A travel journal
to Sausalito by gosusan
Quote: Across the Bay from San Francisco, Sausalito is an eclectic waterfront community well worth a weekend visit.
1) Rent a kayak from Sea Trek and explore the Sausalito shoreline, paddle through the houseboat community and the wetlands beyond.
Sausalito is also home to many festivals and art fairs. Sometimes it seems like every other weekend has something special going on. These can be a lot of fun, but the town becomes even more crowded (and utterly impassible by auto). Therefore, I would recommend checking out the city event schedule whether your aim is to attend or avoid these various celebrations.
You don't need a car to experience downtown Sausalito; everything is reachable by foot. As parking is neither easy nor free, and the commute down the hill from 101 is often backed up for half an hour or longer, why bother with the auto?
Hotel | "Rent a Houseboat from Sausalito-Lodging"
...if you rent a houseboat for your visit! Why stay in a nice but generic hotel if you can enjoy being gently rocked to sleep at night by the lapping waves? Wake up to the cries of the gulls and the barking of sea lions. Some places are larger and more luxurious than others, but, by definition, every one of them is a waterfront property!
While local papers and occasional net ads feature properties for rent by the owners, the easiest way for an out-of-towner to secure a berth is to contact Sausalito-Lodging (also known as "San Francisco- As You Like It.") Different properties have different rates, which vary by season, but you can get a quote from them by emailing them at SFO@sausalito-lodging.com with your dates and needs. One of their options, the Purple Pelican, is pictured below. Families and larger groups may find houseboats cheaper than booking multiple hotel rooms.
I have to admit that since I live in San Francisco, I have not stayed in one of these myself. However, I have heard rave reviews from people who have. And I can never go kayaking through the colony without wishing that I, too, could spend a night being carried by the tides. (Also, some boats include kayaks and equipment, so you can do the kayaking tour without having to rent.)
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on March 29, 2002
P. O. Box 735
Sausalito, California 94985
As you might expect from the name and the location, this is not the sort of place to go for authentic, subtle Mexican fare. Think nachos and "hawaiian" quesadillas, and of course, lots of fruity cocktail drinks. But it does festive fare well, so as long as you are willing to enjoy it for its strengths, then party on. Ole!
The food is certainly better than what you get at Chevy's or El Torrito's. If you have a large group of people (at least 4), you can split one of their appetizer samplers (ranging in price, around $18) and still have room for dinner. Otherwise you might see about dividing a large salad to round your meal out. For main courses, they have a huge variety of traditional plates, but you certainly can't go wrong with their Chili Verde ($13.95) or Burrito Grande ($11.95) or Chicken Mole ($12.95). Their sauces are homemade, and I thought them quite respectable. Oh, and order one of their fruit namesake drinks. ($6.50 and up.)
SeaTrek offers a Full Moon Paddle to Dinner trip, where a meal at Margarita's is your reward! Since you'll be burning off a few calories by kayaking, you can enjoy some extra chips and guacamole without feeling guilty. But I wouldn't consume too much booze, or you might find yourself in Richardson Bay!
Sausalito, California 94965
While the The Ka'iulani, a fore and aft rigged vessel, and the Lady Washington, a favorite guest, can be found here, the Hawaiian Chieftain regularly sets sail in the Bay and welcomes the public aboard. She is a replica of a late 19th century European merchant trader, typical of the craft that plied these waters when San Francisco was a sleepy little town.
Adventure Sails and Battle Re-enactments (Fear not, mates, you will not take on a ferry or massive cargo vessel, rather you engage another Tall Ship) occur on Saturdays and Sundays, at $40 per adult for 3 hours of fun out on the Bay. Sunset Sails are $30 per person and Dockside Tours are a mere $5 or free if the ship has just returned from a long voyage.
San Francisco Bay is one of the most magical bodies of water in America. Traverse it by prosaic means, like a commuter ferry, and you will be awed. Now just imagine what it is like to be gliding the Bay under only the power of the wind, changing tack, and watching the wind fill the sails...
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 29, 2002
Hawaiian Chieftain Sailing Tours
712 Hagara St.
Aberdeen, Washington 98520
Attraction | "Bridges and Ferries, Oh My!"
1) Start at Adventure Bike Company, near Fisherman's Wharf/North Beach. You can reach them by the MUNI bus 15 or 30.
Biking Through Sausalito
968 Columbus Avenue
Attraction | "SeaTrekking Sausalito"
NOVICE: If you've never kayaked before, fear not that you'll be dragged out into rough waters and either carried to sea or run over by a huge cargo ship. Richardson Bay is calm, shallow, and the perfect place to learn the basics, which will be covered in their "Scenic Sausalito" tour, at $65, with plenty of time to see the town from the water.
EXPERIENCED: Sea Trek offers more strenuous jaunts, such as Angel Island crossings or "Paddle the Gate," where guides help you avoid shipping lanes and other danger spots. There are also starlight/moonlight paddles, where you carry glowsticks.
RENTAL: Assuming you know basic kayak navigation and self-rescue techniques, the cheapest option is to explore Richardson Bay on your own, by rental. Rental rates are as above, and include all gear (though you will want to bring gloves.) If you plan on making multiple paddles or live in the area, cheapest yet is to buy a block of time- 20 hours for $150.
The pictures below chronicle a self-guided jaunt I made last fall, out of the marina, turning left to visit the Tall Ship mooring and then going past (well, actually through- what a great maze!) the houseboat colony. We then quickly paddled the seaplane crossing and ended up deep in the estuary wetlands (best to check the charts to make sure you aren't fighting the tidal flows or attempting to go at low tide.) We came across harbor seals and pelicans, herons, and other interesting birds. Our only regret was forgetting our gloves, so we had lovely blisters as souvenirs.
Sausalito, California 94966
San Francisco, California