Can You Drive to Sausalito? Options and Scenic Views


Sausalito, a charming waterfront town, is just a short distance from San Francisco, making it an ideal day trip destination. The journey between these two iconic locations is not only convenient but also offers breathtaking views of the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. With a variety of transportation options available, travelers can easily explore the best of both cities.

Key Points

  • Sausalito is easily accessible from San Francisco by car, ferry, bike, or public transit
  • Choosing the best mode of transportation depends on personal preferences and time constraints
  • Proper planning ensures a smooth and enjoyable travel experience

The Golden Gate Gateway: Driving and Beyond

Driving across the Golden Gate Bridge is a quintessential San Francisco experience. The 1.7-mile span connects the city to Marin County, providing a direct route to Sausalito. As you cross the bridge, take in the stunning views of the bay, Alcatraz Island, and the San Francisco skyline. Once in Sausalito, you’ll find ample parking options along Bridgeway and in nearby lots.

For a more scenic drive, consider taking the Alexander Avenue exit just before the bridge. This route winds through the Marin Headlands, offering panoramic vistas of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Pacific Ocean. You can also stop at Vista Point, a popular viewpoint on the north side of the bridge, before descending into Sausalito.

Navigating San Francisco: Starting Points for Your Journey

When starting your journey from San Francisco, popular departure points include Union Square and the Civic Center. These central locations offer easy access to the Golden Gate Bridge via public transportation or ride-sharing services. The Salesforce Transit Center, a hub for regional transit, also provides connections to Golden Gate Transit buses that serve Sausalito.

To reach the bridge from various points in the city, you can take advantage of San Francisco’s extensive public transportation network. The MUNI system offers several bus routes that connect to the bridge, while the historic streetcars and cable cars provide a unique way to navigate the city’s steep hills.

The Ferry Experience: A Maritime Route to Sausalito

For a more leisurely and scenic approach to Sausalito, consider taking a ferry from the Ferry Building or Fisherman’s Wharf. The Blue & Gold Fleet operates regular ferry services, offering stunning views of San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz Island, and Angel Island along the way. Other ferry companies, such as Golden Gate Ferry, also provide service to Sausalito.

The ferry ride takes approximately 30 minutes, allowing you to relax and enjoy the fresh sea breeze. Upon arrival in Sausalito, you’ll be just steps away from the town’s main attractions, including the charming shops and restaurants along Bridgeway.

Cycling to Sausalito: A Guide to Bike Rentals and Routes

Biking to Sausalito is a popular choice for adventurous travelers. Numerous bike rental companies, such as Blazing Saddles and Bay City Bike, are located near Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf. After renting your bike, follow the clearly marked bike path that leads to the Golden Gate Bridge.

Cycling across the bridge is an unforgettable experience, offering unparalleled views of the bay and the city skyline. Once you reach the north side of the bridge, follow the signs to Sausalito, which is a short downhill ride away. If you prefer not to bike back to San Francisco, you can return by ferry with your rented bike.

Public Transit Options: Golden Gate Transit and Commuter Buses

Golden Gate Transit operates a network of buses that provide direct service from San Francisco to Sausalito. These comfortable commuter buses depart from various locations in the city, including the Salesforce Transit Center and the Civic Center. The journey takes approximately 30-40 minutes, depending on traffic conditions.

When taking the bus, pay attention to the route number and destination to ensure you board the correct one. The Bridgeway bus stop in downtown Sausalito is the most convenient for accessing the town’s main attractions. Keep in mind that some routes may stop at the Spencer Avenue off-ramp, which is a bit farther from the center of town.

The Charm of Sausalito: Attractions and Landmarks

Once you arrive in Sausalito, take time to explore the picturesque streets and hidden gems. Bridgeway, the town’s main thoroughfare, is lined with boutique shops, art galleries, and waterfront restaurants. Stroll along the bay, taking in the views of the San Francisco skyline and the boats bobbing in the harbor.

For a deeper dive into Sausalito’s history, visit the Marinship area, which played a significant role in World War II shipbuilding. The nearby San Francisco Bay Model offers a fascinating look at the bay’s tidal patterns and water flow. When it’s time to relax, head to one of the local parks, such as Yee Tock Chee Park or Tiffany Beach, and soak up the laid-back atmosphere.

Ride-Sharing and Taxis: Uber and Lyft as Flexible Alternatives

If you prefer a more flexible and direct mode of transportation, ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft are readily available in San Francisco and Sausalito. These apps allow you to request a ride at any time, providing a convenient alternative to driving or public transit.

When using ride-sharing services, be aware of potential surge pricing during peak travel times. It’s also a good idea to check the estimated fare before requesting a ride to avoid any surprises. Taxis are another option, although they may be less readily available in Sausalito compared to San Francisco.


Can you drive from San Francisco to Sausalito?

Yes, driving from San Francisco to Sausalito is a popular and straightforward option. Simply cross the Golden Gate Bridge and follow the signs to Sausalito, which is just a short distance from the north end of the bridge.

What are the best places to rent a bike in San Francisco for a trip to Sausalito?

Several bike rental companies, such as Blazing Saddles and Bay City Bike, are located near popular tourist areas like Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf. These companies offer a variety of bike types and rental durations to suit your needs.

How does the ferry service between San Francisco and Sausalito operate?

Ferry companies, including Blue & Gold Fleet and Golden Gate Ferry, operate regular services between San Francisco and Sausalito. Ferries depart from the Ferry Building and Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, offering scenic views of the bay during the 30-minute journey.

What public transit options are available for traveling to Sausalito?

Golden Gate Transit operates a network of buses that provide direct service from various locations in San Francisco to Sausalito. These comfortable commuter buses are an affordable and convenient option for travelers without a car.

Are there any parking considerations when driving to Sausalito?

Sausalito offers ample parking options along Bridgeway and in nearby lots. However, during peak tourist seasons, parking can become more limited. It’s a good idea to arrive early or be prepared to walk a short distance from your parking spot to the main attractions.


About the author

Liz Wegerer is a respected writer and content strategist with decades of experience, establishing herself as an authority in travel writing, particularly about San Francisco. Her editorial skills have been honed through diverse roles, such as being the editor-in-chief of a digital magazine in London and a lead journalist for an international competition in the Caribbean. This broad expertise allows her to craft compelling stories that highlight San Francisco’s iconic sights, diverse neighborhoods, and cultural vibrancy.