Two different ferry services connect Sausalito and San Francisco, with different boats, schedules and prices. They share the same pier in Sausalito, but their San Francisco terminals are almost 2 miles apart. We have videos and lots of reference information below.
The ferry schedules can be confusing. Our easy-to-print Sausalito Ferry Schedule is the only independent online chart covering both services. Make sure you choose the right “Weekday” or “Weekend-and-Holiday” schedule, and for the route to the Ferry Building or Fisherman’s Wharf.
The Sausalito Ferry is like the world’s biggest Disneyland ride, and it’s faster than driving or taking a bus from San Francisco. The Sausalito Ferry was named the #2 ferry ride in the world, after #1 the Star Ferry in Hong Kong. I’ve ridden both, and they’re two travel highlights of my life.
We have 7 Insider Tips to get you started, and many more below:
1. There are separate lines in Sausalito for bike riders with bikes and walking passengers, so don’t get stuck at the end of the bike line if you’re walking. (Click here for a photo of how the signs and lines work in Sausalito.)
2. If you’re in the bike line it may seem impossibly long as it snakes back from the pier and along the edge of the parking lot. It’s not as bad as it looks, and the line moves pretty rapidly once they start boarding bikes. But… see Tip 3 below.
3. Late afternoon voyages from Sausalito in summer are packed with bike riders fresh from a trip across the Golden Gate Bridge. Ferries can fill up, so arrive early to ensure you don’t have to wait for the next boat. The remainder of the year this is not an issue.
4. Even during the warmest months in Sausalito, if you want to ride on the outside decks of the Ferry to San Francisco, bring a warm jacket.
5. There is very little night-time service on the ferries, especially in winter. Miss the last ferry of the evening? We have late bus info below.
6. If you’re exploring San Francisco you can use antique Muni trains that connect the two piers that serve Sausalito, allowing you to mix the two ferry services to best fit your schedule. See the Ferry Piers in San Francisco section below.
7. I’ve lived in this area almost all my life, including three different Sausalito neighborhoods. No two rides on the Sausalito Ferry are ever the same, so consider traveling at different times of day etc. to see even more beautiful views.
Sausalito to the San Francisco Ferry Building
Golden Gate Ferry: This ferry is run by the public Golden Gate Bridge District, which serves both ferry terminals in Marin County: Sausalito and Larkspur. Click here for the Sausalito Ferry Schedule linking Sausalito to the Ferry Building (located where Market St. reaches the Embarcadero in San Francisco) and we also have a page listing Sausalito Ferry Ticket Prices.
The video above shows a Golden Gate Ferry voyage from San Francisco to Sausalito.
The Golden Gate Ferry is pictured at the top of this page, and their website is here. In San Francisco, Sausalito Ferry tickets are sold from machines at the pier behind the Ferry Building (see photo below). In Sausalito they’re sold from machines located to the left (north) where the pier meets the parking lot. The ticket sales windows in San Francisco are no longer staffed, although the ticket takers there are very pleasant and helpful when you ask questions.
On the Golden Gate Ferry (not Blue and Gold Ferries — see below) in Sausalito you have to buy your ticket before you board, available from the ticket machines. If you ride the Golden Gate Ferry frequently you can buy a Clipper (formerly called Translink) card that gives you big discounts on Ferry tickets! More information for Ferry commuters and frequent travelers is here. Clipper Cards are not accepted on the Blue and Gold Fleet voages to Fisherman’s Wharf, since it is a private company. The monthly Ferry passes and Ferry ticket books that many of us grew up with have now been discontinued.
The capacity of the Sausalito Ferry is normally 715 but (unlike the morning runs in Larkspur) the commuter runs are never full and everyone gets on. The ferry can, however, fill up on summer afternoon departures from Sausalito when there are so many bikes on board that they run out of space. This is less a matter of how many people can ride on the ferry than a restriction on the bike storage space, and affects bike riders rather than regular passengers.
Above: The entry area for the Golden Gate Ferry, at the Ferry Building in San Francisco. Walk through (or around) the Ferry Building and come out the back to reach this area. Ticket machines are on the left side of the building.
Sausalito To Fisherman’s Wharf (Pier 41 / Pier 39)
Blue and Gold Ferry: This ferry is run by a private company. The Sausalito Ferry Schedule for the Blue and Gold Fleet service linking Sausalito to Fisherman’s Wharf (Pier 41, next to Pier 39) in San Francisco is very different from that of the Golden Gate Ferry. We have the Sausalito Ferry Schedule and the current Sausalito Ferry Ticket Prices. You can buy tickets online for the Blue and Gold ferry here. Credit cards are accepted.
Blue and Gold San Francisco ferry tickets are sold “at the door” as you enter the ferry on the Sausalito side, and at the Pier 39 terminal at Fisherman’s Wharf on the San Francisco side (next to Pier 41). Clipper Cards are not accepted. The video above shows a Blue and Gold Fleet voyage from Sausalito to San Francisco.
Insiders Tip: If you ride during the winter, some trips from Fisherman’s Wharf on Blue and Gold Fleet (not Golden Gate Ferry) are scheduled as taking longer than others because they stop in Tiburon on their way to Sausalito, although this is not mentioned when you buy a Sausalito ticket. It’s a beautiful variation on the voyage, but takes a few minutes of extra time. In summer the voyages are separate and this does not apply.