Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Sausalito, CA

  • Published 2021/11/05

Perched across San Francisco’s Golden Gate Strait, Sausalito is a scenic city in California with breathtaking views.

This town has a population of about 7,500 people.

It is a popular tourist destination for people across the globe to experience Californian sunshine and the Pacific Ocean, along with stunning and accessible views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge.

This picturesque town is also famous for the Richardson Bay houseboat community built after the lethal World War II by the artist squatters from different communities.

This delightful little town also has everything for you to explore, from fascinating museums to towering redwood forests, delicious food, and wine.

Interested to know more about this city?

Here are the 20 best things to do in the pulchritudinous city of Sausalito:

Relax at Plaza Viña del Mar Fountain and Park

Via del Mar Plaza sits in the middle of downtown Sausalito, just a few blocks from the Ferry Pier.

For an authentic Spanish Colonial ambiance, palm trees surround the triangle-shaped plaza.

The owners initially erected the elephant sculptures that stand sentinel over the square to welcome visitors at the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco.

View of Plaza Viña del Mar Fountain and Park

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After being saved from destruction, city officials relocated them here.

All of the masks in the fountain depict cheerful faces, which will surely brighten up your day.

At the Plaza Via del Mar, travelers and locals alike may enjoy some time in the sun.

Next to the square, there are several seats where pedestrians may take a break and rest.

Stop by the Sausalito Boardwalk

Sausalito Boardwalk

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Sausalito Boardwalk is a beautiful part of the city located at the Bridgeway, near the ferry harbor.

It offers impressive views of the skyline of San Fransisco.

This beautiful stretch consists of various waterfront restaurants, cafes, art galleries, candy shops, ice-cream parlors, boutiques, and much more.

View of Sausalito Boardwalk

Kritsada.S /

You can eat delicious food and other treats while enjoying the view of the ocean.

This delightful area provides a serene escape from the hustle-bustle of the city.

You can just stroll around to explore different shops, cafes, and restaurants while appreciating the harbor’s fantastic views.

Hop in Sausalito Wooden Boat Tour

While on this tour, you will learn about the colorful “Working Waterfront” that makes up most of Sausalito and its beautiful “Historic House Boat Communities,” including WWII shipyards that manufactured Liberty ships like the USS Monitor, a wooden boat center, and art studios.

The walking tour culminates at Boat Lettering Shack, wherein guests may recuperate after the trek and enjoy cookies and tea.

Victoria Colella, a writer and artist from Sausalito, came up with this wooden boat tour in 2003.

She also wrote a book entitled “Sausalito Wooden Boat Tour.”

Educate Yourself at Marine Mammal Center

Marine Mammal Center

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Founded in 1975, Marine Mammal Center is a non-profit organization, and it rehabilitates and rescues injured marine animals and releases them back into the ocean.

The center also educates the visitors about marine mammals.

The marine mammals include sea lions, northern elephant seals, dolphins, Pacific harbor seals, whales, seals, and many others.

View of Marine Mammal Center

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You can take guided tours along with audio tours.

The tours and exhibitions create awareness among the visitors about the environmental challenges that marine animals are facing.

The entry is free; however, the guided tour costs $5.

View of Marine Mammal Center

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Have Fun With Captain Kirk’s San Francisco Sailing

Many people regard San Francisco as one of the world’s most beautiful cities, and a unique way to experience it is by sailing its waters.

Captain Kirk’s San Francisco Sailing has three yachts to choose from, namely the Flying Tiger, the Bay Wolf, and the Osprey.

Seasoned sailors and commanders who have logged tens of thousands of nautical kilometers operate the yachts so you can ensure you’re in good hands.

It doesn’t matter if you live in Oakland, Sausalito, or San Francisco; they will pick you up and whisk you away on an unforgettable cruise.

If you’re looking for a unique and comfortable way to view Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, and San Francisco, this is the tour for you!

Go to Vista Point to View Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

Toms Auzins /

Arguably one of the most famous bridges globally, the Golden Gate Bridge is the main icon of the Golden City, San Francisco.

Sausalito is located on the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge.

On the northern end of Sausalito, there is Vista Point, which offers breathtakingly stunning views of the bridge and the skyline of San Francisco.

You can see the bridge up close from this viewing point.

You can click phenomenal panoramic pictures of the bridge and the skyline to cherish the memories.

People from all around the world come to Vista Point to take in the spectacular views.

