Skip the box office line and head straight to Pier 41 to catch your ferry. Choose between indoor and outdoor seating and get ready to take in some spectacular views. As long as Karl the Fog stays away, there will be plenty to hold your interest: the Bay Bridge and its new streamlined eastern span, the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island and its notorious former prison. There are drinks (including beer and wine) and snacks for sale on the ferry, restrooms are available, and bicycles are allowed on board. Once reaching Sausalito or Tiburon, you can catch any of the return ferries that are running that day.
A lovely bayside city with hillside homes and a bustling downtown, Sausalito attracts tons of day-trippers who come to browse its galleries and relax by the water, enjoying views of the San Francisco skyline. You can explore its boutique and specialty shops, rent a kayak or bicycle or take a tour of Sausalito’s iconic houseboats. There are also plenty of dining options ranging from Mexican to Italian. Thinking of spending the night? Sausalito has several fine hotels.
Once in town keep an eye out for the Elephant Light Standards. These two concrete elephants stand at the entrance to Vina Del Mar Park and are recastings of original sculptures designed for the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition, held in San Francisco.
Tiburon is a picturesque former railway town perched at the end of a peninsula that juts into San Francisco Bay. It’s best known for its Main Street, home to a selection of wine stores, antique shops and chic galleries. It’s also the jumping-off point for Angel Island State Park, which offers plenty of good hiking.
There’s plenty to do here, from bicycling along Tiburon’s waterfront to exploring the Tiburon Uplands Nature Preserve or Richardson Bay Audubon Center and Sanctuary. Take in a leisurely meal (own expense) at one of the bayside eateries, or learn about the town’s railroad and maritime history at the Railroad & Ferry Depot Museum. While in town don’t miss Old St Hilary’s, a restored Gothic church constructed of redwood. It’s one of the few Carpenter Gothic churches that haven’t been moved from their original settings.