Things to do in
Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Golden Gate National Recreation Area: Our most recommended tours and activities

San Francisco: California Sunset Boat Cruise

1. San Francisco: California Sunset Boat Cruise

Enjoy sunset views as you sail on beautiful San Francisco Bay. See important landmarks, including Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. In the winter months, take in the serene twilight views instead. Along the way, view numerous National Historic landmarks and San Francisco sights, including Coit Tower, the Transamerica Pyramid, St. Peter, Paul's Church, and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. As the sun begins to set over the Marin Headlands, cruise past Alcatraz, Angel Island, and the shorelines of Tiburon, Belvedere, and Sausalito. Watch the sun setting over the Pacific Ocean, as you sail west towards the Golden Gate. On your way back to Fisherman’s Wharf, see many more famous sights, including the Presidio, the Marina District, and Fort Mason.

From San Francisco: Muir Woods and Sausalito Half-Day Trip

2. From San Francisco: Muir Woods and Sausalito Half-Day Trip

Explore the ancient groves of coastal redwoods in Muir Woods National Monument alongside an expert guide on a half-day tour. Then discover the charming streets of Downtown Sausalito on a relaxed half-day tour. After a pick-up from a central San Francisco hotel, head north over the bridge and into the Marin Headlands. If the fog is clear, you might get a chance to stop and take some pictures of the bridge up close. When you arrive in Muir Woods, take an hour and a half to roam through this ‘living museum’ where you can glimpse the towering trees that used to dominate the west coast from Santa Barbara to Washington. Following your exploration of Muir Woods, hop back in the coach for a quick ride over to Sausalito. Enjoy a 15-20 minute, narrated in-coach tour through the beautiful seaside Mediterranean-style town, and then some free time to walk around. After about 45 minutes in Sausalito, hop back in the coach for a trip back across the Golden Gate Bridge, or opt for a ferry ride back to San Francisco. You'll be dropped back off at your pick-up point. This half-day tour is a great way to see all the highlights of the northern San Francisco Bay in a limited amount of time. 

San Francisco: Muir Woods and Sausalito Small-Group Tour

3. San Francisco: Muir Woods and Sausalito Small-Group Tour

Starting from San Francisco, this guided tour takes you to Muir Woods National Monument and Sausalito. Discover the mystery of 400-feet (130 meters) tall redwood and sequoia trees at Muir Woods before stopping in Sausalito to sightsee, shop, and more. After pickup, start your tour with a scenic and informative drive to the Golden Gate Bridge through several of the best San Francisco neighborhoods as well as the Presidio, a former military area of great beauty. Crossing the GG Bridge, stop at the northern vista point for stunning views of the bay and the bridge. Scenic views continue as the tour passes above the town of Sausalito and through portions of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Mount Tamalpais State Park, which merge with Muir Woods. Arriving at Muir Woods National Monument, your guide will inform you of the best way to experience the grove and where the oldest trees are located. An approximately 1 hour and 20-minute stay allows you to see much of the grove and explore the gift shop, café, and visitor center. The tour includes a stop in Sausalito to enjoy the art galleries, shops, cafes, restaurants, and yacht marinas. Views from Sausalito include the Bay Bridge, parts of the East Bay, and San Francisco. After about an hour in Sausalito, you’ll get driven back to your hotel. Alternatively, if you want more time in Sausalito, a ferry boat, taxi, Lyft, or Uber service back to San Francisco can be arranged at your own expense.

From San Francisco: Muir Woods Guided Bus Tour

4. From San Francisco: Muir Woods Guided Bus Tour

Hop on board a bus tour of Muir Woods. Experience the awe and wonder of one of California’s oldest redwood groves as you stroll through dedicated paths of 1000-year-old redwood trees. Your tour will begin with a 45-minute, fully-narrated scenic drive that heads across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and into coastal mountains on the Marin Headlands. Arrive at Muir Woods National Forest where you will be provided park entry tickets and have 1.5 hours to explore the park at your own pace - maps detailing walking trails will be available at the Muir Woods Visitor Center. After exploring the park, enjoy a scenic drive to the coastal town of Sausalito. This beautiful seaside Mediterranean-style town offers a wide selection of distinctive boutiques, restaurants, parks, cafés, and unique art galleries. Guests may choose to stay in Sausalito and return on their own to San Francisco via ferry, or remain on the bus and return to a designated drop-off point within San Francisco.

San Francisco: All Day Bike Rental

5. San Francisco: All Day Bike Rental

Decide where you want to ride and then head out from Fisherman’s Wharf to discover the sights of San Francisco. You’ll be outfitted with a current-model bike, helmet, front handlebar bag and rear gear rack, map, and route instructions. Just tell the local staff how many miles you wish to ride, and they’ll show you a great route that includes all the best sightseeing stops the Bay Area has to offer. Your tour will take you on bike paths and over mostly flat terrain. You’ll receive a guide that provides recommendations on favorite local rides. You can keep the rental bike for the whole day.

