San Francisco Bay Cruises

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Visiting San Francisco, the “City by the Bay,” and not taking time to get to know that bay itself seems almost criminal. There are many companies that offer this opportunity to travelers, but the biggest games in town are the Red and White and Blue and Gold cruise companies. Both launching from the famed Pier 39, each company offers a fantastic slate of Bay-specific cruises that are worth considering.

Red and White

Golden Gate Bay Cruise: First launching in 1939 in concert with the Golden Gate International Expedition, Red and White’s Golden Gate Bay Cruise is one of the oldest and most popular options in town. Lasting approximately one hour and launching between eight and twelve times a day, this tour takes visitors through all the highlights of the Bay including a journey under the famed Golden Gate Bridge and an up-close look at Alcatraz Island. The company provides a personal audio tour for the duration of the trip which is available in 12 different languages and the boat features a full bar with snacks and merchandise for sale.

Bridge 2 Bridge Cruise: The other popular offering from Red and White, the Bridge 2 Bridge cruise is a newer option that strives to present a different perspective on the city. Travelling between the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges, this cruise lasts approximately 90 minutes and goes through much of the same history and culture as the Golden Gate Cruise with additional focus on the geological aspects of San Francisco Bay as well as the history of the earthquakes of the area. Also offering personal audio tours in 12 languages, this is similar to other cruises offered by Red and White and also includes a full bar with snacks and merchandise. The Bridge 2 Bridge cruise departs four times daily.

Blue and Gold

San Francisco Bay Cruise Adventure: The one-hour-long Bay Cruise Adventure from Blue and Gold offers a totally new “perspective.” This cruise offers stunning views of the city’s skyline along with a projected on board narrative that recounts key facts and stories about the city and its bay. Blue and Gold Fleet is also known as a welcome atmosphere for your furry friends who are allowed on board as long as they’re leashed.

Escape from the Rock: The 90-minute Escape from the Rock cruise offers travelers a one-of-a-kind perspective on Alcatraz. Taking a path under the Golden Gate Bridge before circling Alcatraz twice, the narrative of this trip focuses on the unique and chilling history of this famous island, complete with sound effects.

Angel Island Ferry: Perhaps best known in the San Francisco area as the only ferry to Angel Island launched from the city itself, the Blue and Gold line offers trips to and from the island at regular intervals. However, interested parties can append a 45-minute, 1-hour or 2-hour long island tour to their ferry pass that includes everything from a Segway to a mountain bike as well as a tour of the famous immigration station on Angel Island.

Why It’s a Must

The relationship between the city of San Francisco and its bays is a deep and intimate one that has really defined this city among so many others on the California coast. Offering a priceless view of its skyline as well as a glimpse into its history, the many bay cruises offered in and around San Francisco are great ways to complete your own perspective on this unique place.

Where to Buy It

There are a number of ways you can enjoy admission to this attraction.
Save up to 20% online at Smart Destinations. If you add more than one attraction to the cart, you will get an automatic savings of up to 20%. It’s called Make Your Own Pass.

Pay Full Price and purchase a ticket from San Francisco Bay Cruises either online or in person.
Purchase a Tourist pass. Bay Cruises are available on the Go SF Card and SF CityPass