Don’t get me wrong: I love San Francisco. But there’s so much more to explore in the Bay Area than SF – and that includes the picturesque waterfront town of Sausalito, located just north across the Golden Gate Bridge.
I called Sausalito home and loved having extended time to explore the community and surrounding area; you might be shorter on time and want to pack in as much as possible on a Sausalito day trip from San Francisco. That’s where Sausalito tours can come in handy.
There are a number of great Sausalito tours to choose from, including ones that get you out on the water, immerse you in local history, let you sample local flavors, and even go beyond the city boundaries to one of the Bay Area’s natural wonders: Muir Woods. No matter your travel style or interests, there’s a tour in Sausalito that will work for your itinerary.
In this post, I’ll break down some of the best Sausalito tours available across the spectrum of options. You may find others, but these are ones I’ve vetted and vouched for – and show off the best sides of Sausalito to you. All you need to do is pick one that sounds interesting and be prepared to experience Sausalito in a new way. Whether it’s your first trip or you’re returning to explore more, you’ll have a great time and see why Sausalito is one of the best places in the Bay Area to visit (and call home!).
Sausalito is the traditional lands of the Graton Rancheria, Miwok, and Me-Wuk (Coast Miwok) peoples. With respect, I make a formal land acknowledgment, extending my appreciation to the past and present stewards of these lands. To learn more, I invite you to explore Native Land.
This post was originally published in December 2021, and was updated most recently in February 2023.
1. Schooner Freda B Public Sailings
Sailing along Sausalito’s azure waters is an idyllic affair, to say the least. The breeze on your face, the sound of the waves crashing against the boat, seagulls crossing the bay…
You can enjoy this and more with SF Bay Adventures on their Schooner Freda B, an 80’s gaff-rigged coastal sailboat resembling the traditional tall ships from the 19th Century.
Their Sausalito tours portfolio has options for all kinds of travelers. Once a month, they offer full moon sails, where you can see the San Francisco skyline, Golden Gate Bridge, Bay Bridge, Alcatraz, and Angel Island against a starry backdrop. If you’re looking for romantic Sausalito tours, you might like their Sunset tours– check out their special tour for Valentine’s Day. Sailing is also optimal for discovering Sausalito’s wildlife. Their Marine wildlife sail takes you to Point Bonita Lighthouse as a naturalist tells you all the diverse SF Bay ecosystems and species inhabiting them.
2. Classic Sausalito Wooden Boat Tour
Local author and artist Victoria Colella runs one of the loveliest tours in Sausalito.
Based on the Sausalito Wooden Boat Tour guidebook, the Classic Sausalito Wooden Boat Tour is a three-hour adventure where you’ll discover the history behind the old wooden shipyards and floating docks lined along the coast of Richardson Bay. It’s an amazing tour to see how each historical period and the zeitgeist has made Sausalito what it is today.
She starts explaining the importance of the wooden boat-building industry and how it defined Sausalito’s community. Then, she talks about WWII and its mark on the town and finishes with Sausalito’s transition as a haven for beatniks, artists, and offbeats during the 60s and 70s.
3. Historic Sausalito Houseboat Walking Tour
Sausalito is a walkable town with plenty of views and unique sights. Most landmarks are close to each other, so you can easily visit all of them on foot. Below you’ll find a few guided walking tours covering Sausalito’s most historic places.
You must check out the Historic Sausalito Houseboat Walking Tour if you’re looking for walking tours in Sausalito.
For three hours, you’ll learn all about Sausalito’s maritime history and culture as you walk along the docks and quirky houseboat communities. You’ll be able to see crazy houseboats and explore shipyards from World War II along the way. You’ll even see the oldest surviving wooden hull ferry boat on the west coast!
The guide will also share the craziest anecdotes about wooden boat builders, bohemian artists, and other personalities who call the Sausalito houseboats their home.
There’s also a self-guided Sausalito walking tour you can do on your own if you’re looking for something less structured.
4. Sausalito Waterfront Treasure Hunt
The Sausalito Waterfront Treasure Hunt is one of the best Sausalito tours to book if you come with a large group and want to have a fun experience. This tour provides a different way to explore Sausalito’s waterfront.
Instead of leisurely walking along the docks, you’ll separate into two groups and play a scavenger hunt. You’ll explore and see famous wooden boats and vessels as you search for hidden treasures. The guide offers a flexible schedule and can accommodate your tour to a time that suits your group.
5. Sausalito Food and Wine Tour
If you’re one of those people who can’t visit a place without exploring its food scene, then you’ll love the Sausalito Food and Wine Tour. One of the top tours in Sausalito to explore its restaurants, the tour includes four sit-down restaurant experiences: The Spinnaker, The Trident, Poggio, and Bar Bocce.
You’ll enjoy a delightful course at each restaurant and a sip of some of the best wines. To wrap up, the guide will take you to Pick Me Up Chocolate to sample delicious organic and local chocolate.
6. Sausalito Flightseeing Tours
Sausalito is a beautiful town from all angles. Luckily, the tourism industry keeps adding tours to explore each one of them.
