Golden Gate Bay Cruise | The Greatest San Francisco Treat

(18 customer reviews)


Last updated on May 26, 2024 4:55 pm
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Chicago is a beautiful city located in Illinois, USA, with many fun attractions. And one of the most famous parts of Chicago is the Golden Gate Bridge. An architectural wonder, this bridge was constructed during the Great Depression and still stands strong today. A Golden Gate Bay Cruise is the perfect way to marvel at the beauty of the Golden Gate Bridge, as well as see some of the other popular attractions, such as Alcatraz Island.

San Francisco is a beautiful city with many gorgeous attractions. You can ride cable cars, visit Chinatown or even go to the Fisherman’s Wharf. But the most popular thing that San Francisco is known for is the Golden Gate Bridge.

This remarkable bridge stands at the entrance of San Francisco bay. It was constructed during the Great Depression and symbolizes American ingenuity and resolve. Today, this engineering marvel carries millions of cars and pedestrians from one side of the city to the other side.

You may be wondering, what is so great about a bridge? With its giant towers, great span, and sweeping cables, it’s been remarked as one of the world’s most beautiful bridges.

A Golden Gate Bay Cruise is one of the most incredible ways to see the bridge in all its beauty, as well as the fantastic attractions around it. A boat trip around the San Francisco bay will take you to see most of the things San Francisco is known for, including Alcatraz and the Marina District. After you’ve gone on a cruise, we recommend you take a helicopter tour over the San Francisco Bay to get a new perspective of the wonderful attractions.


  • Cruise around Alcatraz Island
  • Spot the famous Pier 39 sea lions
  • The view of the San Francisco skyline

Know before you book:

  • Weather does have an impact on the cruise
  • Cruises usually don’t stop on Alcatraz Island
  • Bring a jacket

Side view of Alcatraz Island

With popular attractions and gorgeous sights, a Golden Gate Bridge Boat Tour is an adventure you need to have on your bucket list.

San Francisco Bay is also filled with unique wildlife. The Pier 39 sea lions are a renowned and remarkable sight. Alcatraz Island, the old prison where Al Capone was kept, is a prominent part of San Francisco.

If you’re interested in learning about this island’s history and the prisoners held there, there are cruises specifically based around Alcatraz Island. If you want to see more than just a water prison, most of the Golden Gate Cruises pass other attractions as well and talk about the history of each.

Must-Haves for Golden Gate Bay Cruises:

  • Camera
  • Soft-soled shoes
  • A jacket or warm clothing

If you want to experience the Golden Gate Bridge from a different perspective, as well as the attractions in the bay, a Golden Gate Boat Tour is the tour for you.

Straight view of Golden Gate Bridge from land

With many unique cruises catering to different needs, you will not have a hard time finding a cruise in Golden Gate bay that takes you where you want to go. Sightseeing is a breeze on one of these cruises.

Golden Gate Bay Cruise San Francisco Tour Tickets 2024

The tickets for a Golden Gate Bridge Cruise range from around $35 to $80. That is the median range for a ticket, although there can be some more expensive cruises. The ticket price depends on the cruise type (whether luxury or standard) and what’s included in the trip.


The cruises run throughout the year. Times depend on what type of cruise you go on. A sunrise cruise will usually start quite early to make the sunrise. Sunset tours can start in the mid-afternoon to catch the sunset. Most regular tours will start between noon and 3 pm.

Best Time to Go

It will generally be quite cold on these cruises as it takes place on a body of water. The best times to go would be in the summer months. However, the summer months experience a lot of fog. So if you want to miss the foggy weather but remain warm, the spring months are probably the best for you.

  • Time of Year: The spring months (March, April, and May) are the best time to go to avoid foggy weather. But if you want to go in warm weather, the summer months (June, July, and August) will be the best time to go.
  • Time of Week: To miss the hustle and bustle on the bridge, the weekdays are the best time to go.
  • Time of Day: It depends on which tour you want. There are sunrise and sunset tours. For the best views, we recommend the standard tours that run between noon and 3 pm.

View of Golden Gate Bridge from boat

San Francisco Golden Gate Bay Cruises

With all of these amazing San Francisco Golden Gate cruises, it can be quite hard to pick one. Here we have narrowed down a few of the best ones suited to both budget and luxury needs.

Straight to the Gate Access: Golden Gate Bay Cruise

With tickets for this cruise starting at $37, it’s perfect for anyone who wants to spend some time on the San Francisco bay without having to hurt their wallet. And with the “Straight to the Gate” San Francisco access included, you won’t waste time standing in lines either.

You will explore the beauty of the San Francisco bay narrated by professionals in over sixteen languages. With an open ticket, you can decide on a departure time that suits your schedule.

Side view of the Golden Gate Bridge

This tour goes to some of the most remarkable attractions in San Francisco. You’ll sail past the San Francisco skyline toward North Beach and San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. It begins at Pier 43 in the famous Fisherman’s Wharf. From here, you are taken on a trip around San Francisco bay, where you will see the most amazing views. Of course, as long as Karl, the Bay Area fog stays away.