You can take a bus tour to go to Vista Point from Sausalito, or you can take your bicycle to view the extraordinary beauty of the gorgeous views.

Appreciate Stunning Views From Battery Spencer

Battery Spencer

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Battery Spencer is another viewpoint in Sausalito where you can enjoy stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge.

It is located on Fort Baker at Lime Point in Sausalito.

It was built in 1897 as an essential site for protecting the Golden Gate.

However, it has now become a popular tourist spot because of the impressive views of the bridge and its historical importance.

It provides spectacular photo ops to capture the iconic Golden Gate Bridge’s glory from the highest point.

You have to hike to reach the highest viewpoint for the most incredible views.

Visit the Battery Spencer to experience and appreciate the best views of the bay area of San Francisco, along with the ever-glorious Golden Gate Bridge.

Go Wine-Tasting at Real Napa

Real Napa is a quaint, rustic wine tasting establishment situated on Sausalito’s magnificent waterfront right at the Broadway Promenade that replicates the feel and aromas of Napa Valley and its storied vineyards.

Decorated with handcrafted plaster walls, iron chandeliers, and raw wood, Real Napa’s copper bar is the centerpiece of a rustic yet sophisticated space.

Wines from Napa Valley’s hills come like cabernet sauvignon and merlot from the Fotsch family’s vineyard and winery.

Wine-related goods and souvenirs, including cork cages and glasses, are available at their adjacent store.

Visit the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Bay Model

Inside U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Bay Model

Dvortygirl, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located in Bridgeway Boulevard in Sausalito, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Bay Model is a working hydraulic scale model.

The Bay Model is a fully accessible model of the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta System.

It is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and is no longer used for scientific research.

The educational center aims to educate the visitors about San Francisco Bay.

Visit the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Bay Model to see the entire bay-delta system in one place.

Visit the Historic Fort Cronkhite

Fort Cronkhite

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A component of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Fort Cronkhite was formerly a U.S. Army post.

It was a part of the San Francisco Bay Area’s coastal artillery during World War II.

Today, Fort Cronkhite is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

It now serves as the National Park Services’ offices and housing.

The grounds except for the house and the offices are open to the public.

You can enjoy a picnic in the scenic outdoors.

You can also spot plenty of wildlife while enjoying the view.

Or you can hike up the trails to Battery Townsley to touch the 16-inch caliber gun that overlooked World War II.

Stop at the Iconic Gates Co-op Houseboat Community

Located by the Sausalito’s Richardson Bay, Gates Co-op Houseboat Community is a cluster of unique houseboats.

The houseboats vary from Pirate ships to homes built on concrete barges.

Different types of “floating homes” makes up the gated houseboat community.

The community was very popular among artists, hippies, musicians, and other people before the 1960s.

Now, the community only has about 38 houseboats, which maintain the original charm of the old community.

Visit the Gates Co-op Houseboat Community to revisit the early San Fransisco culture of houseboats.

Enjoy the Stunning Views at Magnificent Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Jon Bilous /

Golden Gate National Recreation Area is located only 3 miles away from Sausalito in Marin County.

It is the largest national park in an urban area in the United States of America.

This National Recreation Area covers about 82,027 acres of the area around San Fransisco Bay.

It stretches from Marin County to San Mateo County in San Fransisco and includes several towns.

It is a prevalent location for tourists to experience the Californian landscape in its true glory.

This National Park System hosts about 15 million visitors every year.

You can enjoy picnics, hikes, walks, and enjoy various points of interest in the park.

Keep your camera ready to capture some breathtaking views of the landscape.

Try the Gourmet Food & Wine Tours

Sausalito boasts delightful wineries and fantastic restaurants where you can sample incredible wines and eat gourmet food.

Gourmet Food & Wine Tours offers a VIP experience of 3 hours and four farm-to-table courses, with a knowledgable and enthusiastic guide who will tell you all about the local, wholesome produce, and food scene.

The Gourmet Food & Wine Tours are popular among tourists who get to know the local cuisine and wineries.

The tour consists of a ferry ride from San Fransisco, sampling farm-to-table Napa or Italian varietals, a four-course meal in the top restaurants of the bay area coupled with the spectacular views of Angel Island, Alcatraz, Tiburon, and San Francisco.

The tour guide will also provide you with historical tidbits about the city.

So make sure to take the Gourmet Food & Wine Tours when you visit this remarkable city.

