One of my favorite things about the Golden Gate Bridge bike tour to Sausalito is that it lets me take everything in without feeling caught up in the city. This route is one of my top recommendations for beginners who want to see San Francisco from its most flattering angles. Here are just a few of its highlights:
Setting out From Fisherman’s Wharf
I love the Wharf- The sights, smells, sounds, and sea air instantly take me back to a simpler time, and there’s always something interesting to watch. The level route along the southern side of the strait offers a full view of the scenery on the open water — From passing sailboats and the Wave Organ to far-off Alcatraz Island, there’s plenty to see, and this self-guided bike tour makes it effortless to get your bearings.
Rambling Across the Golden Gate
This laid-back eight-miler never fails to prove interesting, even to long-time San Francisco residents. Of course, sailing by at a comfortable speed while motorists sit stuck in traffic is pretty satisfying, but there are also far more exciting things to see.
The bridge itself is a fantastic structure that looks even more impressive up close. If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of a whale popping out of the water below — not bad for a leisurely bicycle tour at a relaxed pace that usually leaves time for photos.
Rolling Through Sausalito
After crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, entering Sausalito is a huge treat. It’s a leisurely downhill cruise to get there, and there’s ample time to soak up the scenery along the way. The green hills and yachts are like something out of a painting, and the houseboats and seaplanes dotted along the waterfront are worth pausing for a more extended look. Most people stop here and take a ferry boat back, and there is even a way to leave your bike behind instead of hauling it back on the ferry.
Still, on this Golden Gate Bridge Bike Ride, I prefer to keep exploring. After the relative bustle of the marinas and harbors, riding through the Bothin Marsh is a pleasant break — It’s cool how you can go from a populated area to a protected wetland in mere minutes. The countless birds that use the marsh as a layover point during their long migrations are also rare sights for a city tour.
Riding around Harbor Point and through its neighborhoods may seem like an abrupt change, but the transition is only temporary. In a short while, you’ll be so close to the water that you might feel like stopping to dip your toes in.
To the Ferry and Back Home
From the gently curving path around the northern curl of Richardson Bay, it’s nearly a straight shot to the ferry point in Tiburon. I love the feeling of seeing Angel Island so up close after seeing it across the water during the whole trip.
Picking up the ferry and taking it back to the San Francisco Waterfront is the ultimate capstone to a great Sausalito day trip — some boats go to Pier 39 and some to the Pier 1 Ferry Building Marketplace. Seeing the entire route laid out while I relax and stretch my legs on the deck fills me with a fantastic sense of accomplishment. It doesn’t hurt that there’s also snacks and locally crafted beers! Watching the inspiring view unfold always gives me great ideas about what to do in San Francisco next.
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