28. April 2022, updated 31. May 2022

Sausalito, CA: the Perfect Maritime Getaway

View on Sausalito, California from ferry

If you ever find yourself in the San Francisco Bay Area, we have a beautiful place for you that is guaranteed to make your maritime heart beat faster. We’re talking about the charming town of Sausalito, 6.4 km (4 miles) north of San Francisco. There’ s a strong maritime feel to Sausalito, no matter where you look, from seafood restaurants and great marinas to even a houseboat district. In the following we want to give you some insight about this beautiful place and why we are convinced that you will love it there.

How to Get There from San Francisco

The easiest way to get to Sausalito from San Francisco is by ferry. There are two different ferry companies: Blue & Gold Fleet and Golden Gate Ferry. Blue & Gold Ferry departs and arrives from the famous Pier 39. Golden Gate Ferry, on the other hand, departs and arrives from Pier 1 (also known as the Ferry Building). Travel time to Sausalito is about 30 minutes to 60 minutes, depending on the exact route. For current prices, it’s best to check the respective websites, but per way the cost was about $13 for the standard fare.

Alternatively, consider biking the beautiful route along the coast and across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito. Instead of doing both ways by bike, you could also do one way by ferry.

Another option is to travel by car, although you should be prepared for an annoying search for a parking space, especially on weekends.

If you are traveling with your own boat in the Bay Area, you can of course also dock directly in Sausalito, there are great marinas, more about that later.

Our recommendation is to definitely take the route over the water, as the itinerary itself is a great experience and you get a great view not only of Alcatraz and Angel Island, but also of the Golden Gate Bridge.

View of the Golden Gate Bridge and a cargo ship driving in the foreground
A ferry ride during the sunset is especially beautiful. © Maritime Affection.

Why Is Sausalito Worth a Visit?

Especially for maritime enthusiasts, Sausalito is worth a visit, as the whole place is very maritime influenced and at the same time has an unusual flair, which can even be described as Mediterranean. Feel free to take a look at Google Maps and you’ll find that all of Sausalito is covered with marinas, yacht and sailing clubs, sailing schools, boating supply stores, seafood restaurants, and more.

A nice way to explore Sausalito is to stroll along the beautiful waterfront promenade. If you walk north along the promenade, that is, to the right of the ferry pier, you will soon reach the first marina, the beautiful Pelican Harbour.

view of the Taj Mahal Houseboat in Sausalito from the dock where it is located
In Pelican Harbour you can admire the extraordinary Taj Mahal Houseboat. © Maritime Affection.

If you continue walking, you will soon cross Dunphy Park where you will also find public toilets. Shortly after, you will reach the Blue Water Yacht Harbor and if you walk a little further, you will find the US Army Corps of Engineers Bay Model Pier, at which the non-profit organization Call of the Sea is located. This organization aims to connect people to the sea and maritime traditions by increasing coastal access and empowering people of all backgrounds through experiential and environmental education on the water. We think the Call of the Sea is really a great project, so be sure to check out their website.

View of the pier where one sailing boat of Call of the Sea is docked
The pier where Call of the Sea has its fleet. © Maritime Affection.

Next, you’ll find more marinas, such as the Marina Plaza Harbor and the Clipper Yacht Harbor, as well as a district where you’ll find many stores related to boat services. After that you will already arrive at the well-known neighborhood of Sausalito with all its beautiful houseboats.

In the foreground you can see purple and white flowers and in the background some of the houseboats
In the background you can see some of the beautiful houseboats. © Maritime Affection.

As you can surely see from this short description of the way along the promenade, you are virtually always surrounded by a maritime environment. You’ll pass quite a few marinas where you can admire lots of great boats and meet nice, like-minded people. You quickly notice that Sausalito has a vibrant boating community. We especially liked that many of the marinas had an open gate even for people without a boat there and you were allowed to explore the docks as a visitor.

In addition, you will pass many boating-related stores, which will make the heart of every boater among you beat faster. A bit away from the dock area, there is even a large West Marine store.

Also, once you get hungry, you won’t have to look far, because you’ll find a wide selection of great restaurants, many with fresh fish on the menu. And if you want to have a delicious coffee in the harbor area in a central location, we can only recommend Taste of Rome, we liked our latte there very much.

The Perfect Place for Some Maritime Retreat

No matter where we were in Sausalito, the atmosphere was very laid back, friendly, and we felt a bit of a Mediterranean vibe there, which many agree with us on. It’s definitely an interesting, maritime oasis that offers a great change from the bustling city life in San Francisco. The maritime character of Sausalito really appealed to us and we are glad we made this trip.

View of San Francisco skyline from Sausalito
From Sausalito you have a great view of San Francisco. © Maritime Affection.

Have you ever been to Sausalito and how did you like it? Are there any of you who have been there even with their own boat who can tell us something about the different marinas? Feel free to write it in the comments, we are curious!

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