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The Bay by Boat

One of the best features of the Bay Area is the bay itself, and with summer finally here, it’s time to take advantage of the two trillion gallons of water that flow through our Golden Gates every day. Whether it's for a date, a private party, or a family outing, all aboard- here are some of my favorite ways to see the Bay by boat.


The Golden Gate Ferry is commonly used by commuters, but it’s an enjoyable way for anyone to get to or from San Francisco, or to just spend some time on the water. My dad took the ferry to work every day for over a decade, and some of my fondest memories of high school were the trips my friends and I would take to have a "fancy" dinner in the city. Grab a drink or snack from the full bar and enjoy the ride from inside or outside- there’s plenty of seating and spots for photo ops. And if your trip starts or ends at the San Francisco port, take advantage of the Ferry Building Marketplace, which boasts shops and restaurants with impressive local fare like Cowgirl Creamery and Heath Ceramics.

Sunset Dinner Cruise

Companies like Red and White Fleet offer sunset cruises that are completely breathtaking. I couldn’t stop take pictures; even though I’ve lived here all my life, this let me see the Bay in a whole new light (twilight, so to speak). The reflection of the sunset on the water, live guitar music, and drifting under the Golden Gate Bridge ooze romance.

Alcatraz Night Tour

Alcatraz Cruises’ night tours are unique not only for the stunning views of San Francisco's lights in the dark but for the spooky experience of exploring an abandoned jail. The audio tour that goes along with it gives a glimpse into some of the Bay’s darker history, complete with the voices of past prisoners. After standing in one of the cells you’ll enjoy the open waters even more.

Whale Watching

Yet another reason why I love the Bay Area is the chance to go just a few miles off shore and see 40-ton creatures whose family trees go back 40 million years. If you don’t get seasick easily (or scare easily), this is an incredible way to see some new wildlife and learn about our unique local ecology from the tour’s naturalist. Being close enough to a whale to see the barnacles living on its fin is unforgettable.

Angel Island Tour

Angel Island isn’t just for elementary school field trips, it’s an important piece of San Francisco history and a beautiful place to spend the day. I recently took the Blue and Gold Fleet ferry to the island with my grandmother, who was detained on this “Ellis Island of the West” when she arrived from China in 1939, and learned about the long-since closed center and the other establishments the island has been home to over the years. The 360-degree views of the Bay and plentiful hiking/biking trails complete the tranquility.

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