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Travel bucket list idea:

Last updated: 26 June, 2023
Expert travel writer: Laura Kiniry

To really appreciate the splendour of the Golden Gate Bridge, hire a bike and cycle across the Bridge to Sausalito, a charming small town and artist colony full of cutesy cafés and boutiques, and a number of art galleries.

This compact bayside hamlet marks the perfect end (or halfway point) to a bike ride. Stop for lunch or afternoon tea, with views back across the bay to the city. Then cycle or take the ferry back.

Even if you don’t fancy the eight-mile cycle ride there, catch ferries both ways. It’s still a lovely place for a cycle and a spot of lunch, including the boat trip across the harbour past Alcatraz. You can also hire electric bikes which reduce the effort needed (notably on hills).

While you're there

Take a stroll along the Sausalito waterfront, which inspired singer Otis Redding to write his iconic hit song, (Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay.

Sausalito’s Venice Gourmet has an incredible delicatessen serving up everything from caprese sandwiches to hot pastrami and cheese. Dine onsite or have a waterfront picnic of your own.

Logistics

Price from: £20
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 6+
When: All year around
Duration: 3-4 hours

Getting there & doing it

The path starts at the western end of Jefferson Street and it’s easy to navigate all the way to Sausalito. It’s an eight-mile ride along the Embarcadero and over the bridge to Sausalito, and takes about an hour, so set off late morning to have lunch in Sausalito and allow time for exploration before heading back to the city before it turns dark.

There are multiple bike hire outlets around Jefferson Street. All equipment is provided, and there are options for all ages (including tandems for younger ones). Bike drop-off at your hotel can also be arranged through most operators.

Ferries run from Sausalito to Fisherman’s Wharf or from Sausalito to the Ferry Building (about an hour’s ride) if you don’t want to cycle back.

It’s a simple trip to do independently, but a number of operators offer guided tours and self-guided tours, offering information and insight along the way.

When to do it

Bike hire shops are open daily, usually from 8am. Closing times vary by season and location – ask what times the bikes should be returned on pick up.

No prizes for guessing that it’s best on a (rare) clear day, though the sight of fog rolling in over the bridge is incredibly atmospheric – if you don’t mind the accompanying moist chill. It’s miserable in the rain…

Who to go with: organised tours

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Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito Guided Bike Tour

San Francisco

San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito Guided Bike Tour
Sights You’ll “Sea”: Starting in one of the only true Fisherman’s Wharfs left in America you will be lead on a journey along the coast to see sea lions, dolphins, military forts, & more.  As you cycle your way over The Golden Gate Bridge, take in the unique topography and skylines that will lead you from one waterfront to the next.  Once over the “International Orange” Golden Gate Bridge, coast downhill into sunny Sausalito where this tour concludes. Riders can enjoy the town of Sausalito and return at their leisure (ferry tickets sold separately.)

Price: $65

Min age: 5

Rating 4.44 / 5 [588 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Alcatraz and Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito Guided Bike Tour

San Francisco

Alcatraz and Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito Guided Bike Tour
Enjoy a two-day, two-tour Alcatraz & Bike Tour Package. This tour includes the official trip to Alcatraz island and a professionally guided bike tour on a city bicycle. Check these two top ten visitor experiences off your bucket list with this package deal.

Price: $179

Min age: 0

Rating 4.39 / 5 [78 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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San Francisco to Sausalito Bike Rentals

San Francisco

San Francisco to Sausalito Bike Rentals
Fall in love with all that San Francisco has to offer as you bike around and explore the area at your own pace. Pick up your bike at a convenient location, right on Ghirardelli Square and spend time discovering all that this city has to offer. Choose an all day bike rental option that comes with helmets, baskets, locks and maps. Bike rentals regularly selling out weeks in advance during the peak season, so book ahead of time to avoid disappointment!

Price: $22

Min age: 1

Rating 4.57 / 5 [19 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Private Guided Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito Bike Tour

San Francisco

Private Guided Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito Bike Tour
Enjoy a personalized adventure and explore the city safely, with one of our professional local guides. Enjoy this private and intimate affair. Your private journey can start at any time of your choosing! Enjoy the same bike route as our public Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito tour. This tour starts from our Tour Center in Fisherman's Wharf, and rides along the San Francisco waterfront, over the Golden Gate Bridge and into Sausalito. The tour will conclude in downtown Sausalito. After your tour you can enjoy a nice lunch in Sausalito, browse the shops, and return back to the city at your leisure with the included ferry ticket. We also offer a Sausalito bike drop for those who wish to leave their bike in Sausalito.

Price: $115

Min age: 0

Rating 4.73 / 5 [19 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Destination guides

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Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

San Francisco

California, United States of America (USA)

Early morning low fog at Golden Gate Bridge

A beautiful bayside city with home-grown authenticity, charmingly unique neighbourhoods and excellent locally-driven food. Home to the magnificent red-ochre Golden Gate Bridge and the world’s most infamous prison, Alcatraz.