Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Culture & History

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Our most recommended Golden Gate National Recreation Area Culture & History

San Francisco: Golden Gate Bay Cruise

1. San Francisco: Golden Gate Bay Cruise

Cruise around the Golden Gate Bay on a boat tour. Enjoy informative commentary, see sights like Alcatraz Island, and purchase food and drink from the onboard bar. Launched in 1939 as part of the Golden Gate International Exposition, this 1-hour cruise has been a highlight of any visit to San Francisco for over 75 years. With 8-14 departures daily from Fisherman's Wharf, you will sail along San Francisco's breathtaking waterfront, under the majestic Golden Gate Bridge, and close to the notorious Alcatraz Island. Discover San Francisco's fascinating history, brought to life through audio commentary broadcast in 16 languages via personal headphones. Look out for wildlife along the way, including pelicans, sea lions, and even dolphins and whales. Sail past the lively neighborhood of North Beach, the famous swimming clubs of Aquatic Park, the historic vessels at Hyde Street Pier, and San Francisco Maritime National Park, before heading west towards Golden Gate Bridge. Enjoy views of Crissy Field and the lush hillsides of the Presidio, before cruising under Golden Gate Bridge. Steam back into the Bay, traveling past the wildlife reserves of the Marin Headlands, and the legendary town of Sausalito, once home to the 1960s’ flower generation. With Angel Island State Park to your left, cruise around the infamous Alcatraz. After a full hour of exciting sights, the barking sea lions at Pier 39 welcome you back to Pier 43 1/2. A full bar with drinks, snacks, and merchandise, including logo wear, is available at reasonable prices on board the iconic red and blue sea vessels.

San Francisco: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus & Golden Gate Bay Cruise

2. San Francisco: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus & Golden Gate Bay Cruise

Make your way around San Francisco with a 24-hour hop-on hop-off bus ticket. Hop off to explore the city's best highlights or stay on the double decker to enjoy a 360-degree panoramic view of the city for two hours. Combine your ticket with a 1-hour Golden Gate Bay Cruise to sail around the famous San Francisco Bay. Golden Gate Bay Cruise Arrive at Fisherman's Wharf and look for the red and white colors of the "Red & White Fleet" to find your boat. Sail past the lively neighborhood of North Beach and take advantage of the bar onboard with drinks, snacks, and merchandise. Admire the famous swimming clubs of the Aquatic Park and the historic vessels at Hyde Street Pier. Enjoy idyllic views of Crissy Field and The Presidio of San Francisco before the stunning image of the Golden Gate Bridge comes into view. Cruise straight under the bridge as the sun shines and waves lap against the boat. Travel past the wildlife reserves of the Marin Headlands to reach the shores of Sausalito, once home to the Flower Children. With Angel Island State Park to your left, finish your cruise outside the infamous Alcatraz prison. Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Exchange your voucher at any of the bus stops and get ready to discover the city of San Francisco. Discover local parks and architecture as you listen to the digital commentary, available in 10 languages. The route of the hop-on hop-off bus includes stops at iconic landmarks from Fisherman’s Wharf, Union Square, Golden Gate Bridge, and Little Italy. This flexible approach to sightseeing allows you to enjoy your day at your own pace.

San Francisco: Small-Group Sonoma Wine Tour with Tastings

3. San Francisco: Small-Group Sonoma Wine Tour with Tastings

Discover Sonoma Valley and some of its best wines on this small-group, full-day tour. Learn about the history and traditions of winemaking in the region from your expert guide and taste wines from 3 wineries. Your adventure begins with a pick-up from your hotel/accommodation in downtown San Francisco. Get to know your travel companions for the day as you head out of town and across the Golden Gate Bridge. Learn about the region from your friendly and knowledgeable guide and sample many of the delicious wines that have made Northern California a world-renowned wine-producing region. Travel with a small group (limited to 13 people) to three of Sonoma's finest boutique wineries and spend approximately one hour at each winery. This journey also includes a stop in scenic Sausalito, a stop at the Golden Gate Bridge, and a lunch stop (lunch not included) in the historic town of Sonoma where you can select from one of the many fantastic restaurants on the square. If you’re feeling adventurous, take a walk into the past at Mission San Francisco Solano. After the final winery stop of the day, relax as your guide drives you back to your accommodation in San Francisco.

