Fishing Boat Bay Cruises
Fishing boats, a traditional sight along San Franciscos waterfront, usually take chartered fishing trips. Some also take visitors on open load bay cruises. Head to the docks around Jones and Jefferson Streets. Check out Chuckys Pride Sportsfishing, Lovely Martha Sport Fishing, Captain Joes Sportsfishing Charter, Silver Fox Sportsfishing & Tours and Wacky Jacky to see if theyre taking out bay cruises that day. Its as authentic as it gets.
Great 1 Hour Boat Trip Under The Golden Gate Bridge And Around Alcatraz Island
Great views of the city, bridges and Alcatraz. These are views you will never get from land, only by getting on the water.
The tour on the water was a fun experience! Having the chance to get great photos so close to the Golden Gate Bridge and being that close to Alcatraz was interesting. The staff was friendly and went out of their way to say hello. All of that said, my biggest issue was the mass load of people that unloaded from the tour busses onto the ferry. It was fairly full and I believe I was 1 of 4 that spoke English…which is fine, but tough to communicate that I too would like to take a picture. The crowding was obnoxious and frustrating!
We did the Bridge to Bridge tour and it was very relaxing and very informative. Great views of the bridges and the city. Found out a lot of interesting information while on the tour. I will say that the “tour” you listen to on headphones seems a little out of date as it mentioned some buildings being built and finished by 2014 so I think they should update their information but still very worthwhile!
San Francisco Bridge To Bridge Boat Tours
Cruise under two of the most iconic San Francisco landmarks the Golden Gate Bridge and the Oakland Bay Bridge on this beautiful bridge to bridge boat tour as you learn more about Californias most eclectic city in the company of your audio guide.
Along the way, immerse yourself in the citys scenic skyline and its stunning waterfront landmarks! From the spectacular views of Coit Tower and the Transamerica Pyramid to the majestic sights of the famous Ferry Building and a vibrant Farmers Market, this 1.5 hour San Francisco boat tour brings you up close with never-seen-before vistas.
Thats not all as you glide past the waters, you will also have a great opportunity to know about the citys unique natural history, architecture and geology via an award-winning narration playing over your personal, wireless headphones.
P.S. Bridge to bridge tours cost about $44 on an average and starts at 11:00 AM every morning.
As the sun slowly sets into the ocean and the vivid lights take over to illuminate the skyline, treat yourself to a four-course gourmet dinner aboard a 3-hour dinner cruise on the San Francisco Bay. Cruise under the Golden Gate and Bay Bridge and then pass by the iconic site of Alcatraz treating yourself to San Franciscos best light show ever.
P.S. Dinner cruises cost about $156 on average, with complimentary live music and dancing.
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The Original San Francisco Bay Cruise
Launched in 1939 as part of the Golden Gate International Exposition, our Golden Gate Bay Cruise has been a highlight of any visit to San Francisco for nearly 80 years. Cruise along San Franciscos breathtaking waterfront, under the majestic Golden Gate Bridge, and loop closely around notorious Alcatraz Island. On our Golden Gate Bay Cruise, youll discover the citys colorful history and world-famous landmarks with personal headphone audio in 16 languages. During the Golden Gate Bay Cruise, you may also experience up-close wildlife encounters including seagulls, pelicans, and sea lions. At times, you may see even harbor porpoises and whales, so be alert!
Departing from the heart of historic Fishermans Wharf at Pier 43½, cruise alongside San Franciscos remarkable cityscape and view the lively neighborhood of North Beach, the famous swimming clubs of Aquatic Park, the historic vessels moored at Hyde Street Pier, the San Francisco Maritime National Park, and numerous other exciting sights along the way.
As you head west towards the Golden Gate Bridge, youll view Fort Mason and the Marina District, which was damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Next, take in views of Crissy Field and the lush hillsides of the Presidio both former Army installations that are now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Dont miss incredible photo opportunities while cruising directly under the massive 4,200-foot long, 746-foot high span of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Sunset Bay Tours Of San Francisco
As an alternative to our daytime sightseeing cruises, enjoy sunset and twilight views when sailing San Francisco Bay aboard our relaxed 2-hour California Sunset CruiseSM from Spring to Fall, or the California Twilight CruiseSM in winter.
Included in the price of our evening tours are hearty appetizers from the buffet, a beer, wine or soda, and live guitar music, giving you a perfect opportunity to end your day while sharing drinks with friends aboard the boat in a casual atmosphere. Along the way, check out the stunning beauty of the San Francisco skyline, as you sail past Alcatraz Island, the Golden Gate Bridge, Angel Island, and the charming towns of Tiburon, Sausalito and Belvedere, where breath-taking mansions line the steep cliffs of Richardson Bay.
Our knowledge of the San Francisco Bay area is unsurpassed by other tour companies – Red and WhiteSM is the original guide of all San Francisco Bay cruises. But we don’t just offer bay cruises. Once you’ve seen San Francisco from the bay, join us for a hop-on hop-off bus tour and many other land-based adventures. .
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San Francisco Bay Cruises
Before you book a bay cruise, check to see if there are discounted tickets at Goldstar.com. Often the one-hour bay cruises are available for half-price, and sometimes the other cruises, too.
