Getting there is half the fun when visiting Sausalito in Marin County. Measured in time, the journey from San Francisco is a quick trip across the majestic Golden Gate Bridge or via a ferry crossing on the bay. Measured in vibes, it’s clear why Otis Redding felt chilled out watching the tide roll in while writing the lyrics to “Sittin’ on a Dock by the Bay” back in 1967.
Sausalito, meaning ‘little willow grove’ in Spanish, feels more like a Mediterranean seaside village than a city. A walk along downtown’s main thoroughfare, Bridgeway promenade, offers outstanding views of the shimmering San Francisco skyline across a sparkling bay. A plaque dedicated to Sausalito’s sister city, Viña Del Mar near Valparaiso, Chile, is found on the base of a pair of 14-foot elephant statues at the small plaza where a pretty fountain recalls the 1915 Pan-Pacific International Exposition. An information booth at the plaza has maps, brochures and plenty of suggestions.
Wander along narrow streets, browse in art galleries where the doors are usually flung wide open, visit shops, grab an ice cream cone for a sunny bench rest stop or take a seat to enjoy lunch with a water view. In addition to excellent seafood dining, Sausalito has a variety of French, Italian, Mexican and Japanese restaurants and typically American places for burgers and brunch.
It’s time to peel off the layers. Due to the microclimates of the San Francisco Bay Area, the weather in Marin County can be noticeably warmer than in the city, only eight miles away. Out-of-towners are surprised to realize that spring and autumn months are warmer than summer months, depending on the whims of that signature fog in the City by the Bay.
Wading, walking along the beach, exploring marine life and surfing with a wet suit are common Sausalito beach activities for the locals. Historic Fort Baker and the Bay Area Discovery Museum make great destinations for families and those with bicycles.
Did You Know?
- The Society of American Travel Writers voted Sausalito’s ferry as the second most exciting ferry boat ride in the world, behind Star Ferry in Hong Kong.
- Sausalito has about 400 houseboats bobbing in the harbor.
- Fleetwood Recorded their multi-platinum Rumors album at The Planet Recording Studio in Sausalito.