San Francisco Sightseeing Cruises, Outdoor, & Water Activities for Your Trip

San Francisco’s reputation as a delightful waterfront city is borne out in the number of wonderful sightseeing cruises and boat tours you can enjoy.

Whether you’re embarking from the iconic Fisherman’s Wharf or any other nearby Pier, there are plenty of cruises to choose from – all of which will make for a lovely excursion in the spring and summer months.

Some of the sightseeing cruises and other water and outdoor activities you can enjoy in San Francisco include:

  • Escape from the Rock
  • Bridge 2 Bridge Cruise
  • Golden Gate Bay Cruise
  • Angel Island Round-trip Ferry
  • Big Bus San Francisco 

Save on San Francisco Cruises & Other Outdoor Activities

Regular admission to a number of these cruises and other outdoor activities are available on the Go San Francisco Card.

Choose as you go from popular attractions and save up to 55% on combined admission vs paying at the gate.

Check out all San Francisco sightseeing passes, attractions and prices.

Escape from the Rock Cruise

Escape-from-the-Rock-Boat-Cruise-3For a one-of-a-kind experience in San Francisco Bay, hop aboard an Escape from the Rock Cruise.

This 90-minute excursion will take you out and around Alcatraz Island – one of the most feared penal institutions in the country.

Expert tour guides will regale you with the terrifying tales of escape attempts, notorious criminals, and the horrific conditions of life on the island.

Your “fully loaded” tour comes with spooky sound effects, too, so be prepared to be get a true sense of what life must have been like for prisoners on this mysterious island.

Insider Tip: If you want to take a cruise that will let you visit Alcatraz Island itself, purchase your Go San Francisco Card directly from Alcatraz Cruises. See our site for more details.

Getting In: Escape From the Rock Cruise admission is included with the Go San Francisco Card.

Bridge 2 Bridge Cruise

See more of San Francisco’s waterways on the delightful Bridge 2 Bridge Cruise.

Sail under both the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and the impressive Bay Bridge for a full perspective on the Bay.

Along the way, pass by major landmarks like Alcatraz Island, the Ferry Building, the Transamerica Pyramid, Coit Tower, the Palace of Fine Arts, and more.

Learn all about the culture, history, architecture, and even Native American legacy of this important city. You’ll disembark feeling refreshed, relaxed, and informed.

Getting In: Bridge 2 Bridge Cruise admission is included with the Go San Francisco Card.

Golden Gate Bay Cruise

Golden-Gate-Bay-Cruise-Red-and-White-Fleet-1If you’d prefer to focus on San Francisco’s signature architectural marvel, then the Golden Gate Bay Cruise is for you.

This one-hour jaunt around the Bay departs from Fisherman’s Wharf and escorts you on a truly memorable adventure.

Sail by significant local landmarks like Hyde Street Pier and the ships found in the National Maritime Historic Park.

Then, continue on to venture directly beneath the Golden Gate Bridge – what a photo that will be!

Farther along your journey you’ll also see Sausalito and Angel Island State Park. Not a bad set of attractions to see on your journey!

Getting In: Golden Gate Bay Cruise admission is included with the Go San Francisco Card.

Angel Island Round-trip Ferry

Angel-Island-Ferry-and-Visit-5For those of you looking to explore the lovely Angel Island, this round-trip ferry ticket is a great way to save on your transportation.

Angel Island is both an inspiring historical location and a fun natural spot for modern visitors.

You’ll find military garrisons and compounds (from multiple wars), plus the Immigration Station that once welcomed people coming into America on the West Coast.

Today, you can also visit Angel Island State Park, where you’ll be able to picnic, bike, or explore the many flora and fauna found here.

Getting In: Angel Island Round-trip Ferry admission is included with the Go San Francisco Card.

Hop-on Hop-off Big Bus San Francisco Tour

hop-on-hop-off-bus-san-franciscoAlthough this isn’t a water activity, it will get you out and about and enjoying the weather during San Fran’s warmer months.

Choose a tour that will showcase the best highlights of this dense and multifaceted city, like this one, which includes everything from the Golden Gate Bridge to Union Square to the Painted Ladies.

A hop-on hop-off option is ideal, too, because it gives you the flexibility to stop off and explore, or even just grab a drink and some lunch.

As a bonus, you’ll also get to choose from some optional walking tours that begin at selected stops – free with your Big Bus ticket!

Getting In: Big Bus San Francisco Tour admission is included with the Go San Francisco Card.

Tideline Water Taxi

Traverse the waterways of San Francisco like a local with a ride aboard the Tideline Water Taxis.

This extensive network of water taxis is primarily used by commuters, but is a fun way for visitors to get along without the hassle or cost of driving and parking.

With stops everywhere from Tiburon to Angel Island to Berkeley and back to Pier 15 (plus many more), you’ll be able to use this water taxi to sightsee as well.

Attractions at selected stops include the Exploratorium, AT&T Park, Fisherman’s Wharf area, and more (many of which are included with our pass!)

Getting In: Tideline Water Taxis are separately ticketed and are not included with the Go San Francisco Card.

Remember to Save on Admission

These are a few of our favorite water and outdoor activities to enjoy in San Francisco during the spring and summer.

Whether you want to embark on a sightseeing cruise, or simply get out on the water to enjoy a clear sunny day, these cruises are ideal options that promise tons of fun.

Remember, with the Go San Francisco Card you can save up to 55% on admission to these and other fun attractions and activities – so consider picking one up today!

Go San Francisco Card

The information contained in this post, to the best of the author's knowledge, was accurate at time of publishing. We do our best to ensure and maintain the accuracy of this information.

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