Goldstar also has lots of half-priced tickets for other SF attractions and events. I always check with them first before I get tickets for activities in San Francisco and the surrounding areas. It’s free to join, then you can see what they’ve got. See Goldstar.com.
Three different companies have boats that do the one hour cruise that starts at Fisherman’s Wharf, sails out and under the Golden Gate Bridge, then circles Alcatraz and returns to the dock.
The views of the city and bay are spectacular, and sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge is one of those OMG experiences. Prices are reasonable, too, especially with the smaller fishing boats, and the discounts available on the other cruises.
A Look Around The Ferry
The Golden Gate Bay Cruise has both indoor and outdoor seating. On the top deck, there is outdoor seating all along the boat. There is also quite a bit of seating in the back.
You will also find plenty of seating inside.
Even when you are inside, you can get some great views of the SF attractions on this tour.
Overall, you will find plenty of seating. Many people roam around the boat looking at all the different waterfront attractions along the way.
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Boat Trips From San Francisco
One of the that can be made by boat in San Francisco is to the infamous island of . With this exciting tour, you will discover what was the most important prison in .
If you have enough time in the city, you can also make a very pleasant trip across the bay to visit the beautiful coastal town of . This haven of peace and tranquillity has attracted many celebrities who have set up homes here to escape the spotlight.
Elegant Sightseeing & Dining Cruises
There is no better way to unwind and see the sights than on a 2 or 3-hour cruise on a large, luxury Hornblower yacht. Excellent service, elegant ambiance, good food prepared by local chefs with seasonal local ingredients, and spectacular views are a winning combination.
- San Francisco Supper Club Cruise navigates around the big bay for 3 hours on Friday and Saturday evenings, January November. The relaxed, sophisticated tone is set by the glass of champagne served upon boarding. Small-plate stations offer choices for every palate. Watch the city sparkling in evening lights from the decks or from viewing windows as you dance to music spun by a DJ.
- San Francisco Brunch Cruise, offered Saturdays and Sundays year-round, brings the hectic land sightseeing pace down a notch for 2 hours. The brunch buffet is loaded with choices, sparkling wine free-flows, live music plays in the background, and the cash bar serves favorite drinks.
- Begin your 3-hour San Francisco Mid-week Dinner Cruise or San Francisco Weekend Dinner Cruise by unwinding with cocktails on the deck as the grand yacht navigates past the twinkling City by the Bay. Its a gorgeous light show. Make your way to your table in the interior salons for a delicious, elegantly served dinner glancing, taking in bay front sights as they come into view through huge windows. Then dance to music spun by a DJ until the boat docks back at Pier E on the Embarcadero.
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Escape From The Rock Cruise
Another cruise that is similar to this one, but includes an extra 30 minutes about Alcatraz is the Escape from the Rock Cruise. It’s a 90 minute journey that leaves from Fisherman’s Wharf and is offered once a day by the Blue and Gold Fleet.
The first 60 minutes mirrors the Golden Gate Bay Cruise outlined above. Once you reach Alcatraz, this is where the cruises differ.
Instead of just cruising past the island, as you do with the Golden Gate Bay Cruise, you will do a full circle of Alcatraz. The audio during this portion also goes into much more detail including information on some of the buildings you can see, facts about some of its most famous prisoners and what it was like living on the island.
Note: This tour does NOT stop on Alcatraz Island for a visit, but rather gives you a great close up view from the water. If you are interested in visiting the island, visit my Alcatraz Prison Tours page for more booking details.
You learn a little more about Al Capone and the reasons why no one is known to have escaped the island. You also learn a little about the Birdman of Alcatraz, Robert “The Birdman of Alcatraz” Stroud and a few lesser known criminals such as Billy Cook.
The Escape from the Rock Cruise is the only ferry to make a complete loop around the island. This gives you great views from each side. This is also what sets it apart from the standard bay cruise.
San Francisco Dinner Cruises
Hornblower Dinner/Dance Cruise. Hornblower, a classy company that provides sailing trips on their yachts, has a San Francisco Bay dinner/dance cruise that is a lot of fun. Sailing around the bay on a yacht, dancing to a live band or DJ, and savoring a four-course meal…like watermelon and feta salad, crab gazpacho soup, chicken cordon-bleu, or maybe glazed salmon, with key lime pot de creme and macaroons, or perhaps berry parfait with Gran Marnier. Delightful!
I’ve been on several Hornblower evening cruises – a very professional outfit.
It’s magical to be out on the water at night with the city lights sparkling in the distance. The views of the city and the bridges at night were incredible, and the food was great! A fun San Francisco experience.
For all the details on our dinner cruise experience, plus photos and maps, see my page on the SF dinner cruise.
The Hornblower dinner/dance cruises are 2.5 hours , for $141.36 per person. For more info on cruise and booking, see Hornblower dinner cruise.
Goldstar.com often has discounted tickets for this cruise check for them at Goldstar tickets. We got our tickets through Goldstar for $96.50 each.