If you’ve already taken a sailing tour, this 60-minute flightseeing tour is worth the try for a different perspective of the charming town. Your guide takes you to fly over the Marin peninsula coastline and above the San Francisco skyline, giving you the chance to see Golden Gate Bridge, AT&T Park, and Crissy Field from the sky.
The aircraft takes off from Sausalito and traverses Marin County toward Tomales Bay. It continues to Point Reyes National Seashore, where you may spot porpoises and whales frolicking in the water, before making its way back flying above historic Angel Island.
7. Sausalito Cycling Tours
Admiring the Golden Gate Bridge on a sailing or flightseeing tour is a wonderful experience, but the truth is that there’s nothing like the thrill of a bike ride across it!
This 3-hour guided tour takes you to bike across GGB and then explore Sausalito’s waterfront. The tour departs from Fisherman’s Wharf, following the San Francisco waterfront until the entrance to the Golden Gate Bridge bike path. Along the way, your guide will share tidbits about SF’s history and its landmarks.
The tour ends in Sausalito, where you’re free to explore its restaurants, art galleries, and shops at your own pace. By the end of the day, you can choose to bike back to SF or take the Sausalito ferry.
8. Sausalito & Wine Country Tours
As the title says, this bus tour takes you to discover the world-famous Wine Country. But that’s just one stop along your journey.
A nine-hour tour, the experience covers some of the Bay Area highlights. Your day starts in San Francisco, where you’ll discover the city’s surroundings before heading to Muir Woods National Monument over the Golden Gate Bridge. For one hour, you’ll get to explore the redwood forest and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. Next, you’re headed to Sausalito, where you’ll stop to enjoy a sumptuous lunch at one of its waterfront restaurants.
Don’t succumb to the post-lunch sleepiness! The tour continues in the Wine Countr. Here you’ll visit two popular wineries for wine-tasting sessions plus an exclusive winery estate tour to learn about Napa’s history and the winemaking process. Now we’re done. Go back to your bus, sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride back to San Francisco.
9. Small-Group Muir Wood & Sausalito Tour
In addition to visiting Sausalito, lots of people who come to Marin County (where Sausalito is located) also want to see another famous spot: Muir Woods National Monument. This area of protected Coastal Redwoods is one of the best and closest groves to San Francisco, so it’s no surprise that it draws visitors. Here’s how to do both – Sausalito and Muir Woods – in a single day on a tour.
Instead of renting a car, making a reservation for Muir Woods, and doing all the driving yourself (the Golden Gate Bridge toll is hefty!) consider the Small-Group Muir Wood & Sausalito Tour.
This tour condenses in a few hours the highlights you should see in Sausalito. It starts by crossing the Golden Gate Bridge to arrive at Muir Woods National Monument. You’ll have one hour to explore the towering Redwood trees and the incredible wildlife.
Then, they continue to Downtown Sausalito, where you can enjoy the art galleries, shopping malls, cafes, restaurants, and yacht marinas at your own pace. Given Sausalito is one of the most popular day trips from San Francisco, you can choose to return to SF with the company or take a ferry, taxi, Lyft, and Uber service on your own.
10. Muir Woods & Sausalito Half-Day Tour
You can also book a Muir Woods & Sausalito Half-Day Tour to explore the bayside town and wonders of the Redwoods. They’ll pick you up at your hotel and drive on the Golden Gate Bridge to Muir Woods, where you’ll stay for 90 minutes (which is longer than most tours), exploring the vast nature and marveling at the old Sequoia trees. Sausalito is your second stop.
Both tours plan for travelers to have a full hour in Sausalito. Same as the tour above, this tour also lets guests decide when and how to go back home. You can also choose to book a return by ferry in advance with them.
11. Muir Woods and Sausalito Half-Day Trip
This Muir Woods and Sausalito Half-Day Trip is another alternative to visit two of Marin County’s highlights.
Like the other tours, this five-hour experience starts in San Francisco. You’ll head north over the Golden Gate Bridge and into the Marin Headlands. You’ll have 90 minutes to explore the beauty and quietness of the redwood forest before hopping back in the coach for a quick ride over to Sausalito.
On the ride to the seaside town, your guide will share Sausalito’s history and a few recommendations you can visit during your stay. The tour gives visitors 45 minutes to explore Sausalito and the option to go back to San Francisco on a ferry ride if they’d like to spend more time in the seaside town.
12. Dylan’s Famous Tour with Muir Woods
Dylan’s Famous Tour lives up to its name. It is a far cry from your typical San Francisco tour. He has designed this tour to show San Francisco’s most iconic sites and the charming town directly across it, Sausalito, through the eyes of a local.
First, they take you around SF’s lovely neighborhoods, including Chinatown and the Painted Ladies, as a guide shares interesting history bites. Then, you cross Golden Gate Bridge (have your camera ready to capture the stunning Bay views) towards the charming waterfront town of Sausalito, where you’ll grab a delicious lunch.
Once you have recharged your batteries, it’s time for your last stop, Muir Woods, the last remaining coastal redwood forest in the world. You can also add Alcatraz as an extra stop along your journey. Just ask Dylan!
Have any questions about which Sausalito tours to take? Let me know in the comments.