Sunset on the SF Bay

The Best San Francisco Sunset Cruise 

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Take it from a local, sailing on a San Francisco sunset cruise is one of the best ways to enjoy the San Francisco Bay.

I had a wonderful time on this cruise and want to thank Adventure Cat for the awesome opportunity!

San Francisco is arguably the most beautiful city in all of California. It sits on the San Francisco Bay and offers breathtaking views that pair with its iconic landmarks, stunning architecture, and seaside charm. 

Picture a sunset sail on the San Francisco Bay alongside the lights of the city and inbetween the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge.

It’s remarkable!

Golden Gate Bridge

The Best San Francisco Sunset Cruise

The San Francisco Bay Catamaran Sunset Cruise with Adventure Cat Sailing Charters is one of the most reputable and popular sunset cruises. 

This cruise is on a 55 or 65 foot catamaran that sets sail during the early evening.

The smaller catamaran is full at 36 people and the larger boat seats up to 76 passengers. They cap the number of passengers to provide lots of room for comfort.

You can enjoy the trip from inside a protected part of the catamaran or sit on the outdoor canvas trampoline and get the full effect of the wind in your hair. I chose to stand at the railing because it was much more exciting and felt almost as if I was gliding on top of the water!

The one and a half hour trip will take you by the famous historic prison on Alcatraz Island and then sails underneath the majestic Golden Gate Bridge. The cruise passes by the lovely waterfront of Sausalito, all the while enjoying memorable views of the city and its hills.

Coit Tower and Salesforce Tower while on a San Francisco Sunset Cruise
The view of Alcatraz Island while on a San Francisco Sunset Cruise

What is the best place to watch the sunset in San Francisco?

From the Bay!

Being on the water in the San Francisco Bay as the sun sets over the Pacific Ocean is a perfect way to watch the city skyline being washed in the golden hues at the close of a beautiful day.

Witness up close the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island as well as the city’s skyscrapers.

You’ll see the famous Coit Tower, the Presidio, the legendary Transamerica Building, and San Francisco’s newest landmark, the Salesforce Tower.

A sunset cruise is both romantic and invigorating! If you enjoy being out on the water, you’ll love feeling the wind and rush of the Bay as you cruise alongside the sailboats, birds, and harbor seals, and learn about what makes the San Francisco Bay a sailor’s dream.

Catamaran cruise in the SF Bay

Some San Francisco Sunset Cruise Details

~ This San Francisco Sunset Cruise offers one complimentary beverage and a taste of San Francisco with a Ghirardelli chocolate bonus! Additional drinks and snacks are also available for purchase.

~ Another big bonus are the cozy jackets they provide! I thought I would be warm enough, but was really happy to borrow the extra layer.

~ The crew were awesome, friendly, helpful, and fostered a great, low key vibe aboard. There were couples, families, friends, and people of all ages and everyone seemed super happy with the experience. 

~ If you’re sailing in early summer, you might be lucky enough to catch some whales migrating! We saw a couple of dolphins for a hot second and flocks and flocks of birds flying so close it felt unreal. 

~ I would be remiss if I didn’t point out the fog, which San Francisco is famous for, that can roll in pretty thick in the evening out on the Bay. Especially in August. So, be prepared that you may not see the Golden Gate Bridge until you are right under it! And the city skyline can become a misty hint of a vision in the fog. The benefit of the fog however, is the fresh moist air and the great lighting it offers. This is San Francisco afterall, and it is called Fog City for a reason!

~ If you’re bringing kids along, note that the sunset prices are the same for all ages. If you want a children’s discount, then you may want to consider a daytime cruise.

The Best San Francisco Sunset Cruise view

To board the boat, follow these directions:

Look for Adventure Cat Sailing Charters at Pier 39 Dock J, on the Embarcadero in San Francisco. The Gate J to the dock is next to the sea lion viewing area on the pier. It will be pretty obvious, but ask someone where the sea lions are if you can’t find the dock. They ask that you arrive 30 minutes early for check in and to board the boat so they can set sail on time.

Golden Gate Bridge view from the boat while on a San Francisco Sunset Cruise
San Francisco Sunset Catamaran cruise at the Golden Gate Bridge

What People Are Saying about the
San Francisco Sunset Sail

There are over 900 Five Star reviews of the San Francisco Bay Sunset Catamaran Cruise.

Customers rave about the unforgettable views and the excitement of being out on the Bay. They love seeing the Golden Gate Bridge up close and personal and also talk about all the amazing opportunities for great photos on this tour! The lighting is perfect at that time of day and the scenery is so unique to the Bay Area, it has that “pinch me, is this real” effect!

The reputation of the catamaran staff and customer service is exemplary and is mentioned repeatedly in the comments. They are organized, knowledgeable, helpful and offer both non-alcoholic and alcohol choices as well as snacks while cruising.

Adventure Cat Catamaran
Gate J for the SF Catamaran Cruise
The deck of the SF catamaran

The Absolute Best Place to Stay and Dine near the Golden Gate Bridge

Are you looking for a special place to stay with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco Bay?

Cavallo Point is the luxurious and historic lodging tucked under the Golden Gate Bridge in Sausalito, California. The accommodations are stellar and the views are unbelievable.

