Nestled just north of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, the enchanting town of Sausalito, California, is a hidden gem bustling with culture, history, stunning views, and delightful culinary experiences.
With its charming Mediterranean flair, this seaside haven provides a perfect escape for both adventure seekers and tranquility enthusiasts alike.
In this article, we will give you an insider’s view of the town’s top attractions, hidden spots, and best-kept secrets. From tranquil beach getaways and historic landmarks to gourmet dining and unique local art scenes, this article explores every facet of Sausalito, making it an essential companion for your next trip to this picturesque Californian town.
22 Best & Fun Things To Do In Sausalito, CA in 2023
1. The Golden Gate Bridge
Begin your Sausalito journey with a mesmerizing walk or cycle ride across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. The suspension bridge, which connects San Francisco Bay to Marin County, is one of the top tourist attractions in Sausalito, CA.
Recognized as one of the Wonders of the Modern World, the 1.7-mile path is safe, well-maintained, and offers unrivalled views of the city skyline, the Pacific Ocean, and the impressive bridge structure itself.
Address: Golden Gate Brg, San Francisco, CA
2. Sausalito Art Festival
One of the fun things to do in Sausalito in autumn is to attend the annual Sausalito Art Festival held on Labor Day weekend. The festival is the biggest outdoor art festival in the United States and runs for three days each year.
Renowned for its quality and scope, this festival hosts over 260 artists from around the globe. As part of the things to do in the city, indulge in creative inspiration, live music, gourmet food, and a dedicated kid’s studio for budding young artists.
Address: 2400 Bridgeway #220, Sausalito, CA 94965
3. Bay Area Discovery Museum
One of the fun things to do in Sausalito with children is to explore the Bay Area Discovery Museum. Established in 1988, the museum features various indoor and outdoor interactive exhibits, including the Tot Spot, the Lookout Cove, and more.
An interactive oasis for families, the museum promises a hands-on learning experience for kids. Their educational programs encourage creativity, outdoor exploration, and critical thinking.
At the museum, kids can study simulations of the ports of San Francisco and Oakland in Bay Hall, play in the and with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge at BADM Beach, or build a skyline of their own at Cardboard City.
Address: 557 McReynolds Rd, Sausalito, CA 94965
4. Fort Baker National Park
Situated on 335-acre land almost directly beneath the Golden State Bridge, the Fort Baker National Park served as a U.S. Army post in 1905. After its transformation, the park now houses Cavallo Point as well as the Institute at the Golden Gate.
The park consists of over 25 historic army buildings clustered around a main parade ground, a sheltered harbor protected by a jetty, a number of historic gun emplacements, and trails and forested areas climbing up from San Francisco Bay.
As part of the fun things to do in Sausalito, you can engage in several outdoor recreational activities in the park, such as fishing, hiking, picnicking, and kayaking.
Address: Sausalito, CA 94965
5. Richardson Bay Marina
Your trip to Sausalito would be incomplete without visiting Richardson Bay Marina. Located in the waterfront community of Sausalito, the Richardson Bay Marina is famous for its Mediterranean flair and breathtaking views.
The marina has over 220 slips that can provide a perfect setting for you and your boat. It also has some of the latest and best amenities. At the marina, you find a location ideal for day sailing in the Bay or for offshore cruising and fishing.
6. Sausalito Historical Society
Looking for fun things to do in Sausalito, CA? Then travel back in time at the Sausalito Historical Society, which houses Sausalito’s intriguing past.
The Sausalito Historical Society collects and preserves art, artifacts, photographs and printed materials that document Sausalito’s history. It also provides access to the collection for public and academic research.
Their detailed exhibits narrate stories from the indigenous Miwok tribes to the town’s transformation into a shipbuilding hub during World War II. Take a guided tour through this historic center and learn about the town’s history and transformation.
Address: 420 Litho St, Sausalito, CA 94965
7. Sausalito Ferry Ride
One of the best things to do in Sausalito today is to appreciate the beauty of San Francisco Bay by taking a ferry ride from Sausalito.