Sad to say, but Ride the Ducks closed their San Francisco operation on September 7, 2015, citing a difficult business environment, possibly related to a new requirement that tour guides can’t also be the bus drivers. They still run their boats in other cities, but no more quacking in SF, sniff.
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Details On Our Golden Gate Cruise Tours
On our San Francisco Golden Gate boat tours, youll find a full bar with drinks, snacks and merchandise at reasonable prices available onboard.
8 – 12 daily departures from Pier 43½ starting at 10AM.
Please arrive at least 30 minutes prior to departure. Boarding on first-come, first-serve basis. Your ticket is valid for any departure time within 365 days from date of purchase.
The Golden Gate Bay Cruise departures between 1:15pm and 3:45pm tend to be the busiest with tour groups. For a more peaceful experience, we recommend hopping on one of our cruise times before or after that time, or trying our Bridge 2 Bridge Cruise instead
Cruises In San Francisco Bay
Welcome aboard the historic Red and White FleetSM- San Francisco’s original sightseeing adventure and only multilingual bay cruise! In operation since 1892, our family-owned fleet provides unique bay cruises from Pier 43½ in the heart of Fisherman’s Wharf.
Our cruise tours of San Francisco Bay take visitors to San Francisco’s biggest landmarks and premier attractions, including the beautiful Golden Gate Bridge and around notorious Alcatraz Island. Red and White’sSM boat cruises of San Francisco Bay not only are spectacular, but also a convenient way for visitors to discover the many famous sights of the City by the Bay in a relaxing and classic way.
After all, our boat tours of San Francisco Bay depart up to 17 times daily from Fisherman’s Wharf, feature indoor and outdoor seating, and have cash bars onboard. Plus, our daytime cruises include exclusive headphone audio in 12 languages, giving you the option to learn about San Francisco history and sights, or to simply kick back and enjoy the amazing views.
Don’t let your visit pass without taking a SF Bay cruise aboard the Red and WhiteSM, the original San Francisco tour provider. For more than 120 years, Red and WhiteSM has offered visitors and residents a variety of special SF Bay cruises, such as sunset journeys, bridge-to-bridge tours and more. We look forward to sharing our hometown also with you!
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Straight To The Gate Access Boat Tours
If youre looking to witness San Franciscos breathtaking waterfront from a different perspective, consider this 60-minute San Francisco boat tour that projects SF icons in a brand new light sailing beneath the majestic Golden Gate Bridge, and relishing in the panoramic views of the picturesque Alcatraz Island.
Take advantage of fantastic photo opportunities with unobstructed views in every direction from Crissy Field and the lush hillsides of the Presidio to the barking California Sea lions sprinting joyfully in proximity to your boat!
Whats more Discover San Franciscos rich and varied heritage via an award-winning audio tour that describes all the major landmarks as you glide past and is available on your smartphone, tablet, or other WiFi-enabled devices, in 16 different languages.
P.S. Gate Boat Tours costs $35 on an average and departs daily at 10:00 AM.
My Experience On This Cruise
I’ve taken the Golden Gate Bay Cruise a few times. Here are a few pictures and some additional details from my most recent tour.
The day I took the cruise was a beautiful, clear day in February. It was low season, so it wasn’t too crowded.
Since I booked my ticket online, I had a printed voucher. Once I arrived, I stopped by the ticket booth to turn this into a ticket.
If you book online, make sure you bring along your voucher. You will also need to exchange it for a ticket. It only takes a few minutes, but you will want to add some time to your journey for this exchange. I recommend allowing an additional 15 to 20 minutes in the busy summer months.
Here is the ticket you will receive. The ticket is valid for 365 days from the purchase date.
If it happens to be raining on the day you originally booked, you can exchange your voucher that day, but then go on your cruise on a day that is nice and sunny.
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Red & White Cruises Highlights
Experience breath-taking views of the San Francisco waterfront, the Golden Gate Bridge, and notorious Alcatraz Island on Red & White Fleet’s Bay Cruises. The award-winning audio tour will tell you about the citys rich cultural history as you cruise past its most famous landmarks. Operating since 1892, Red & White Fleet is a family-owned business and the original operator of sightseeing cruises in the Bay area.
Thrill Boat Rides & Cruises
Some visitors just want a thrill ride especially kids! Big, fast Rocket Boat delivers. Go fast, have a blast! May October only, its hard to miss the yellow and red go-fast boat at Pier 39. Tickets are first come, first served. Hop on, find a seat and zoom off listening to rock music. Flying full throttle on the 30-minute ride, Alcatraz, and the skyline are a blur. Crazy maneuvers are wild. Go under the Bay Bridge, past AT& T Park and see the skyline from the north and east.
RIB sightseeing on a Bay Voyager Cruise is an exciting option. Look for a close-to-the-water, 12-person rigid inflatable boat on Pier 39. Thats your ride! Climb aboard for a 90-minute, often wet, adventure to places you might otherwise not see. In addition to bayfront views, going under the Golden Gate Bridge and around Alcatraz, Youll see sites of abandoned gold rush ships, go under the Bay Bridge, motor into estuaries, to the Port of Oakland and by AT& T Park.
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