In the Bay Area, the best way to travel between San Francisco and the East Bay is by boat. The Blue and Gold Fleet operates ferry boats from Oakland's Jack London Square, San Francisco's Ferry Buildingl (at the foot of Market Street), Fisherman's Wharf, Almeda, Sausalito, and Tiberon. It provides spectacular views of the bay, the skyline, and the port of Oakland. You can't beat it.
Take the ferry from Oakland into San Francisco (Pier 1 or 49). You leave from Jack London Sq (stop in at Heinrich's if you're a literature nerd like me) and arrive in San Fran in about 20 minutes. It costs $5 a person, but there are discounts for kids, seniors and military.
Seems I've been in San Francisco monthly, as of late; so I decided on this visit that I wanted to venture outside the city. We had a car, but decided that taking the Ferry to Sausalito might be the best bet.
It's not cheap: $13. round trip, per person. But, it's worth it. Particularly if you're visiting the city as a tourist. Jump on at The Ferry Building, visit the charming village of Sausalito, and then return to Fisherman's Wharf on a different boat. From the Wharf, you can hop one of the cable cars to ride back over to Powell Street and its shopping glut. Talk about the tourist experience!!
Best thing about the Ferry? Full bar. Yeah, the views are great, but FULL BAR is the key. Views plus Beer equals "Holiday".
For me, this is one of the things I had to do in San Francisco...take the ferry across the bay. From Oakland to downtown the ride costs about $5.50 ($4.25 with military discount) and unveils some beautiful scenery. Leaving Oakland, you will see the industrialized area along the dock including huge ships, giant cranes, and piles of crushed cars. As you get into the open bay, the city of San Francisco appears in front of you along with the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco Bay Bridge. Under the Bay Bridge you will catch a glimpse of Alcatraz, while the other side of the ferry offers a view of AT&T Park. Near the end of the journey you pass under the Bay Bridge and dock of the city pier at the bottom of Market Street (during the day the ferry goes to Pier 39). The entire trip takes just 25-30 minutes, and is beautiful. If you can get on the ferry that leaves at sunset, you will see a unique scene as the sun sets behind San Francisco.
You will have several choices of tours on a boat around the bay. This shot shows a cruise boat under the Golden Gate Bridge.
Bay area citizens used to have to depend on ferry boats to get across the bay, now we have the bridges. You can find ferry boats from Vallejo, San Rafael and Oakland that go into San Francisco at Pier 41. Prices differ, but it isn't that expensive.
Tops on the list would be the Alcatraz Tour our to Alcatra Island and the Bay Cruise that goes under the Golden Gate Bridge.
This is a good way to spend a couple of hours and get some great photo opportunites.
Bring a jacket, as it can get cold.
Buy your tickets left of Pier 39.
Ferry service takes visitors from San Francisco across the bay. In addition to providing service to and from Alcatraz, the Blue and Gold Fleet also runs between Fisherman's Wharf and Sausalito. There is a separate ferry service between Market Street and Sausalito as well.
The ferries are a relatively inexpensive option for getting to these areas. The cost is around $7, one way (as of 2005). The cost of the ferry to Alcatraz is included with the ticket.
Beware! You are not the only one who want to go to the Alcatraz. Lot of people are waiting in front of ticket office located between Pier 39 and Fisherman's Warf. We made a mistake trying to get tickets directly at the pier. It was around 11.30 a.m. and all cruises to Alcatraz were sold out. It was our last day so we decided to take bay cruise instead. Better try to get tickets a few days earlier or try to book it on Internet.
You can exchange the Bay Cruise for Alcatraz tour, ONLY if you'd purchased San Francisco CityPass from Blue & Gold Fleet!! Otherwise, Alcatraz tour is US$16 for adult with audio tour (children under 5 free).
Last departure from Pier 41 is @ 2:15pm. And make sure you get onto the last ferry from the island @ 4:30pm, ELSE spent a night in the prison :(
It's advisable to reserve (call-in or online) your seat in advance for Alcatraz.
Ferries are an excellent way to see the bay that surrounds San Francisco. The most popular ride is of course to Alcatraz. However, there are many other ferries that can take you to various points on and across the bay. You might want to try the ferry to Sausalito. It will take you near Alcatraz and then continue on to the peninsula that is to the north of the Golden Gate Bridge.
We actually took a self guided bicycle tour from Fishermans Wharf to Sausalito via the Golden Gate Bridge. Then, we took the ferry back to the wharf to complete the circle. There are a lot of bike racks on the ferry itself, so this must be a popular choice. By all means, find a way to explore the bay itself. It gives an excellent perspective of the city.
While in SanFrancisco we wanted to take a ferry to Sausalito. The BLUE AND GOLD FLEET takes you there. It is located at Pier 41, Fisherman's Wharf. The prices are $7.25 per person one way and $14.50 per person return. It was an awesome ride to Sausalito as you pass Alcatraz and you have beautiful views of Golden Gate Bridge.
This Ferry is located on Pier 41 at Fishermans Wharf.
This company has many Tours by Ferry ,to name a few.
Alcatraz Exclusive & Alcatraz after dark.
San Francisco Bay Cruise.
Wine Country Tour.
Ferry to Sausalito .
This i the Ferry we went on to Sausalito , a very nice boat ride about 40 minutes to get from Pier 41 to the Pier of Sausalito.
I recommend it it gave you a fantastic view of the Bay and of course Alcatraz which you pass by from a close distance.
I will show our tickets and the prices in the next tip.
Tickets can be purchased at Pier 41 & 39
For Advanced ticket sales Phone 415-705-5555
Depearture times and information Phone
The Golden Gate Ferry is your link to Marin County. Ferries leave the San Francisco Ferry Building every hour or so. The rides are scenic and the trips last about half an hour to Sausalito and 40 minutes to Larkspur. The one-way fares are as follows:
Larksbur $3.25 weekdays, $5.60 weekends.
For more information visit the Golden Gate Ferry web site below.
If you want to make a side trip to Marin County, taking the ferry is the most relaxing way to do it. Ferries run regularly all day to and from Larkspur and Sausalito. Not a car ferry, but you may may bring bicycles.
Blue & Gold Ferry. Alcatraz Island is listed under my 'Must See Activities'. To get there you take a 15 minute ferry boat ride onto the bay, what a thrill. (Click picture to enlarge.) There are also ferries that take you to Marin County (the north side of the GoLden Gate Bridge) to the cities of Sausalito and Tiburn. For the physically fit, Sausalito can also be reached by crossing the Bridge on bike, see my 'Off the Beaten Path' section for more information.