There are many ways to see the Golden Gate Bridge, on foot, two wheels or more, and from the water. Here is a selection of the best tours to see San Francisco’s revered bridge.
It’s one of the best-known emblems of tourism in the United States, an instantly recognizable icon of the American dream, daubed dark orange (known as international orange) and often consumed by fog. The Golden Gate Bridge is a mile-long (1.6km) structure that spans the strait connecting San Francisco Bay to the Pacific Ocean. There are many tours exploring its history and significance, and each one has its own unique approach to encountering the famous suspension bridge, including riding over it, passing under it and even flying above it. Here are five of the best options, factoring in value for money, quality of experience and more.
Frisco Golden Gate Bay Cruise
One of the most popular ways to see the Golden Gate Bridge up close is on a boat tour, such as this one-hour trip that has been running since 1939. The boats may have been upgraded since then but there’s no need to fix a tour itinerary that is already working. You’ll cruise around Alcatraz Island, passing Marin Headlands, North Beach and many other Frisco highlights, as well sailing beneath the Golden Gate Bridge. An audio guide is included. There are between eight and 14 daily departures. From $38 per person.
Golden Gate Bridge Catamaran Cruise
Given that the Golden Gate Bridge was created to span a large body of water, sailing tours have long proven the most popular way to get closer to the dark orange conduit. This 90-minute catamaran tour of San Francisco Bay is a great way to feel closer to the marine life, such as sea lions, or feel the waves rush beneath you from the safety of the canvas nets. Refreshments can also be purchased on board. This tour departs twice a day. From $60 per person.
Golden Gate Bike Tour
While most people know that it’s possible to cross the Golden Gate Bridge by car, the good news is, it’s also crossable by bike or on foot too on a wide, car-free path. During this guided bike tour from Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco to Sausalito you’ll cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge. The tour will take around three hours. Once on the Sausalito side you’ll be able to explore Fort Baker and keep your bike until closing time, or return straight back San Francisco. This tour also includes a next-day trip to Alcatraz as part of the fee. From $99 per person.
GoCar Tour of Golden Gate Bridge and the Lombard Loop
If you’d like to turn a few heads while you motor across the Golden Gate Bridge, some petrol heads might opt for a Harley or some kind of muscle car. But there’s nothing undisputedly cooler that a GoCar. These characterful, bright yellow vehicles are easy to drive and have GPS navigation to keep you on the right track. During the tour you’ll visit sights that are off the beaten track before crossing the Golden Gate Bridge and back again. If you’d like, you can even park up and walk part of the bridge before heading off again in style. From $131 per person.
San Francisco Vista Helicopter Tour
Another way to turn heads is to zip over the Golden Gate Bridge in a chopper on this 15-minute flight above San Francisco Bay. You’ll pass over many a recognizable landmark, including Alcatraz Island (aka The Rock), Coit Tower, and the Transamerica pyramid, along with both the Bay and Golden Gate bridges. If your hotel is located close to Union Square or Fisherman’s Wharf then hotel pick-up is also provided, whisking you off to the helipad to begin your aerial tour. This tour is available from Fri to Sun. From $215 per person.