Getting to Sausalito from Oakland Airport (OAK)
ALERT: Car break-ins and thefts have become common in California due to a change in criminal punishments. In “safe neighborhoods” of San Francisco and other major cities any purse, briefcase or backpack left in sight in a parked car on a busy street in broad daylight for even five to ten minutes may be gone when you get back, with the car window shattered. If it’s dark and an isolated area the odds get even worse.
Locals have gotten used to always putting everything in their trunks when they park. If you rent a car, be sure it has a trunk or other space where you can hide suitcases etc. It is not as common in Sausalito as in San Francisco and larger cities, but there is nowhere in California where this is not an issue.
Taxi or Ride Share from Oakland to Sausalito
Traffic at different times of day can cause big variations in fares from taxis or ride share companies, but a good estimate of the non-commute time taxi fare from SFO to Sausalito is $70-$80, and the least expensive Uber trip could run in the range of $50-$70. Taxi stands are outside the baggage areas for all terminals. Click here for our Sausalito taxis and ride share page.
BART and Ferry from Oakland to Sausalito
If you’re arriving during the day, the weather is nice and your luggage has wheels, you can combine the BART subway and the Sausalito Ferry to get from Oakland to downtown Sausalito and see beautiful scenery as you do so. The BART service at Oakland is connected by a shuttle bus called “AirBART” that runs from in front of the terminals every ten minutes. A map of the Oakland Airport showing the AirBART shuttle location is here.
Once you reach the Coliseum/Oakland Airport BART Station in Oakland trains to San Francisco are scheduled about every 15 minutes. Make sure your train says it is going to Daly City — this is the route to San Francisco. Take BART to Embarcadero Station and exit. This is the first stop on the San Francisco side of the Bay.
At Embarcadero Station when you exit you will come up onto Market St. Look around for the big clock tower nearby — that’s the Ferry Building, where you want to go. It’s about one long city block from the BART Station. Walk through the building (it has a great high-end shopping arcade) and out the back to reach the piers, where signs will direct you to the Sausalito Ferry. The Ferry pier is in the heart of downtown Sausalito. The BART website is here. Our guide to the Sausalito Ferry, with links to all schedule information, is here.
Shuttle Services to Sausalito
Insiders Tip: This is a place where “buying local” also will save you time. If you choose an Airport Shuttle service based in Marin County (where Sausalito is located), Sausalito is much more likely to be the first stop and everyone else has to take the side trip to drop you off. If you use one of the national services, you may have to endure multiple stops in San Francisco or the East Bay before you finally reach Sausalito. Local shuttles include Marin Door-to-Door and Marin Shuttle.
Rental Cars and Driving from Oakland
There are two almost-equal routes from Oakland to Sausalito, one passing through San Francisco via the Bay Bridge and the other avoiding it via the Richmond – San Rafael Bridge.
Going through San Francisco is a shorter journey but covers more traffic-choke-points. Every local has an opinion on which way is better — we’re in the “don’t go through San Francisco” camp.
Follow the signs for the 880 Freeway as you leave Oakland Airport and take the lane labeled “880 North“. After about 9 miles you will come to a fork for the Bay Bridge and Interstate 580. Stay to the right and merge into Interstate 580 towards Berkeley — do not take the Bay Bridge. For a few miles this stretch of freeway is both Interstate 80 and Interstate 580, so if you see two signs here it’s OK.
After you pass through Berkeley 580 will branch off on the right towards the Richmond San Rafael Bridge. Take this exit and follow it to the bridge, which has a $5.00 toll.
After crossing the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, take the 2nd exit for Sir Francis Drake Blvd. Follow Sir Francis Drake as it winds along the edge of the Bay (yes, that’s San Quentin you’re driving past) and it will bring you to Highway 101. Take Highway 101 south.
After about six miles you will see the Sausalito exit on the right. Exit here, turn left at the stop light and go under the freeway. The next stoplight you reach will be at Bridgeway. Turn right on Bridgeway and it will bring you into the heart of Sausalito. The downtown area is about a mile and a half from the freeway exit.