City Sights
- Golden Gate Bridge
- Fisherman's Wharf
- Cable Cars
- Alcatraz
- Golden Gate Park
Museums / Galleries
Family Attractions
Wine Country
Sausalito / Tiburon
Northern California
Scenic Tours
- City Tours
- Bay Cruises
By Food Type
By Location
Union Square
All Shopping
- Outlet Shopping
This Month's Events
Entertainment & Nightlife
Hotels & Motels
All Transportation
- Car Rentals
- Public Transit
Ferry Service
Visitor Information
Order a Bay City Guide
Get a Copy of City Map San Francisco
All Sports & Fitness
- Sporting Events
[email protected]
About This Site
Published by:
Guide Publishing Group, Inc.
2720 Taylor St. Suite 450
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 929-7722

Ferry Service
All Transportation
Before bridges were built, ferries were the only way to cross the San Francisco Bay! Today, boats shuttle commuters and sightseers alike. The following information will tell you how to get to the beautiful places that surround the bay. Remember to dress warmly!

Angel Island
Bay Cruises

Dinner/Dance Cruises
Larkspur Landing

Vallejo/ Mare Island
Bicycle Rentals

Ferry Map

Alcatraz Island
Alcatraz Island has served as a harbor fortification, military detention facility and maximum-security federal penitentiary. The West Coast’s first and oldest operating lighthouse is also located on Alcatraz. Today Alcatraz is one of San Francisco’s top tour attractions that often sells out. Over one million people visit Alcatraz each year. Only 1.25 miles from downtown San Francisco, yet isolated by harsh weather and rough waters, Alcatraz Island's unique geography has made it prized real estate throughout its long history.

Upon arrival at Alcatraz new prisoners were assigned to a private cell and provided with only life’s most basic necessities: clothing, food, water and medical care; anything above and beyond this was considered a privilege. Inmates were required to observe a strict silence policy, only being allowed to talk during meals and recreation.

Historically, many prison riots had been started because of the poor quality of prison food so Warden James A. Johnston vowed that the Alcatraz cafeteria would be the best in the prison system. Following breakfast, the prisoners were then given their work assignments for the day.

There were 14 attempts to escape Alcatraz during its 29-year tenure as a federal penitentiary. Most attempts ended with escapees being recaptured or killed. Although the island is only a mile from shore, there is no evidence of any successful escapes across the icy bay. The prison was the only one in the federal system that touted hot showers—a luxury designed to keep prisoners from acclimating to cold water.

The National Park Service administers Alcatraz Island as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA). Alcatraz Cruises is the exclusive provider of transportation to and from the 12-acre island. Hours of operation vary with the season, ferry departures from Pier 33 are available throughout the day beginning at 9:30am and running about every 30 to 45 minutes. An award-winning 35-minute audio tour of the prison cellhouse with actual interviews of former guards and inmates is available in six languages.

Be aware that to reach the cellhouse visitors must walk up a steep hill. The distance from the dock to the cellhouse is approximately 1/4 mile and equivalent to a 13-story climb. Visitors unable to make this climb may take advantage of an hourly electric shuttle.

For additional information and photographs of Alcatraz Island, visit our Alcatraz page.

NOTE: To avoid disappointment, advance ticket sales are strongly recommended. In summer months and on holiday weekends, Alcatraz sells out as early as a week in advance.

Alcatraz Island
Advance reservations recommended.
Tours depart Hornblower Alcatraz Landing, Pier 33. 981-7625

Angel Island
North of Alcatraz is Angel Island, a former U.S. Immigration station. The 740-acre island, also known as "Ellis Island of the West," was the first stop for millions of immigrants entering the United States from Asia, the Pacific Basin and Eastern Europe. Now a state park and wildlife preserve, Angel Island offers incredible vistas of San Francisco and Marin County. The woodsy island is a popular spot with campers, hikers, bicyclists, picnickers and sunbathers.

