Colorful houseboats on the water in Sausalito

Things to do in  Sausalito

Don’t rock the houseboat

Across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, you’ll find a beguiling gem offering unmatched views across San Francisco Bay. With its enviable location, Sausalito, California, is a regular pit stop on trips to Muir Woods National Monument, but the lovely town calls for slower, indulgent visits. Among the things to do in Sausalito, you can stroll the Bridgeway Promenade and kayak among the free-spirited houseboats in Richardson Bay. Check out the Bay Model Visitor Center to see a hydraulic scale model of the bay and local river deltas, and your visit is well-spent.

Top 2 attractions in Sausalito

Sausalito Vista Point

The Golden Gate Bridge is an iconic San Francisco structure that has been captured in countless photographs for decades. For travelers vying for the perfect snapshot, visit Sausalito's Vista Point for views of the bridge and San Francisco skyline in the distance.More

Marine Mammal Center

Get up-close and personal with California’s native wildlife, including seals, sea lions, sea otters, and elephant seals, at the Marine Mammal Center. Known for its rescue and treatment work, the center offers a range of tours. While entry is free, it’s encouraged to book a tour as proceeds go towards helping sick and injured creatures.Note that the Marine Mammal Center is currently closed to the public for renovations.More
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All about Sausalito

When to visit

Like Marin County, Sausalito is blessed with mild weather year-round. And like San Francisco, it’s prone to sudden bursts of fog and chills. Spring is full of festivals, including the Mill Valley Music Festival, Jazz and Blues by the Bay, and the Sausalito Art Festival. Summer is a great time to get outside but be warned: Sausalito becomes a bit of a tourist trap during the high season.

Getting around

For a stress-free visit, take the ferry from San Francisco—and bring a bike if you’d like. In most cases, two wheels or two feet are enough for exploring Sausalito. Marin Transit runs public buses throughout Marin County, while Golden Gate Transit connects to San Francisco and Sonoma County. The seasonal shuttle service to Muir Woods from downtown Sausalito is one of the most convenient transit deals in the Bay Area.

Traveler tips

There’s still a salty side to this well-heeled harbor town. The best place to find it is along Waldo Point Harbor facing Richardson Bay, home of the famous bobbing wooden houseboats. The Sausalito Seahorse south of the harbor is an old-school seafood spot hosting rowdy live music shows on the weekend. Nearby, tour groups explore the houseboats with local guides, and, legend has it, American singer Otis Redding wrote "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay” here.

Local Currency
US Dollar ($)
Time Zone
PST (UTC -8)
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People Also Ask

How do I spend a day in Sausalito?

Take a ferry from San Francisco or ride a bike across the Golden Gate Bridge. Then, explore the Bridgeway Promenade and check out the Bay Model Visitor Center, which features a scale hydraulic model of the bay and local river deltas. After lunch, tour the wooden houseboats in Waldo Point Harbor facing Richardson Bay.

Is visiting Sausalito worth it?

Yes, visiting Sausalito is undoubtedly worth it. Sausalito is easy to reach via ferry, bike, and bus, and it is one of the most charming towns in the San Francisco Bay Area. The waterfront offers unmatched views of San Francisco Bay, and you can take a convenient shuttle to Muir Woods National Monument from downtown.

What is Sausalito known for?

Sausalito is known for its charming waterfront promenade, an old community of wooden houseboats, and the San Francisco Bay Model, a scale hydraulic model of the bay and local river deltas. It’s a top tourist destination and the gateway to the Marin Headlands, Muir Woods, and Marin County.

How long is the ferry ride from San Francisco to Sausalito?

The ferry ride from San Francisco to Sausalito takes about 30 minutes. Ferries depart from San Francisco’s Ferry Building or the Blue & Gold Fleet office near Pier 39. Travel time to Larkspur, located about 15 minutes north of Sausalito by car, is also roughly 30 minutes. Bikes are allowed on either route on a first-come, first-served basis.

Can you walk to Sausalito from the Golden Gate Bridge?

Yes, the walk from the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge to downtown Sausalito is about 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) along Alexander Avenue and takes roughly an hour. Starting from the San Francisco side of the span adds 30–45 minutes. Ferrying back is a popular route if you’d like to get a different perspective of the bridge.

Where are the floating houses in Sausalito?

Sausalito’s colorful houseboats anchor in Waldo Point Harbor, a marina north of downtown and facing Richardson Bay. The roughly 400 wooden homes have drawn artists and free spirits searching for alternative lifestyles for over a century, with parts of the floating community dating to the late 1800s.

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