Golden Gate Bay Cruise in San Francisco, CA

Red and White FleetPier 43 1/2 Fisherman's WharfSan Francisco , CA 94133
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This scenic boat tour departs from San Francisco’s historic fisherman’s wharf. Snap photos of the energetic waterfront, magnificent skyline and as you sail under the Golden Gate Bridge! The ship circles Alcatraz Island, cruises by the wildlife reserves of the Marin Headlands and many other fascinating sights. The history of the city is explained by award-winning narration the whole family will enjoy.

Good To Know

from Ashley, one of our San Francisco Travel Experts
  • Kid-friendly.
  • Children 4 and younger are complimentary.
  • Audio tour available in 16 languages.
  • Cruises from 10 AM (9:15 AM in the summer) until an hour before sunset, with departures every 30–45 minutes.
  • You should arrive 30 minutes prior to your desired cruise start time.


from Golden Gate Bay Cruise
Launched in 1939 as part of the Golden Gate International Exposition, our Golden Gate Bay Cruise has been a highlight of any visit to San Francisco for nearly 80 years. Cruise along San Francisco’s breathtaking waterfront, under the majestic Golden Gate Bridge, and loop closely around notorious Alcatraz Island. On our Golden Gate Bay Cruise, you’ll discover the city’s colorful history and world-famous landmarks with personal headphone audio in 16 languages. During the Golden Gate Bay Cruise, you may also experience up-close wildlife encounters including seagulls, pelicans, and sea lions. At times, you may see even harbor porpoises and whales, so be alert!

Departing from the heart of historic Fisherman’s Wharf at Pier 43½, cruise alongside the San Francisco’s remarkable cityscape and view the lively neighborhood of North Beach, the famous swimming clubs of Aquatic Park, the historic vessels moored at Hyde Street Pier, the San Francisco Maritime National Park, and numerous other exciting sights along the way.

As you head west towards the Golden Gate Bridge, you’ll view Fort Mason and the Marina District, which was damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Next, take in views of Crissy Field and the lush hillsides of the Presidio – both former Army installations – that are now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Don’t miss incredible photo opportunities while cruising directly under the massive 4,200-foot long, 746-foot high span of the Golden Gate Bridge.

As you head back into the Bay, travel past the wildlife reserves of the Marin Headlands and the legendary town of Sausalito, which was once home to the late-1960’s Flower Generation. With Angel Island State Park to your left, you’ll slowly cruise around (and up-close to) the infamous Alcatraz Island. On your way back to Fisherman’s Wharf, you’ll see the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and Coit Tower in the distance.

After a full hour of exciting sights on Red and White Fleet’s Golden Gate Bay Cruise, the barking sea lions over at nearby Pier 39 will welcome you back as you approach Pier 43½. Here, you can visit two National Historic Landmarks, the WWII submarine USS Pampanito and merchant marine vessel SS Jeremiah O’Brien.