SF: 1-Day Hop-On Hop-Off Tour & Golden Gate Bay Cruise

6. SF: 1-Day Hop-On Hop-Off Tour & Golden Gate Bay Cruise

Make your way around San Francisco with a 1-day hop-on hop-off bus ticket and sail around San Francisco Bay with a 1-hour Golden Gate bay cruise. Hop off to explore the city's best highlights or stay on the double-decker bus to take in 360-degree panoramic views of the city. Golden Gate Bay CruiseSail past the lively neighborhood of North Beach and take advantage of the bar onboard with drinks, snacks, and merchandise available to purchase. Admire the famous swimming clubs of the Aquatic Park and the historic vessels at Hyde Street Pier. Take in idyllic views of Crissy Field and The Presidio of San Francisco before the stunning image of the Golden Gate Bridge comes into view. Cruise straight under the bridge as the sun shines and waves lap against the boat. Travel past the wildlife reserves of the Marin Headlands to reach the shores of Sausalito, once home to the Flower Children. With Angel Island State Park to your left, finish your cruise outside the infamous Alcatraz prison. 1-Day Hop-On Hop-Off BusThe route of the hop-on hop-off bus includes stops at iconic landmarks like Fisherman’s Wharf, Union Square, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Little Italy. This flexible approach to sightseeing allows you to enjoy your day at your own pace.

San Francisco: Muir Woods & Sausalito Tour w/Alcatraz Option

7. San Francisco: Muir Woods & Sausalito Tour w/Alcatraz Option

Take a small-group day trip by bus around San Francisco. See the Golden Gate Bridge, spend time at the Muir Woods National Monument, and enjoy lunch in picturesque Sausalito. Meet outside Fisherman’s Wharf at your chosen tour time. After a brief roll call, you’ll board the bus and travel to your first stop. Over the next 6 hours, you’ll be treated to stories about the neighborhoods, diversity, and geography of the area.  You will exit the bus at several stops for photo opportunities and exploration, enjoy lunch in Sausalito, and then spend over an hour in the beautiful Muir Woods National Monument. At the end of your amazing adventure, you’ll be dropped off at the same location where you boarded the bus.  Here are the places you will explore (photo stops noted by *): • Fisherman's Wharf - One of San Francisco's most popular destinations. From beautiful old shipyards to Boudin's Bakery and the smell of fresh clam chowder, Fisherman's Wharf has it all • Chinatown - Boasting the largest Chinatown in the United States, this 24-block mecca is bustling with energy, amazing food, and unique shops that give this area its charm • North Beach - Voted as one of the USA's ten great neighborhoods, North Beach is best known as the home of Little Italy. From delicious restaurants to authentic sidewalk cafes and bakeries, you will feel the charm of San Francisco as soon as you arrive • Pacific Heights* - Offering one of the most scenic outlooks in all of Northern California, Pacific Heights is home to Billionaire's Row, featuring the estates of politicians, tech titans, and other San Francisco celebrities  • Presidio - Former military base, now a beautiful park that includes Crissy Field, Fort Point, Lucasfilm's headquarters, and the Walt Disney Museum • Golden Gate Bridge - Declared "one of the 10 wonders of the modern world," the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most recognized symbols of San Francisco • Muir Woods* - Muir Woods National Monument is home to some of the oldest and most beautiful trees in the world. Many consider this stop to be the highlight of their trip. The National Monument entry fee is an additional expense to the paid on the day. • Fort Point* - Located just beneath the Golden Gate Bridge, Fort Point gives you a front-row seat to the Bay and is a great photo stop. This former military fortification was used during WWII • Sausalito* - Located just across the Golden Gate Bridge, this artistic enclave has the setting and beauty of a European Mediterranean town. Enjoy your lunch on the San Francisco Bay Alcatraz (Optional): At the end of your day you can add the Infamous Alcatraz Island tour to your visit. You will board the ferry for the Official Alcatraz Day Tour. This former federal prison was once home to infamous criminals Al Capone and George “Machine Gun” Kelly, and it is a must-do while visiting San Francisco. You can add this option to your package at checkout!

