Sausalito Ferry Parking: The Insiders Guide
There is no free parking at the Sausalito Ferry pier. (Officially it’s called the Sausalito Ferry Terminal, but since it’s a pier with no building that term is confusing.)
A series of city-owned lots adjoins the Ferry pier (see satellite image below), and Sausalito city residents receive deeply discounted Sausalito ferry parking. Actually, you don’t have to get on the Ferry, because Sausalito residents get discounted parking downtown for whatever reason they want!
The entrance to the closest parking lot is located at the intersection of Anchor St. and Humboldt St. in Sausalito. These lots were renovated recently to add motion sensors and allow the use of machines to pre-pay for parking.
Insiders Tip: The lots closer to the Ferry pier cost more, and those farther to the north are significantly less expensive for Sausalito Ferry parking. The signs don’t make this obvious, but walking 2 blocks can save you a lot of money (see map below). The parking payment machines look the same despite the different prices. If you over-pay and then leave sooner than planned the system only charges you for the time you parked, a better deal than in most cities.
Insiders Tip: Starting in 2014, Tracy Way is closed by the City of Sausalito each summer and transformed into a bike parking area, which in turn makes El Portal a dead-end cul-de-sac. This intersection is shown on most maps (including the Google map below as of this update) as being open to traffic, but during the busy visitor months of the year there is no access to parking spots on El Portal. You need to use Anchor St. to reach the closest parking lots.
This Google satellite image (which you can zoom and scroll) shows the Ferry terminal and parking lots. The two main tree-lined lots are next to the pier itself at the lower right and next to the little street labeled Ensign at the upper left:
There are no long-term meters for Sausalito Ferry parking, with a metered maximum of 3 hours in the area, and most meters have a 2 hour limit. This makes the parking lots the best bet.
Parking in residential neighborhoods “up the hill” is also restricted if you do not have a residential parking pass. The odds of getting a ticket for parking there are high, and the tickets are expensive.