Tripster Customer Reviews

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TripAdvisor Reviews
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United States
"Worth it even after 10 visits to SF"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed September 15, 2019 NEW
We've been to San Francisco many times and decided to do the hour-long Red and White Fleet harbor tour, only because we'd never done a boat tour and were running out of ideas. Frankly, I was expecting a cheesy, touristy nightmare but ended up having a great experience! The views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge were amazing and only possible on a boat. The audiotape was educational. The Red and White personnel were also great about accommodating my friend in a power wheelchair and made sure she had a good view despite not being able to get upstairs to the open deck, an extra step our party really appreciated.
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Ashbourne, United Kingdom
"One hour bay cruise"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed September 09, 2019 NEW
We enjoyed the 5pm one-hour bay cruise in September 2019. After boarding, you collect a personal audio playback unit which gives you a commentary throughout the cruise on all the sights. During our cruise, we went under the Golden Gate Bridge as well as around Alcatraz. We really enjoyed the trip -$34 each well-spent we thought.
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Southampton, United Kingdom
"Great cruise around Alcatraz and under the bridge "
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed September 04, 2019 NEW
We were disappointed not to get the cruise to Alcatraz so took the Red and White Bridge to Bridge cruise as a second option. We were not disappointed. Really good, comfortable tour. A little chilly at times so take a jacket but we got sun burnt on our face and scalp despite it not being a sunny day so be warned. Saw seals swimming too so thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
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"The bay trip was REALLY good."
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed September 04, 2019 NEW
I thought the bay trip would be good. I was wrong. IT WAS FANTASTIC. Really interesting tour of San Francisco bay at sunset. Facinating places to see, and learn-about on the commentary. Only negative point : the 'live band' was in fact one man with a guitar, but he was good, so not really disappointing.
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"Cruising San Francisco Bay"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed August 25, 2019 NEW
I booked this bay cruise on the positive reviews which were spot on plus I thought the one hour excursion would be easier on the kids vs. the two hour whale watching options. Absolutely wonderful cruise around the whole San Francisco Bay making sure you get to see all of the historical attractions. Easy to find location on Pier 43 1/2 and friendly staff to help you board quickly and safely. They offer a headset and prerecorded device which you really need to take. Multiple language settings (English was 66). The narration is great with a detailed account of the areas eventful history. I could almost picture it all happening as the history unfolded. Takes you out under the Golden Gate allowing for fabulous picture taking of the cities skyline and picturesque bay scenery. We. also saw dolphins playing alongside. Cruise does not feel rushed and the ride was very smooth with an option to sit below deck if preferred. Drinks and snacks available for purchase. Would highly recommend this as a Bay area activity.
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Golden Gate Bay Cruise is located at Red and White FleetPier 43 1/2 Fisherman's WharfSan Francisco , CA 94133
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Frequently Asked Questions about Golden Gate Bay Cruise

What should I wear?
San Francisco has many microclimates with frequent weather changes. It can be windy and cold on San Francisco Bay one moment, and hot and sunny the next. So we recommend that you dress in layers and bring a jacket to make sure you are comfortable throughout your tour. In case it rains, don’t worry as all of our boats have heated interiors with big viewing windows.

Where is it located?
Our San Francisco cruises depart from Pier 43½, located in the heart of Fisherman’s Wharf at the end of Taylor Street. You can find us on most GPS devices by entering “Red and White Fleet” as the destination.

Is the tour appropriate for children?

Is the tour wheelchair accessible?
The enclosed main decks of all our vessels are wheelchair accessible. All of our vessels, aside from the Harbor Queen, have wheelchair accessible restroom facilities. Important: the ramps leading onto and off the vessels vary in steepness depending on tide levels. While our crew will make every attempt to assist guests, boarding can be difficult, particularly during low tide.

When should I be at the departure location?
Please arrive at least 20-30 minutes before the scheduled departure time, as we otherwise can’t guarantee available space and are unable to hold the vessel.

Do your rates include tips and gratuities?
Yes. Red and White Fleet’s® rates for San Francisco Bay cruises include all taxes, gratuities, fees, and personal audio tour. Of course, you are certainly welcome to tip staff members for excellent service.

How long is the tour?
1 hour.

Can I bring my own food/beverages?
Coolers permitted? Yes. Red and White Fleet’s® vessels are equipped with cafes, offering hot & cold non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages, snacks, and merchandise for sale. Bar purchases can be made with credit or debit cards. We are unable to accept cash at this time. You may also bring your own boxed luncheons.

What is your policy on smoking?
California Law prohibits smoking in vehicles, public buildings, bars, and restaurants. Smoking is not permitted on Red and White Fleet’s® tours or while waiting in the boarding line. We kindly request that all passengers comply.

Do you go to Alcatraz?
Red and White Fleet® does not land at Alcatraz. We do, however, offer cruises that travel very closely around Alcatraz Island. Do you offer ferry service to Sausalito, Tiburon, or Angel Island? No.