San Francisco: Greater Bay Area Seaplane Tour

4. San Francisco: Greater Bay Area Seaplane Tour

This 45 minute flight includes all the sights described in the Golden Gate Tour flight, but brings you the additional delights of the Bay Area’s dramatic coastline. This flight will begin with a take off from the sea base in the lovely bayside village of Sausalito just across the Golden Gate Bridge. You will then fly right over the Golden Gate National Reserve and out along the coast beyond the Golden Gate. This coastline has been sculpted by fantastic geologic forces over hundreds of millions of years, making the San Francisco Bay Area one of the most active seismic zones in the world. Fly out to the wide, sandy beaches of Stinson Beach, then over the majestic and ancient redwoods of Muir Woods and finally back over the legendary Golden Gate Bridge itself. Then, continue on above Crissy Field, downtown San Francisco, AT&T Park - home of the Major League Baseball World Champion the San Francisco Giants and over the infamous island prison of Alcatraz. Finally, your flight will be completed with a pass by the historic Angel Island - the immigrant gateway to the west and a smooth landing back in Sausalito’s Richardson Bay. At checkout, you may choose to meet your tour at the Seaplane Base in Mill Valley or you may choose to book a roundtrip shuttle service from Fisherman's Wharf.

San Francisco: Private Muir Woods and Sausalito Tour

5. San Francisco: Private Muir Woods and Sausalito Tour

Escape the busy city life and head to Muir Woods National Monument to spend a half-day on a privately guided tour of one of the only groves of historic coastal redwoods in the area. Stop in the seaside village of Sausalito where you’ll see stunning views of San Francisco. Choose from a morning or afternoon tour and begin your coastal journey by getting picked up at your hotel, accommodation, or any other location of your choice in San Francisco. Head north across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge for the 30-minute drive to Muir Woods. Along the way, learn about the historic old-growth coastal redwood trees (Sequoia Sempervirens).  Once you reach the park, you and your group will have about an hour and a half to wander, hike, and witness the magnificence of some of the tallest and oldest trees in the world on your own. Afterward, drive to the quaint, seaside town of Sausalito for a one hour stop to explore and take in some of the best views of San Francisco. From Sausalito, your tour guide will drop you off back to your hotel, accommodation, or elsewhere in San Francisco.

Guided Private Wine Tour to Napa and Sonoma Wine Country

6. Guided Private Wine Tour to Napa and Sonoma Wine Country

Embark on a wine tasting adventure with a local, expert guide on a one-of-a-kind private wine tour to Napa and Sonoma Wine Country. Enjoy the exclusivity of having a tour guide and vehicle all to yourself and your group. Enjoy the convenience of getting picked up at your accommodation or a location in San Francisco, Marin, Sonoma or Napa. Your experienced tour guide will work with you to create a customized itinerary (see sample itinerary) that suits your exact interests and preferences as well as your budget. Typically, you and your group will visit 3-4 wineries depending on travel time, where you would like to go, and how much time you would like to spend at each location. With over 1000 wineries to choose from, your group will not be short on options. Explore endless possibilities from family-run operations with rustic tasting rooms or a larger winery with gorgeous landscaped gardens. You can even do a cave tour for an additional cost and elevate your wine country adventure. Discover the many scenic towns in Napa or Sonoma or both that offer lunch options to satisfy all tastes and preferences.  Relax and reflect on your day as you get dropped off at your preferred drop-off point in Marin, Sonoma, Napa, or San Francisco.

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What people are saying about Golden Gate National Recreation Area

We enjoyed the tastings. Our guide, Mark, was superb in his knowledge of the wine country and history of San Francisco. We also treasured the visits to Sonoma and Sausolito.

Was a great attraction for a 1st timer to the city. Gives you a good veiw of the city and alcatraz from a different point of view.

Easy ticket on line and boarding . Fun safe cruise We loved spacious seating and view . I will do it again

Great views. Gets a little windy so bundle up and hold on to your hat!

I liked the audio tour. It was so informational and interesting