The San Francisco Bay is one of the most beautiful locations in the world, and this is a banner year to see it. The Golden Gate Bridge turned 75 on May 27, marking the day in 1937 when “the bridge that couldn’t be built” officially opened to worldwide acclaim. In addition, San Francisco will welcome the U.S. return of the America’s Cup in 2013, with the first of the qualifying matches in August. This is the first time the race has taken place in San Francisco, and race officials have taken advantage of the bay’s unique geography so that, for the first time ever, the competition can be seen from land.
Here are a few ways to get on the water and enjoy the bay:
San Francisco Bay Ferry Rides
There are numerous ferries that traverse the San Francisco waterfront. The Alameda/Oakland Ferry costs just $6.25 for a one-way ticket and conveniently departs from San Francisco’s Ferry Building, with occasional departures from Pier 41 (adjacent to famed Pier 39), taking passengers to Oakland’s Jack London Square. The ferry also services AT&T Park during Giants games as well as the Angel Island nature conservancy.
Red & White Fleet
For a more formalized tour, complete with narrative in 12 languages, visitors won’t want to miss the Red & White Fleet. The family-owned fleet started operation in 1892 and is still operating today. Red & White Fleet offers a number of passenger sailings, all departing from Pier 43 ½, including the original, one-hour Golden Gate Bay Cruise, which starts at $26 per person.
Scow Schooner Alma
Long before the Golden Gate Bridge welcomed visitors to San Francisco, scow schooners traversed the bay, hauling goods and passengers. Today, the 60-foot Alma, the last schooner of her kind, makes her home at the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. She now makes regular sailings during summer and fall, with sailings starting at $40 per person. Along the way, a National Park Service guide recounts the city’s early history, bringing to life the Spanish explorers, Gold Rush, Barbary Coast and the great earthquake of 1906.
If high-speed thrills are more to your liking, the San Francisco Bay can accommodate. The 127-passenger RocketBoat is a dual-engine speed boat that tops out at about 44 knots. The 30-minute thrill ride includes some narration by the captain, but is largely punctuated by a classic rock soundtrack. RocketBoats launch daily between May and October; tickets start at $24 per person.
The USA 76 was used by Oracle Racing during the 2003 America’s Cup challenge matches and won 21 of 33 races on her way through the Louis Vuitton challenger series. She now sets sail four times a week, at 10:30 a.m. from Pier 39. The 2 ½-hour experience costs $129 for adults.
There’s never been a better time to visit San Francisco, which is a hub city for several of the RV trips we offer. Our trip consultants will plan the perfect trip, beginning or ending in San Francisco. Give them a call at 800-247-0970,