Avoid San Francisco Parking Hassles by Taking the Ferry into the City

San Francisco Bay FerryOne of the best things about living in the Sacramento area is that there are plenty of options for family friendly day trips. Whether it’s to the Sierra Foothills, down to the beach in Monterey or enjoying some world-famous wines in the Napa valley, we have access to some of the greatest tourist destinations within just a few hours.

Recently, our family decided to do something different – we ventured out to the “big city”- not by car, not by train, but by ferry!

I still can’t believe that after so many years of living in the Sacramento area, I had never even thought about taking the ferry into San Francisco for a day trip. Now, we are hooked! If you have kids that love the idea of experiencing different transportation sources, then this is the trip for you!

We began our day with a peaceful drive to Vallejo that took us just a little over an hour.  Once we arrived into Vallejo, we easily found a parking spot across the street from the ferry building, paid our $5 daily parking fee, grabbed our backpacks and set off on our day trip adventure. We boarded the San Francisco Bay ferry around 9am and enjoyed some coffee and pastries on the ship while the kids got ready to “set sail”.

We had plenty of room to relax and play a few hands of Uno, but my kids were mostly entertained by watching the waves and enjoying the cool ocean breeze on the back deck.  In about an hour and a half, we arrived at Pier 41 and set out to enjoy a day in the city.

The ferry gave us the ease of travel, without the hassle of paying for toll bridges, parking in the city, or traffic on the Bay Bridge, and we were able to just hang out and enjoy our kids.  The cost for our family of four to ride the ferry was approximately $45 round trip.  This is what it would have cost us to park our car at the pier!
Once we were at the Pier, we enjoyed the sights and tastes of the city (Clam Chowder in a Boudin Bread bowl of course!).

We debated on  hiking up to Ghirardelli Square and riding the trolley, but we opted for yet another ferry that took us to Angel Island. On the island, we were able to escape the crowds and enjoy a peaceful hike with views that you could typically only see on a postcard!

It was by far, one of the best day trips our family has taken in quite a while.  No stress with driving, parking and fees – just a day out enjoying some of the treasures our great state has to offer, while making memories with our family. If you are looking for a fun day trip adventure, I highly recommend taking the ferry into the city.  It was a great experience for not only our kids, but our entire family!

By Heather Crivellone






2 thoughts on “Avoid San Francisco Parking Hassles by Taking the Ferry into the City

  1. Thanks for the tips! May I ask the cost of the ferry to Angel Island? Can you take the Angel Island ferry from Pier 41 also? Thank you!

    • Hi Li,
      Yes- you can take the ferry from Pier 41 over to Angel Island. It was the “Blue and Gold Fleet”- literally, just a few steps off from the ferry that came in from Vallejo.
      The cost of the this ferry ride round trip was $18 for adults, $9.50 for kids ages 5-11 and the same for seniors.
      You can buy tickets onine, but we just hopped on the ferry and paid as we boarded.
      Hope this helps and you enjoy your day trip into the city.

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