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While planning your visit to Sausalito, you’ve undoubtedly heard that there’s a really cool way to get here: the Sausalito ferry! As a waterfront community along the San Francisco Bay, Sausalito is connected to San Francisco by boat. This makes for a really unique experience for visitors – and for lucky commuters who use the boats each day to reach their jobs in the “big city” on the other side of the Golden Gate.
Actually, there are two Sausalito ferries, which can make for a lot of confusion and uncertainty… How are they different? Which one should you take? Where do they depart from and how much do they cost?
These are all questions I’ll be answering in this post, which is focused on giving you essential information about the Sausalito ferry – er, ferries – and how to use them during your visit to Sausalito. If you’re a traveler in search of knowledge, you’ve come to the right place. If you’re a local curious about commuting, you’ll also find what you need here. Ready to set sail? All aboard! (They actually don’t announce that on the Sausalito ferries, sadly!)
Note: This post was updated to reflect the ferry schedule as of January 1, 2024, and I try to update it quarterly. If you see an error in the schedule, please let me know in the comments below.
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.ca.
This post was originally published on my blog Discover Sausalito; it was migrated to this site in March 2024.
Sausalito Ferry Terminals
There are three terminals from where you can catch the Sausalito ferry. Below are your options with a short description, so you know where to find them.
- San Francisco Ferry Building: The historic Ferry Building in San Francisco sits on the Embarcadero Promenade, near downtown SF. For yet another reference, the building sits at the foot of Market St.
- San Francisco Pier 41: You’ll find Pier 41 east of Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco’s popular neighborhood on the northern side of the city. It sits to the west of the famed Pier 39.
- Sausalito Ferry Terminal: Located in Gabrielson Park, the Sausalito Ferry Terminal sits on the northern side of downtown.
As you can tell, this means you can catch a ferry from San Francisco to Sausalito in two places – the Ferry Building or Pier 41 – and both ferries drop off at the same place, the Sausalito Ferry Terminal.
Sausalito Ferry Options
In San Francisco, two companies operate a ferry to Sausalito. Below, I’ve briefly described each one and listed their website so you can check fares, schedules, and routes.
Golden Gate Ferry
Golden Gate Ferry services run from the historic Ferry Building in San Francisco to Sausalito, Tiburon, and Larkspur in Marin County. They offer rides seven days a week and you can catch the ferry to Sausalito and other destinations at Gate B. Check their website to learn about their current schedule and fares.
Blue & Gold Fleet
Blue & Gold Fleet is the largest ferry operator on San Francisco Bay. They primarily operate excursion services to Sausalito, Tiburon, and Angel Island. All their ferries depart from Pier 41 in San Francisco. Their ticket offices are at Pier 39. Check their website for the latest rates, routes, and schedules.
Golden Gate Ferry Sausalito Schedule
Golden Gate Ferry is a popular option for commuters, especially those traveling from Sausalito to San Francisco for work. As such, the schedule for their ferries is heavy on morning transfers and less frequent the rest of the day. Additionally, the last ferry run is quite early, making it less optimal for San Francisco visitors to Sausalito who want to stay for dinner in our lovely town.
As of October 2, 2023, here is the schedule for the Golden Gate Ferry on weekends:
|Arrive San Francisco
|Depart San Francisco
There’s also a more extensive weekday schedule with more options throughout the day, so if you’re not visiting on Saturday or Sunday, be sure to check that. Golden Gate Ferries depart from Gate B or Gate C at the San Francisco Ferry Building, as indicated above.
Blue & Gold Fleet Sausalito Schedule
Blue & Gold Fleet has a slightly different approach to their Sausalito ferry service. It’s a bit more aimed at visitors rather than commuters, with no meaningful morning schedule. Instead, you can catch the ferry out for lunch and back after dinner.
Here’s the schedule for Blue & Gold Fleet through April 7, 2024:
|Depart San Francisco
|Arrive San Francisco
The next Blue & Gold Ferry schedule will be released in April 2024, and I’ll update this post after that is released.
As you can see, there are fewer options but they work better if you want to stay in Sausalito for dinner.
Sausalito Ferry Holidays
While the above schedules are true every day or weekend day (depending on the ferry company), there are a few days neither Sausalito ferry is running. There is no ferry service on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, or New Year’s Day. There’s also a holiday schedule for Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) and President’s Day. This is usually posted on the corresponding website so be sure to double-check the schedule before you plan your whole day or make any dinner reservations.
Sausalito Ferry Pricing & Cost
Generally, the Sausalito ferry prices vary depending on the company you choose and your age.
As of July 1, 2023, Golden Gate Ferries charges adults $14.00 ($28.00 round trip) for a single ride and children and seniors $7.00 ($14.00 round trip). With a Clipper Card, adults can save half the ticket price, paying $7.75 ($15.50 round trip). (Clipper Cards are typically used by locals, so if you’ll be in San Francisco for a while, I recommend getting one.)
The Blue and Gold Sausalito Ferry is a little bit more expensive. An adult ticket to the ferry costs $14.25 each way ($28.50 round trip). Children and senior tickets cost $8.50 ($17.00 round trip). There are no Clipper Card discounts on the Blue and Gold Ferry.
Tips for Riding the Sausalito Ferry
I’ve compiled a quick list of the tips you should follow to ensure you have a Sausalito ferry ride to remember for the days to come. Keep on reading to discover them!
- There’s no cover in the waiting area of the Sausalito Ferry Terminal, so you’ll be exposed to whatever weather conditions take place. Make sure you bring an umbrella, windbreaker, or suitable clothing for the weather.
- Despite being the “Sausalito Ferry Terminal,” there’s no ferry building by that name in Sausalito. You’ll just find a dock next to a parking lot in downtown Sausalito.
- Stand on the correct line. There is one line for passengers with a bike and one line for those walking on without a bike. If you don’t have a bike, don’t stand on the bike line, as the bikers will be annoyed and tell you to move, and you’ll have to go to the back of the walk-on line.
- Don’t confuse the line for the ticket machines with the lines for people waiting to board. Ticket machines are where the ferry dock meets the parking lot.
- Arrive early! Late afternoon sailings during summer and on holiday weekends tend to sell out no matter your destination. You’ll have to wait for the next ferry if this happens to you.
- There is no late-night service. The last ferry service to Sausalito from San Francisco typically leaves at either 4:50pm (Golden Gate Ferries) or 5:45pm (Blue & Gold Fleet) during the winter months – you’ll need to keep this in mind when planning your trip, activities, and meals during a Sausalito day trip.
The Best Way to Take the Ferry to Sausalito
Having now seen both schedules, you might wonder: what’s the best way to ride the ferry to Sausalito?
Here’s what I would do: if you’re visiting on a weekend during the winter/season of shorter days, I would catch the 10:15am Golden Gate Ferry ($14) from the San Francisco Ferry Terminal to arrive in Sausalito for brunch. I would then take the latest Blue & Gold Fleet ferry ($14.50) at 5:45pm back to San Francisco after a happy hour drink. (You won’t have time for dinner if you want to catch a ferry back, but if you really want to enjoy dinner, you could catch another ride back to San Francisco.)
This gives you time to spend as much of the day as possible in Sausalito; if you need tips for your Sausalito day trip, I’ve got ’em!
Have any other questions about riding the Sausalito ferry to visit this little city by the bay? Let me know in the comments!