Swap the skyscrapers of San Francisco for the genteel appeal of Sausalito – a playground for the well-heeled and free-spirited. This good-looking hillside harbour town is at the northern end of the Golden Gate Bridge. Cycle across the bridge itself or catch the ferry for a leisurely ride. Then it’s simply a case of wandering the waterfront, dipping in to boutique shops, quirky galleries and alfresco restaurants, and admiring the houseboats and yachts.
San Francisco’s small-town neighbour, with bundles of character and charm.
Things to do
While the odd mega-mansion and luxury hotel dots the hillside, down at the water Sausalito’s houseboat community thrives – a nod to California’s historical hippy spirit. Some are re-imagined 1940s working vessels and boho boats with jumbles of flowerpots. Others are true grand designs with giant paddlewheels and sprawling decks. Wander the harbour walkways to appreciate these incredible floating homes.
FOOD & DRINK
For a small town, Sausalito has heaps of choice when it comes to restaurants. Many look over the bay – and some have views sweeping across the San Francisco skyline. Wine connoisseurs (and the simply curious) will be well served here too. Try the Madrigal Family Winery Tasting Salon, Real Napa or Bacchus and Venus for wine tasting and shopping.
If you’re itching to get onto the water, Sausalito has a handful of excellent sailing clubs. You could captain your own boat, enjoy a romantic sundown cruise or charter a sloop and sail all the way to Alcatraz. Or zip up your wetsuit and have a go at kiteboarding or stand-up paddleboarding.
For a closer look at Sausalito houseboats, time your visit to coincide with the annual tour. It’s often the only way to see inside some of the more offbeat and up-market homes.
Top tip from SLH