San Francisco: Private City Highlights Tour in a Jeep

8. San Francisco: Private City Highlights Tour in a Jeep

Embark on a fun and unique tour experience as you explore San Francisco in an open-air convertible Jeep. See more of the city in less time, visit famous locations, and enjoy entertaining commentary from your local guide along the way. Tick off all the sights on your bucket list, choosing between the most iconic landmarks in San Francisco, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman's Wharf, Littly Italy, Chinatown, Ferry Building, and the Painted Ladies at Alamo Square. Enjoy an intimate private tour experience in a comfortable open-air vehicle as you explore the diverse terrain and sights of the Bay Area. 2 Hour tour highlights include: Fisherman's Wharf, Dungeness crab stands, and picturesque fishing harbors, The Palace of Fine Arts, crossing the Golden Gate Bridge to the Marin Headlands, The Presidio, Marina District, Union Square, North Beach Little Italy, Dragon’s Gate in Chinatown, and Lombard Street - the most crooked street (traffic permitting) 3 Hour route covers more amazing sites: Ocean Beach, Golden Gate Park (De Young, Academy of Sciences, Conservatory of Flowers), Haight Ashbury, The Castro, and the Castro Theatre (optional stop), Mission Dolores Park, and street murals (optional stop), Alamo Square and the Painted Ladies, City Hall, Davies Symphony Hall, War Memorial Opera House, Asian Art Museum and more.

San Francisco: Muir Woods and Sausalito Small Group Tour

9. San Francisco: Muir Woods and Sausalito Small Group Tour

Cross one of San Francisco's most famous landmarks, the Golden Gate Bridge, on your way to the beautiful redwood forests in Muir woods on this boutique, small-group guided tour. Begin your tour by taking in the skyline of San Francisco, the Bay, and Alcatraz Island from the Golden Gate. Stop for photos and admire the Art Deco style and bright orange-colored steel. Then, head to the Muir Woods National Monument. Pass by the majestic Mount Tamalpais and down a hilly coastal route along the Marin Headlands. Reach the Muir Woods and enjoy a free walk of 1 hour and 15 minutes to stroll among the old-growth redwoods and soak up the atmosphere. Follow winding trails and admire the diversity of flora and fauna. Stop for a break and buy food or a little redwood tree souvenir in the visitor center. Next, visit the beautiful Mediterranean-style seaside city of Sausalito. Walk around the picturesque town and pass by sea-view houses, shops, and cafes lining the waterfront. Visit the colorful Sausalito houseboat community, and discover architectural gems. See repurposed working boats and vessels dating back to World War II. From here, you can decide to explore more of Sausalito or take the ferry back across the bay. You can also be dropped back off in San Francisco. Note that if your tour starts at 8:30am, your drop-off location will be at Pier 33. If your tour starts at 12:50pm, you may be dropped off at Pier 33 or at 488 Post St.

San Francisco: Silent Disco Yoga at Baker Beach

10. San Francisco: Silent Disco Yoga at Baker Beach

Let the elements embrace you as you engage in purposeful movement, enjoy specially selected music for your journey, and benefit from the wisdom of our skilled instructors at San Francisco's famous Baker Beach. Silent disco-style headphones are used to provide clear yoga instruction and light music while allowing you to appreciate the soothing sound of the waves and control your own volume. Baker Beach offers unique and stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Marin Headlands, making this one of the most magical places to practice yoga. All levels are welcome and you can practice at your own pace and comfort level. It's also nice to leave time to linger after class. Baker Beach is a beautiful place to walk around and even have a picnic after class. If you’re attending a sunset class, it’s quite a treat to stay and watch the sun set! Schedule: Friday Evenings- Sunset Groove Yoga: Our beach groove class is the highlight of our offerings. Our instructors will lead you through a dynamic, accessible flow. As we near the close of our session, we invite you to the water's edge for a fun silent disco dance. As class comes to an end, take a moment to relish in the sheer beauty of the exquisite sunset. This class is accompanied by soulful, uplifting tunes and lively beats during the dance segment. Saturday Mornings: Groove Yoga Our beach groove class is the highlight of our offerings. Our instructors will lead you through a dynamic, accessible flow. As we near the close of our session, we invite you to the water's edge for a fun silent disco dance. This class is accompanied by soulful, uplifting tunes and lively beats during the dance segment. Sunday Mornings: Soul Flow Yoga Begin your Sunday with tranquility and soulfulness – engage in a morning yoga session amidst nature to revitalize your body, mind, and soul. A serene and revitalizing experience accompanied by a blend of jazzy, down-tempo music that are calming and uplifting.

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What people are saying about Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Overall rating

4.6
(3,116 reviews)

The mini van was a good size and very nice temperature. the guide was so knowledgeable and very helpful and an amazing driver. the woods were so beautiful and peaceful. sausalito afterwards was also nice and peaceful but I am a bit surprised more stores weren't open on a Friday Morning. This trip is absolutely worth it and you should book with Incredible Adventures over any one else!!!

Tour was great though as others have mentioned more time in Muir Woods and less time in Sausalito would be better . Not sure why the tour goes there at all apart from giving business to the town . Just 15 mins more in Muir woods would have been great .

Interesting and informative. It was a great trip. The tour guide had lots of knowledge of the area and was well spoken.

An excellent guide/driver. We took the morning tour, which was a great choice - Muir Woods completely empty!

This tour was amazing from beginning to the end. The staff were excellent and very friendly.