Don’t Take a Car to San Francisco, Ride a Ferry

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Entering San Francisco by ferry is the only way to arrive. There is something enchanting about a trip across the bay. It leaves you in a Tony Bennett state of mind. Departing the ferry after a 30-minute cruise and a glass of wine, you arrive relaxed, and ready to leave your heart.

Leave your car outside San Francisco and take a ferry. After you dock, use one of the country’s best transit systems to explore and immerse in the city by the bay.

Why take a ferry and transit?

  • Hotel parking at San Francisco is running around $60 a day.
  • You’ll have to pay again to park at or near the museum, restaurant, game, shopping, etc.
  • Traffic in San Francisco is horrendous. Streets are narrow and hilly. There is always a construction project with detours and congestion.
  • While you unwind on board a ferry, you can take in San Francisco Bay’s scenery, have a snack, a sandwich, soft drink, or adult beverage. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available.
  • Taking the ferry is a bargain.
    Parking is $2 per day at most ferry terminals and payable from your Smartphone.
    Fares range from $6-12. Children under four are free.
  • Strollers, cycles and luggage are welcome on ferries and other transit systems at no additional charge.
  • Many San Francisco bound ferries dock at the San Francisco Ferry Building. From there, it’s a ‘no hill’, 4-block walk to the Embarcadero Station. All transit systems are available there.
  • The Ferry Building is a destination itself. Shops selling local food, wine, cheese, and merchandise are tantalizing picnic supply spots.
    Edible Excursions, an exceptional local food-tour company, leads tours of the Ferry Building food vendors, the Farmer’s Market held there, and an occasional special Ferry Building food tour just for kids.
  • Public transportation is inexpensive, efficient, and convenient.

There are three major transportation systems. Get Apps, schedules and ticketing info at these links:
MUNI, providing bus, streetcar, and cable car service.

BART connecting the San Francisco Peninsula with Oakland, Berkeley, Fremont, Walnut Creek, Dublin/Pleasanton, and other cities in the East Bay.

Golden Gate Ferry and San Francisco Bay Ferry providing cross-bay service to all major San Francisco Bay communities.
Golden Gate Ferry operates across San Francisco Bay to San Francisco’s Embarcadero Ferry Building. Boats run to and from Larkspur, Sausalito, Tiburon, and AT&T Park on game days.

San Francisco Bay Ferry offers service from the SF Ferry Building to AT&T Park, Pier 41, South San Francisco, Oakland, and Alameda.

  • Using public transit reduces traffic and pollution in the city and the planet.
  • When you don’t have to drive, you arrive relaxed, refreshed, and ready for a San Francisco adventure.

 TRAVEL TIP: Use MuniMobile to buy a one, three or seven-day Visitor Passport for unlimited Muni bus, train, streetcar, and cable car trips each day. Visitor Passports do not cover BART or ferry trips. The passport is well worth the minimal cost and makes your visit more enjoyable. No need for tickets, change or transfers.


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About the author

Mary Charlebois is a freelance journalist/photographer. Home base is Fort Bragg California, on the Mendocino Coast. Mary’s recent work has covered Mendocino County farms and ranches, many with acreage on the wild Pacific headlands. Micro-towns along the Mendo coast are among her favorite locals to scout for a good story. Each year Mary likes to spend extended time in one region. In 2017 she wandered northern coastal Oregon for five weeks. In 2018, shell be exploring southern coastal England for 30-days.

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