Cavallo Point used to be an army post before becoming a National Park. The buildings have been renovated into hotel and conference and wedding venues. There are a ton of beautiful hikes around the property.

The highlight is the Michilin Star restaurant; Murray Hill. You can dine in the restaurant or order to your room and dine on your balcony!

Cavallo Point- the best place for the Golden Gate Bridge View
Cavallo Point- the best place for the Golden Gate Bridge View

What to wear on a SF sunset cruise?

This is not a formal, luxury cruise! It’s windy out there.

You’ll want warm and comfortable clothing and comfortable shoes. Don’t wear a hat unless it ties under your chin because the wind might sweep it off your head!

You might get sprayed by the Bay waves, so wear something that you don’t mind if it gets a little wet!

Bring layers no matter what the season, because you may start off feeling a warm breeze but will be surprised at how much the temperature drops as the sun goes down on the water.

SF Pier at night
San Francisco Wharf Seals one Day In San Francisco

Fun things to do by the San Francisco Bay

~ Visit the Harbor Seals at Fisherman’s Wharf – After the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, the sea lions started coming to the dock at Pier 39. At first there were about 10 and now as many as 900 show up in the winter. They are the “sea-lebrities” of San Francisco and are fun to watch as they swim and bathe in the sun. You’ll find them at Pier 39’s K-dock.

~ Shop and play at Pier 39 – The multi-level area of Pier 39 is a tourist attraction along the water. You can see puppet shows, ride a carousel, dine, shop, and soak in the views of the Bay.

~ Alcatraz Tours – The 22 acre island, now operated by the National Park Service, used to be the infamous prison. You can take a boat from the pier and tour the island to learn more of the fascinating history surrounding Alcatraz.

→ Get your tickets for Alcatraz Here

~ Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum – If you’ve never been to a wax museum before, now is your chance! Madame Tussaud’s is San Francisco’s famous home of wax celebrities. From presidents to movie stars and your favorite musicians and athletes, this museum has you covered. It’s super fun for a few hours off from the touristy streets of Fisherman’s Wharf.

→ Get your Madame Tussad’s Tickets here!

~ Tour Ghirardelli Square – With rich history dating back to the Gold Rush in 1849, this is now a National Historic Site preserved as one of San Francisco’s most treasured landmarks. While the chocolate is now made in San Leandro, across the Bay, the square features the old factory and new retail shops and fine dining.

~ Have clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl at Boudin Bakery – Known as the best sourdough bakery in San Francisco, Boudin has been around since the Gold Rush in 1849. They make bread animals and heart loaves, but best of all, serve chowder inside a sourdough bowl.

~ Take a cable car to Chinatown –  You’ll see the line for the cable car at the end of Fisherman’s Wharf. Get your ticket for $7 and wait in line for the next car. Hang on and enjoy the hills. You can hop off at Chinatown for some more shopping and great food! 

~ Drink Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista – You don’t have to like Irish Whiskey to enjoy the famous Buena Vista Irish Coffee experience. Pop in and watch the magic as the bartender brews up the coffee. It’s so delicious, you’ll want more than one! Order the fries too, for a midday treat.

~ Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge – Walk 3.4 miles from the wharf to the Golden Gate Bridge. The walk is both breathtaking and stress free along the water. Then you can walk onto the bridge and fully experience the majestic marvel!

If you have some time, here are some more things to do in San Francisco, and don’t miss the Mission Murals!

Pier 39 Flags
Harbor Seals at Pier 39

Some San Francisco Bay Fun Facts

  • The Bay ranges from 3 to 12 miles wide and is 60 miles long.


  • In most spots, the Bay is only 14 feet deep.


  • The average water temperature is 54 degrees.


  • The three bridges that cross the Bay are the Golden Gate, the
    Oakland/Bay Bridge, and the Richmond/San Rafael Bridge.


  • The SF Bay is known as one of the best natural Bays in the world.


  • The famous San Francisco fog over the Bay is most noticeable in the summer, but we are used to seeing it all year long!


  • The Harbor Seals that live in the Bay are one of six other pinniped varieties.


  • There are 18 islands in the Bay. You’ve heard of the most famous being Alcatraz, and maybe you know of Treasure Island and Angel Island. I live on the best island, Alameda!

Quick & Easy Links

  Flights & Hotels: I recommend Expedia
  Vacation rentals: I recommend VRBO
  Car Rental: I recommend Hertz
  Tours: I recommend Viator
  Gear: Check out my Travel Stuff
  Create Your Travel Memory Books with MILK

Golden Gate Bridge One day in San Francisco

Take a Sail and Enjoy a
San Francisco Sunset Cruise

Visiting San Francisco is a magical experience, even for those of us who live in the Bay Area. And adding a sunset cruise to your visit is a MUST DO. It’s one of the most exciting things you can do on your vacation in the Bay. 



Hi There! I’m Carrie.

Carrie Green-Zinn Bio Page

I’m a native New Englander, turned New Yorker, turned California girl! Following a dance career, working as a dance therapist, and being a school psychologist, I’m now ready to share my passion for photography and travel with you! I absolutely love seeing the world with my family and friends. I know you feel the same! Let’s go! 

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