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 Boat Tours
Sailing around Richardson’s Bay is one of the most popular ways to tour Sausalito. It’s a nice way to see a different side of this charming town. From sunset sails to informative tours, there are plenty of boat tours you can choose.
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 Islands 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.
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 guide book, 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 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 the mark it left on the town and finishes with Sausalito’s transition as a haven for beatniks, artists, and offbeats during the 60s and 70s.
Sausalito Walking Tours
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. There’s also a self-guided Sausalito walking tour you can do on your own if you’re looking for something less structured.
Historic Sausalito Houseboat Walking Tour
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.
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.
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.
Historical Walking Tour of Sausalito
History buffs will have the times of their lives on the Historical Walking Tour of Sausalito. Unlike the two walking tours I already mentioned, this one traces Sausalito’s history back to the very beginning, 300 years ago. As you stroll down historic Old Town, your guide will tell you about the people who have inhabited Sausalito throughout history, from indigenous people and Spanish explorers to the shipbuilders during WWII and the beatniks in the 60s.
The guide has masterfully broken down each period for you to understand how Sausalito has become the thriving town it is today. Keep your eyes peeled for their Photography Tour! They’re not offering it right now, but their webpage will soon announce when they will be.
Sausalito & Muir Woods Tours
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.
Small-Group Muir Wood & Sausalito Tour
If Sausalito is the top day trip destination from San Francisco, Muir Woods is a close second. 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 boat, taxi, Lyft, and Uber service on your own.
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 let guests decide when and how to go back home. You can also choose to book a return by ferry in advance with them.
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.