Blue & Gold Fleet
Pier 41, Fisherman’s Wharf 773-1188

Adventure Cat
Relax on a two-hour catamaran cruise. Enjoy views of the City skyline, Bay Bridge, Alcatraz, Golden Gate Bridge.
Departs from PIER 39, J Dock (800) 498-4228

Blue & Gold Fleet
Spectacular 1-hour narrated tour of the San Francisco Bay. Cruise under the Golden Gate Bridge and around Alcatraz.
PIER 39 773-1188

Escape From The Rock Cruise
A 90-minute journey under the Golden Gate Bridge and around Alcatraz. Hear notorious criminals’ chilling stories.
Blue & Gold Fleet, PIER 39 773-1188

Ferry Building Line
90-minute bay cruise with three audio tours: Natural History, Native American, Architecture. See three bridges, three islands.
Ferry Building, Gate E. 901-5253

Red & White Fleet
Golden Gate Bridge Cruise. Under the Bridge, along the Wharf, Sausalito, Tiburon, Angel Island & Alcatraz. Narrated in six languages.
Pier 43 1/2 or call 447-0597

Hornblower Cruises
Views, gourmet cuisine, impeccable service aboard an elegant yacht. Dinner dance, weekend brunch, Alcatraz Discovery Lunch, Supper Club Dinner.
Pier 3 788-8866 ext. 7

City Kayak
Experience San Francisco Bay on a kayak. Enjoy the cityscape at sunset, watch sea lions,pelicans, see landmarks, get the best views of Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge. 357-1010

Larkspur Landing, in the creekside community of Larkspur, has evolved in recent years from the central commuter junction for Marin County to a shopping and dining haven.

TIBURONBack to Top
Just 20 minutes north of San Francisco is Tiburon, a charming town resembling an authentic New England seaport village. In 1884 Tiburon served as a ferry terminal to connect the railroad between San Rafael and San Francisco. Today, Tiburon’s Main Street offers unique shops, galleries, cafes and waterfront restaurants with unsurpassed views of San Francisco. Further along Main Street is Ark Row, a collection of restored arks that house a variety of boutiques and specialty stores. Additional shopping is located at the Boardwalk Shopping Center.

Old St. Hilary’s Historic Preserve is located on the hill above town. The church is both a historical landmark and botanical museum. Surrounding the church is a wildflower preserve. Other attractions in Tiburon include China Cabin, the restored social saloon of the 1866 SS China that now serves as a maritime museum.

For visitor information, contact the Tiburon Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, 435-5633.

Blue & Gold Fleet
Pier 41, Fisherman’s Wharf 773-1188

Eight miles north of San Francisco across the bay is a tiny bayside community named Sausalito, meaning Little Grove of Willows. Arrival by ferry is the best way to experience this Mediterranean- style community that is often compared to the French Riviera. Sausalito has a wonderful selection of restaurants and shops lining its scenic marina on Bridgeway Avenue.

Blue & Gold Fleet
Pier 41, Fisherman’s Wharf 773-1188

Vallejo, Northeast of San Francisco, is one of the Bay Area's best-kept secrets. Located close to San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento and the wine countries of Napa and Sonoma, Vallejo has something to offer adults and families with children of all ages, including boating, a wetlands park, and the wild animal shows and amusement park rides at Six Flags Marine World.

Tour Mare Island
1854 Naval Shipyard, 1901 Chapel w/Tiffany windows, colonial mansions, dry-docks. Artifacts museum.
(707) 557-1538,
(707) 644-4746
Vallejo Ferry SF Ferry Bldg. (877) 64-FERRY

Bicycle Rentals
Both Sausalito and Tiburon are easily accessible by bicycle via the Golden Gate Bridge. The ride to Marin County is simple along marked bike paths. Rental companies will provide exact directions, maps, helmets and locks. Bicyclists will encounter only gradual inclines followed by a downhill coast into Sausalito when riding from San Francisco.

After a day of touring, riders return to San Francisco by ferry. The Blue & Gold Fleet departs both Sausalito and Tiburon for Pier 41. Golden Gate Transit departs Sausalito only to the Ferry Building.

Bay City Bike Rentals
Ride across the GG Bridge to Sausalito/Tiburon and return via ferry. Tour the coast to GG Park.
2661 Taylor/North Point (L, 2) 346-2453

Bike and Roll Bike Rentals
Cycle across the Pacific Ocean... on the G.G. Bridge! Ride to Sausalito, Tiburon and more. Return by ferry.
899 Columbus/Lombard 229-2000

Blazing Saddles
Ride bike path over the GG Bridge to Sausalito/Tiburon, return via ferry. Best bikes, best rates, longest hours. Pier 41, Pier 43 1/2, 1095 Columbus & 2715 Hyde. 202-8888

Discounts on San Francisco Bay Cruises! See the best views of the city.

Discounts on San Francisco Bay Cruises! See the best views of the city.


© 2008 Guide Publishing Group Inc., San Francisco, CA
All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.