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Hop Aboard and Enjoy an Experience of a Lifetime With the San Francisco Bay Cruises

By Kacey M. Bradley
Lifestyle Blogger and Freelance Writer The Drifter Collective

San Francisco is a city of hills. And from every hilltop there’s a glimpse of blue. Surrounded by the bay on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other, water is one of the iconic features of this beautiful city. Thats why every San Francisco vacation should include a cruise.

Your appreciation of the city won’t be complete until you view it from outside its borders. And the stunning water vistas, the foggy red bridge, the rocky hills leading to Oakland and Marin County - these are as much a piece of San Francisco as its famous streets and buildings. Every city has river cruises, but there’s no experience like a gorgeous cruise along the San Francisco Bay.

The Best View of the Golden Gate Bridge

Whether from the opening credits of 90s sitcom Full House, or a postcard sent from a friend, everyone thinks of the Golden Gate Bridge when they think of San Francisco. But while it often appears vividly red in photographs, in person the bridge is often partially obscured in fog. So how do you get the best view and the best photograph for your memories? You certainly don’t want to take pictures while you’re driving, and being on it won’t give you the best sights anyway.

Instead, sail along the bridge on the Golden Gate Bay Cruise. Gazing up at this marvel of suspension gives you the best angle from which to appreciate and capture its beauty. This cruise also circles infamous Alcatraz Island, which is a great way to see the former prison without going on a separate tour. You’re also sure to have some wildlife encounters with pelicans, gulls and sea lions. Best of all, relaxing on the ship will give your aching legs a break from all the hills.

Romance at Sunset

If you’re visiting San Francisco with your dearest one, you won’t want to miss the California Sunset Cruise. It provides many of the same classic views - Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Sausalito - beneath the golden tinge of sunset. There’s no better way to see the city through rose-colored glasses. And that rosy hue is perfect for romance.

Of course, you can enjoy the sunset cruise just as much on your own or with friends. It brings the festive atmosphere of a restaurant to the water with food, drinks and live music.

Enjoy the Water from Land

There are many ways to appreciate San Francisco’s beautiful coastline. As mentioned, water views abound from the city’s many hilltops. But there are also plenty of beautiful spots along the shoreline to gaze out at stunning blue views.

  • Fisherman’s Wharf: This stretch of pier is still home to an active fleet of fishing ships. It’s also like an outdoor fair with restaurants, shops, and activities. Walk through Fisherman’s Wharf to appreciate the bay as a source of income for the many third-generation fishermen who rely on it. Then gaze out at the beautiful views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Marin County shoreline. If you walk all the way around the wharf you’ll discover the most marvelous sight of all, Pier 39, where an ever-changing camp of sea lions sunbathe, nap, and “talk” to each other. This completely free landmark has to be seen to be fully appreciated.
  • Telegraph Hill: This iconic neighborhood is home to Coit Tower as well as some of the city’s most breathtaking views. Go on a self-guided Telegraph Hill walking tour to further enjoy sights of the water.
  • Sausalito: The first town over the Bay Bridge, Sausalito can be reached by car, bike or ferry. Check out its famous houseboats, window shop as you stroll by its many stores and galleries, and park yourself at a restaurant along the waterfront. You’ll enjoy a postcard view of San Francisco as well as the sparkling expanse of water between the two towns. Soak up the gorgeous sights as you enjoy a delicious meal or drink.

Leave Your Heart in San Francisco

The song doesn’t lie. After a vacation in one of America’s most charming cities, you’re likely to leave your heart behind. But at least you’ll have wonderful memories to console yourself with including your San Francisco Bay cruise. You can always come back to sail off into the sunset again.