Relax at Rodeo Beach

Rodeo Beach

Jon Bilous /

Situated in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Rodeo Beach is a wide sandy beach in Sausalito.

The beach is top-rated among tourists and locals alike because of its accessibility to San Francisco.

It has various colored rocks and black sand.

The environment of the beach is very serene, which offers spectacular views.

There are numerous hiking trails situated along the beach where you can hike and appreciate the beauty of this Californian beach and its golden sunshine.

Visit Rodeo Beach to relax and enjoy the sound of washes crashing at your feet.

Stay at Cavallo Point

Cavallo Point is a 4.5-star luxury hotel located at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge and is one of the most renowned hotels in the city.

It provides exceptional views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the ocean.

The hotel is eco-friendly, and it also offers organic spa treatments to rejuvenate the guests in a tranquil setting.

View of Cavallo Point

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It also provides the guests with an outdoor fitness program where they can work out to keep themselves healthy.

You can also learn how to cook the local cuisine at the hotel’s cooking school.

Along with all these amenities, the suites are pretty fantastic as well.

They have everything to make your stay as comfortable and luxurious as possible.

Stay at the Cavallo Point to treat yourself to luxurious amenities and stunning ocean views.

Attend the Sausalito Art Festival

Sausalito Art Festival is an annual art festival held on labor day.

It is held on the Sausalito Waterfront, where you can enjoy beautiful ocean views and bask in California’s golden sunshine.

The festival showcases fine art and various displays and exhibitions of local artists and communities.

Along with beautiful and fascinating artwork, the festival also features local food vendors that serve scrumptious local Californian food.

You can also enjoy live music at the festival.

Sausalito Art Festival is also known as one of the most top-rated art fairs in the country.

Attend this festival to appreciate local art, food, and music, along with sweeping views of the ocean.

Visit the Bay Area Discovery Museum

The Bay Area Discovery Museum

Rosangela Perry /

Located in Sausalito in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Bay Area Discovery Museum is a popular children’s museum.

Its aim is “to transform research in the early learning experience that inspires creative problem-solving.

“The museum is for children between the ages of 6 months to 10 years old.

The little ones can play in a safe environment while learning something.

There is a lot to see in the museum.

There is also a small cafe on the premises where you can grab a quick snack and coffee after exploring the museum.

View of the Bay Area Discovery Museum

Rosangela Perry /

As a bonus, you get spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Sausalito is an incredible Californian city near San Fransico.

It serves sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean as well as of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.

It is a perfect place to visit beaches, drink wine, eat gourmet food, and so much more.

This Californian city provides the best of both California and San Francisco.

What are you waiting for?

Visit Sausalito, and do not forget to tell us your favorite thing from the list and make sure to do all these things when you visit the city.

Learn Kayak and Stand Up Paddleboarding From Sea Trek

In 1982, Bob Licht launched Sea Trek Ocean Kayak, making it the first-ever commercial sea kayak business in California.

In addition to kayaking tours, the firm also provides rentals and training for sea kayaks and stand-up paddleboards, thanks to its pleasant and knowledgeable operators.

They accept clients from all walks of life and ability levels.

On your own or with a guide, you may discover Richardson Bay’s sheltered waters, the Sea of Cortez, or the Golden Gate Bridge in a short, fantastic paddling and sightseeing tour.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Hiking at the Muir Woods National Monument

View of  the Muir Woods National Monument

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Located approximately a 30-minute drive away from Sausalito in the North of San Francisco, Muir Woods National Monument is known for its majestic old-growth redwood trees.

The national monument is a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area of California.

You can explore the woods to experience the serenity of the impressive environment.

It also has well-tended trails where you can take a walk or enjoy hiking.

View of  the Muir Woods National Monument

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There are many scenic photo opportunities in the woods, so make sure to carry a good camera to capture the beauty of this magnificent environment.

To fully enjoy and explore the Muir Woods National Monument, spend at least 3-5 hours exploring and hiking.

Long walks among the divine nature will rejuvenate your mind, body, and soul.

View of  the Muir Woods National Monument

My Good Images /

Final Thoughts

Sausalito, a beautiful Californian city near San Francisco, is a must-see with views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Pacific Ocean, the fun beach, wines, and gourmet meals.

The finest of both California and San Francisco lies in this California city.

Visit Sausalito, and make sure you try all of these activities while you’re there.

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