The cruise will pass by Fort Mason, the Great Meadow, Marina District, and the Golden Gate Bridge. If you haven’t taken any pictures yet, the last attraction on the itinerary is perfect for a photo opportunity. The impressive Golden Gate Bridge in the background of a selfie is an Instagram story that will surely make your friends jealous.

After this, you’ll travel past the wildlife reserves of the Marin Headlands and the legendary town of Sausalito, home to the 1960s flower generation. A pass-by of Angel Island State Park and the infamous Alcatraz island is next. And you’ll end the tour by going past the San Francisco Bay Bridge and Pier 39. Be sure to catch those sea lions on camera.

View of the Golden Gate Bridge in the fog

What we liked: The many different places that are seen on the cruise.

  • One Hour Cruise
  • Multilingual Audio-Guide in 16 Languages
  • “Straight to the Gate” Access

  • Gratuities
  • Food and Drinks

With gorgeous views and a fun narrated cruise ride, you can experience the wonder of the Golden Gate Bridge. The other attractions on the way are just a bonus.

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San Francisco Bay Sunset Cruise by Luxury Catamaran

View of the Golden Gate Bridge at sunset

With tickets for this cruise starting at $77, it’s a true luxury ride around Golden Gate Bay as the sun sets.

Pass by the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, and Sausalito on this relaxing 90-minute luxury catamaran sunset cruise. You will see some remarkable sights, beautiful wildlife, and the sun dip below the bay.

You’ll receive a complimentary drink and be able to lounge in the protected viewing area that offers a 360-degree panoramic bay view. If you’re feeling adventurous, there are canvas trampoline nets for those who want to experience the fantastic sights in the fresh air.

An audio guide in seven languages will tell you about the attractions you’ll see on the cruise. Sail past the infamous Alcatraz Island while the audio guide tells you about the island’s history and its prisoners. Sausalito is also one of the attractions you’ll be seeing. It’s known for its historic Richardson Bay houseboat community built by artists and other free spirits after World War II.

Of course, there’s Pier 39, known for its sea lions affectionately dubbed “Sea Lebrities”. It’s been rumored that rent in San Francisco is so high that 400 seals have to share one dock. That’s how many sea lions are in this area. So give them a supportive “arf” as you pass by because anyone with 400 roommates needs some support.

Aerial view of the Golden Gate Bridge over the water

What we liked: The sea lions and all the gorgeous wildlife.

  • View of Alcatraz, Sausalito and Pier 39 Sea Lions
  • One Complimentary Drink
  • One and a Half Hour Cruise

  • Food and Drinks
  • Gratuities

Once you take a trip around the San Francisco bay, you’ll never want to leave. With adorable sea lions and gorgeous vistas, a San Francisco Bay Cruise will convince you of the beauty of the city and its Golden Gate Bridge.

After you’ve added this tour to your list, you’re probably wondering what else you can do. After a relaxing tour of the bay, we recommend an AT&T Park Tour of the San Francisco Giants stadium. It’s perfect for any sports fanatic.

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8.3Expert Score
Golden Gate Bay Cruise | The Greatest San Francisco Treat
Golden Gate Bay Cruise
With many unique attractions including the San Francisco skyline, a Golden Gate Bay Cruise is one of the best ways to take in the famous feat of engineering. Whether you want to cruise the bay in luxury or tour around Alcatraz Island learning about its prisoners, a Golden Gate Bay Cruise is suited to your needs.
Value for Money
Level of Activity
  • Beautiful views of the San Francisco skyline and the Golden Gate Bridge
  • Learn about the fantastic attractions
  • Spend some time with yourself on the water
  • It can be a group activity, but there's little time for interaction because the narration is through headphones.
  • Food and drinks are usually not included.
  • These cruises are pass-by trips, so you won't be stopping at any of these attractions.

Specification: Golden Gate Bay Cruise | The Greatest San Francisco Treat


Stroller and wheelchair accessible. Service animals allowed


1-1.5 hours


Guided narration, “Straight to the Gate” access


Food, beverages, gratuities


Usually not included


Not included

Suited for

Solo travelers, History buffs, casual tourists

18 reviews for Golden Gate Bay Cruise | The Greatest San Francisco Treat

4.6 out of 5
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    GetYourGuide traveler

    We had so much fun and it's a great alternative for the often sold out tour at Alcatraz.

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    A good team of pleasant, well-meaning, safety concerned, on time operators of both services. Very convenient ferries to return with no undue wait times especially, after the Alcatraz tour. The audio cell tour is very well paced and clear, at times stirs up emotions of the visitor. Nelson Mandela's quote about treatment of incarcerated prisoners in a nation is thought provoking and powerful. I wonder if our management of prisoners will ever measure up to his vision. Magnificent and breath-taking views of the most unique city in the world along with cruising below an engineering marvel – The Golden Gate.

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