Cruising the San Francisco Bay Area

Surrounded on 3 sides by the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean, San Francisco has a lot of great aquatic activities like boating, kiteboarding, wakeboarding and more. The San Francisco Bay provides a great opportunity for tourists to enjoy lots of sightseeing activities and hop on ships, ferries and sailboats to get to some of the most popular destinations in the Bay Area. The Bay is home to some of the most popular tourist atractions like the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz and cruises can give you the opportunity to get to Sausalito, Angel Island and other destinations in a fun way.

The San Francisco Bay Area is a great place to take a cruise, whether you’re looking for a romantic sunset sail, an adventure-filled day on the water or want to enjoy a full-blown party complete with dinner, an open bar and DJs. With its stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island and the Marin Headlands, it’s no wonder that cruises in the San Francisco Bay Area are so popular. From sailing tours to dinner cruises and whale watching excursions, there’s something for everyone in this beautiful part of California.

The Best Cruises in the San Francisco Bay Area

A trip to San Francisco, especially if it is your first time, will most likely include visits to popular destinations like Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, The Golden Gate Bridge, Napa Valley, Muir Woods and other iconic attractions in or around the city. While you can’t see or visit all of them by boat, there are some that are even better by water and even some that require some sort of aquatic transportation. Some of the best cruises in the San Francisco Bay Area include:

  • Sightseeing Cruises: One of the most popular types of cruises in San Francisco is the sightseeing cruise. These cruises typically last between 1-2 hours and offer breathtaking views of famous landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, the Bay Bridge and the San Francisco skyline. The best sightseeing cruise companies are known for their knowledgeable and personable guides who tell stories and provide interesting facts during the tour, so make sure to check out the reviews of the tours before booking. Average pricing for a sightseeing cruise in San Francisco ranges from $30 to $60 per person.
  • Dinner Cruises: For a romantic and memorable experience, a dinner cruise in San Francisco is a must. These cruises typically last 3-4 hours and feature gourmet meals, wine & cocktails and stunning views of the city skyline and famous landmarks. Some San Francisco dinner cruises offer other types of entertainment like DJs, Bands, comedians and more. If you plan on taking a dinner cruise, make sure to bring a jacket as it can get a little chilly on the water at night. Average pricing for a dinner cruise in San Francisco ranges from $100 to $200 per person.
  • Boat Parties: If you’re looking for a lively and energetic experience, a boat party in San Francisco is a great option. These cruises typically last 4-5 hours and feature live DJs, dancing, and an open bar. These cruises are a popular choice for birthdays, bachelorette parties, and other special occasions and are popular events to attend for holidays like St. Patrick’s Day, Halloween and New Year’s Eve. Average pricing for a boat party in San Francisco ranges from $50 to $200 per person.
  • Ferries to Alcatraz: San Francisco’s top tourist attraction brings millions of visitors per year and the only way to get there is by boat. The former Federal Penitentiary that was home to notorious prisoners like Al Capone and Machine Gun Kelly is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting the city. The standard Alcatraz ticket includes a ferry ride, walking tour and time to explore the island, but you can also book a combo tour that includes other features like a cruise under the Golden Gate Bridge, a Sightseeing Tour or a Trip to Muir Woods. Average pricing for a ferry to Alcatraz Island ranges from $50 to $150 per person.
  • San Francisco Bay Sailing Tour: Enjoy a sail on the bay! This 1.5-hour tour offers an unforgettable experience on the bay with stunning views of the city skyline and iconic landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island. The tour includes a knowledgeable guide who will provide interesting facts about the history and culture of San Francisco. Prices start at $50 per person.
  • America’s Cup Sailing Adventure: This 3-hour sailing adventure takes you around some of San Francisco’s most famous sights while you learn about America’s Cup racing from experienced sailors onboard your vessel. The tour includes complimentary drinks and snacks as well as a chance to take part in hands-on sailing activities such as hoisting sails or steering your boat around Angel Island or under the Golden Gate Bridge! If you never had the chance to learn how to sail, this is a fun way to learn some of the basics. Prices start at $125 per person.

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