A couple weeks ago, I went to grab drinks with a friend of mine who was visiting from out of town. She told me how she had just come from a Sunset Cruise in the San Francisco Bay and it was lovely. I nodded and thought to myself, “I’m sure that is a fun activity for tourists” as the conversation moved on. I assumed that the only people who took boat trips from Fisherman’s Wharf were those who had never visited San Francisco before, not someone like me who grew up in the East Bay and now lives in North Beach. However, as I was planning a surprise night to celebrate my boyfriend’s recent raise, I had to admit that a California Sunset Cruise did sound like the perfect way to spend an evening. I researched San Francisco Bay Cruise and booked a trip for two on the Red and White Fleet, a San Francisco-based ferry company that has been providing bay cruises to the city for over one hundred years.
When the date of our outing arrived, I was giddy because we absolutely lucked out weather-wise! It was one of those infrequent sunny weekends in San Francisco, where the sky is cloud free and the temperature remains right at 72 degrees – perfect for cruising! My boyfriend, Michael, and I strolled from our apartment down to Pier 43 1/2 and boarded the vessel. The voyage began promptly at 7 and our boat headed towards the Bay Bridge, then around Alcatraz and Angel Island. I was pretty hungry and was pleased to see that there was a spread of small sandwiches, wraps, fruit, deli meats, and most importantly delicious cheese and desserts.
Once I had finished consuming an obscene amount of brie, we went up stairs to enjoy some live music! We took in the acoustic guitar, sipped our local beers (each ticket includes one drink ticket for wine, beer, or a nonalcoholic beverage) and had ourselves an outdoor adult happy hour in San Francisco. My favorite part of the trip was when we sailed around Sausalito, Tiburon and Belvedere. I felt perfectly content as the sun began to set and we admired the boats in the harbor. We could see one of our favorite spots, Bar Bocce – a place we had visited just a year ago when we were living in Oregon and visiting SF for the weekend.
We began the final leg of the San Francisco Bay cruise as we headed towards to the Golden Gate Bridge. Not only did we enjoy spectacular views of the bridge from the water, we also went underneath the bridge and back! The cruise is such a great way to see the iconic landmark from a completely different perspective. We departed back towards Pier 43 1/2 right as the sun was setting to close out a perfect two hour ride. Overall, I think tourists and locals alike would love this cruise. It was a wonderful low-hassle way to spend a Saturday night – ideal for special occasions or simply to get outside and enjoy the city from a unique vantage point!
Want to feel like you own a yacht for a night without the ridiculous price tag? Red and White Fleet offers various bay cruises from 10:00 a.m. (9:15 am in the summer) until sunset (5:30 p.m. to 7:00 pm, depending on the season.) Be sure to bring a sweatshirt because it can get windy out on the San Francisco Bay! Children ages 4 and under receive complimentary admission to Red and White Fleet cruises but need to be ticketed for capacity control. Advance booking is recommended for this San Francisco Bay cruise, as events may sell out. Combination packages and promotions are available. For additional insider tips follow Nancy D. Brown on Instagram and Twitter @Nancydbrown and @redwhitefleet on Twitter and Instagram.
If You Go:
Red and White Fleet (415) 673-2900
Pier 43 ½, Fisherman’s Wharf
Embarcadero at Mason Street
San Francisco, California 94105
San Francisco Bay Cruise on Red and White Fleet review written by Kendall C. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. Photography courtesy Kendall Brown and Michael MacPherson. Kendall received complimentary admission on the California Sunset Cruise tour for review purposes. All views of the San Francisco Bay cruise are the opinion of the author.