The ferry ride will take about 30 minutes from Sausalito to the San Francisco Bay. The journey offers stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, and the San Francisco skyline. There are a number of local ferry providers. So check their schedule and plan your trip accordingly.
Address: Sausalito, CA 94965
8. Gabrielson Park
One of the fun things to do in Sausalito with pets is to explore Gabrielson Park. Located adjacent to Sausalito Ferry Pier, the 36-acre park is a shoreline gem with some of the best views of Angel Island and the Bay Bridge.
The park offers numerous outdoor recreation including a small open picnic shelter, a 10-acre lake for wishing, an enclosed shelter house for events, and a beach area for swimming. The park is also home to the famous music group Jazz and Blues by the Bay.
So if you’re visiting the park at night, you could catch a live performance by the band.
Address: Anchor St &, Humboldt Ave, Sausalito, CA 94965
9. The Marin Headlands
Located just outside of Sausalito, the Marin Headlands is a hilly peninsula at the southernmost end of Marin County. The Marin Headlands is famous for offering breathtaking views of the Bay Area, especially of the Golden Gate Bridge.
The Headlands offer miles of hiking trails with beautiful views of the ocean, the bay, and the city. This area is also home to numerous bird species and wildlife.
The centerpoint of the Marin Headlands skyline is the 920-foot Hawk Hill, the lookout point for the largest known flight of diurnal raptors in the Pacific states. This beautiful attraction site is one of the best places to visit near Sausalito, California.
Address:Sausalito, CA 94965
10. Point Bonita Lighthouse
One of the unique things to do in Sausalito is to take a walk to the Point Bonita Lighthouse. Located at Point Bonita at the San Francisco Bay entrance in the Marin Headlands, the lighthouse offers an enticing view of San Francisco Bay and the surrounding ocean waters.
The lighthouse is currently maintained by the US Coast Guard and is a major attraction site for history buffs and those looking for photo opportunities.
The Point Bonita Lighthouse is open to the public during limited hours, 2 days a week. So, plan your trip according to the schedule and go with your water to stay hydrated, as well as binoculars to view the local sea life.
Address:San Francisco Bay entrance in the Marin Headlands, Sausalito, CA 94965
11. Battery Spencer
One of the free things to do in Sausalito is to experience awe-inspiring vistas from Battery Spencer. At about 500 feet above the bay, this high cliff-top vantage point makes for great views today and was a prime location for big coastal defense guns when the army was here.
You can explore the view and old abandoned buildings that still stand from the battery’s military days, though many are currently locked up.
Address:Conzelman Rd, Sausalito, CA 94965
12. Downtown Sausalito
Your visit to Sausalito is incomplete without exploring Downtown Sausalito. Downtown Sausalito offers a diverse range of shopping and dining experiences.
With numerous unique and locally owned shops, galleries, eateries, and brew pubs lining the sidewalk line of the street, Downtown Sausalito is a destination like no other. Some of the shops and restaurants frequented by locals and tourists include Real Napa, Le Garage, Claire’s Attic, and Paul and Shark, among others.
Address:Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA 94965
13. Angel Island
One of the best things to do near Sausalito, CA, is to take a trip to Angel Island. Known as the “Ellis Island of the West”, Angel Island is a wonderful destination for fun, adventure, and American history.
The Island, which is the second largest island in the area of San Francisco Bay, offers some of the best views of the surrounding Bay Area. It also offers numerous outdoor recreational opportunities such as hiking, boating, camping, biking, swimming, snokerling and scuba diving.
Address: San Francisco Bay
14. The Bay Model Visitor Center
The Bay Model Visitor Center is one of the family-friendly places to visit in Sausalito, California. Also known as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Bay Model, the center displays a working hydraulic scale model of the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta System
The 1.5 acres model is capable of simulating tides and currents and is the only one of its kind in the world. As part of your itinerary, visit the model and see how the 3D models test works. Admission to the Bay Model Visitor Center is free, making it one of the free things to do in Sausalito.
Address:2100 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA 94965
15. Rodeo Beach
Rodeo Beach is a beautiful pebbly beach popular among locals and tourists. The beach is dark color and is made up of small pebbly stones in brown, red, green, and blue.
