Surprises Await on the Tiburon Ferry

Most people jump on the Ferry to Alcatraz Island when they visit San Francisco, or head to the City from the Larkspur Ferry to enjoy a San Francisco Giants game. But a hidden gem of the ferry system, is the Blue and Gold Fleet ferry from Tiburon to San Francisco and back again.

Last weekend, Karl and I had planned to surprise our daughter in the City, jump on the Larkspur Ferry to the Ferry Building and take her out to lunch to our favorite restaurant, Gott’s Roadside Diner. Well, let it be known that I need reading glasses, and am a bit stubborn about using them, and tried to fake it as I read the weekend schedule. Long story short, we missed the ferry departure time by 20 minutes. (Yes, there is a limited weekend schedule, so read it carefully!) Karl rolled his eyes and proclaimed we could catch a ferry in Tiburon, so off we raced down the 101S to Tiburon. Also, let it be known that Karl doesn’t take no for an answer. He is very persistent and can be depended on to get the job done.

Now I have an image in my mind, that a lady should always dress for San Francisco. I wore lovely shoes that day to match my outfit, but not ones that a person should run in to catch a ferry. Karl ran ahead and held a place in line. By the time I arrived, I was hot, sweaty and a bit frumpy.  This is where the delights and surprises began. You can buy your ticket on board the Ferry, but I recommend you have cold hard cash, (the on-board credit card machine is very slow.) The fee is only $10 per person each way, not bad for a scenic view of the bay. But an additional reason to have cash…refreshing beers and cocktails (for a very reasonable price) are available for sale! I promptly purchased a Corona beer with a fresh lime slice for top side.

As we climbed the stairs to the top deck, the views opened up! As the Ferry pulled away from the dock, the breeze from the gate, and the light reflecting off the water was delightful. Soon we were treated to a bay view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Now I have seen the Golden Gate Bridge for years, and it never disappoints. Every time, I feel as though it is the first time. The architecture, the color and the spanning of the gate is lovely.

The trip across the bay is maybe 30 minutes, though it seemed shorter. As we reached top speed, the water breaking against the boat, the breeze blowing back your hair, you get a unique view of the San Francisco skyline. Old favorites like Coit Tower and the Transamerican building can be seen, as we headed toward Pier 41. You’ll pass by Angel Island, Alcatraz Island, see the Bay Bridge and finally dock at Pier 41. Exit the ferry, turn left toward Pier 39 and become a tourist. There are shops galore, seafood and Italian restaurants, sea lions on floating docks, and if you are so inclined, enjoy a walk along the promenade of the Embarcadero.


Be sure to check the Ferry schedule again before you leave the City, so you can catch the last ferry of the evening as dusk falls. You won’t be disappointed. We caught the last rays of sunlight as they hit the water just beyond the Golden Gate Bridge. You can see the skyline of the City receding in the distance, and enjoy the ferry virtually by yourself. Take a deep breath and enjoy!

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