Meats, and Blue Bottle Coffee. Each ferry has a small snack bar with basic drinks, but do note that none of them accept credit cards. All of the ferries have outdoor and indoor seating and offer spectacular views of the city, both bridges, and Alcatraz and Angel Islands.

Maria Hunt

While San Francisco has a number of ferries that commuters use to travel to and from work, taking a ferry ride offers visitors a fun way to see more of the region.  The best one for taking in spectacular scenery is the Golden Gate Ferry between San Francisco and Sausalito.  The ride is each $9.75 for adults and $4.75 for people ages 6 to 18 and senior citizens. With its scenic coastal views, the 30-minute ride is considered one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world.  You can even enjoy an adult beverage along with your view, as the boat serves wine and beer. While you’re on the ferry, you’ll have a gorgeous vistas of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island and the San Francisco skyline.  Have lunch at one of Sausalito’s water-view restaurants, or browse clothing boutiques and art galleries before making the trip back to the city.  If you're feeling ambitious, you can even bring your bike aboard, and then pedal back over the Golden Gate.

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