Rodeo Beach is a great place to have fun near the San Francisco area. The beach is an ideal place for surfing and sunbathing. It also has many features, including free entrance, wheelchair-accessible public restrooms, showers, picnic tables and on-site barbecues.
If you’re looking for dog-friendly things to do in Sausalito, then visit this dog-friendly beach.
Address: Sausalito, CA 94965
16. Plaza Viña del Mar Park
One of the fun outdoor activities to do is to explore the Plaza Viña del Mar Park. Located in Downtown Sausalito features a stunning landscape, elephant statues, and of course, the infamous fountain.
The fountain, which is the centerpiece of the Viña Del Mar Plaza, was designed by architect Willaim Faville. Facilities available at the park include benches, a lawn area and beautiful plants and landscape.
If you’re just visiting the city, explore the premises of Plaza Viña del Mar Fountain and Park and appreciate the well-landscaped area.
Address:2-98 Excelsior Ln, Sausalito, CA 94965
17. The Marine Mammal Center
Established in 1975, the Marine Mammal Center serves as a rescue facility for injured marine mammals until they are ready to go back to their natural habitat.
Located at Fort Cronkhite in the Marin Headlands, the Marin Mammal Center offers tours and educational activities for the entire family.
On your visit, you will see how sea animals like sea lions and harbor seals are nurtured. Although admission and self-guided tours are free of charge, you need to make a reservation in advance.
Address: 2000 Bunker Rd, Sausalito, CA 94965
18. Waldo Point Harbor
One of the best places to visit in Sausalito is the Waldon Point Harbor, a privately owned 245-berth floating home marina., also known as houseboats.
Located at the northern end of Richardson Bay, the floating homes are privately owned; each has a lease with the harbor for their berth.
As part of the free things to do in Sausalito today, visit the Waldo Point Harbor and check out the floating houses and have a view of the dock.
Address: 1 Gate 5 Rd C, Sausalito, CA 94965
19. Bridgeway Promenade
One of the fun outdoor activities to do in Sausalito is to take a walk at the Bridgeway Promenade. The Bridgeway, which is 0.4 miles long, stretches from the corner of Richardson Street and Bridgeway in the south to Yee Tock Chee Park in the north.
The Bridgeway Promenade is arguably the best stretch of the Sausalito waterfront. It offers a scenic view of the San Francisco Bay and the San Francisco skyline.
Although this area can get busy during the summer, it is one of the best places to visit in Sausalito.
Address: Sausalito, CA 94965
20. Muir Woods
Looking for fun things to do near Sausalito? Then take a day trip to Muir Woods National Monument. Located in nearby Mill Valley, the Muir Woods is one of the best attraction sites to visit for nature enthusiasts.
Walking through the famous old-growth redwoods, cooling their roots in the fresh water of Redwood Creek, you’ll marvel at this beauty.
The woods contains six miles of hiking trails, ranging from just half-hour loops to hours-long trails that extend into Mount Tamalpais State Park.
Address: Mill Valley, CA 94941
21. Trip to San Francisco
One of the fun things to do near Sausalito is to take a trip to San Francisco. Located just a few minutes away from Sausalito, the city is known for its sparkling, windy, artsy, and culture-rich metropolis.
San Francisco is also one of the most popular tourist destinations in California. The city is full of fun, with plenty of boutique shops and landmarks and historic structures. Plan a trip here and enjoy the many fun things to do in San Francisco.
22. Have a Fancy Diner
One of the most romantic things to do in Sausalito, CA, for couples is to dine in one of the food establishments in the city. There are numerous restaurants in the city where you can have a taste of southern flavor.
If you’re visiting the city with your partner, then visit one of these restaurants and explore all that they have to offer. Some of the best places to eat in Sausalito include Le Garage, Cavallo Point, Scoma’s of Sausalito, Napa Valley Burger Company, and Sushi Ran, among others.
Thoughts on Things to do in Sausalito
With its idyllic coastal location, rich history, vibrant art scene, and world-class dining, Sausalito, California, offers countless experiences to explore and enjoy. Whether you’re looking for relaxation, adventure, or cultural immersion, Sausalito has something to offer every visitor. Safe trip!