Ferry to San Francisco

How to get to San Francisco by ferry

Getting to San Francisco by ferry is super easy! There are ferries all over the San Francisco Bay area you can take. In this article, we’ll help you get to downtown San Francisco by providing all the info you’ll need for your ferry journey.

  • The longest ferry to San Francisco is the Vallejo Ferry.
  • The Alameda Seaplane Ferry and Alameda Main Street Ferry are the quickest ferries to San Francisco.
  • San Francisco Bay Ferry and Golden Gate Ferry are the two leading San Francisco Bay Area ferry operators.

You should also know that there are no car ferries, only passenger ferries, that provide service to San Francisco.

Map of ferry routes to San Francisco

In the Bay Area, there are ten ferry routes that go directly to San Francisco, all docking at the San Francisco Ferry Building. Of the ten, the Berkeley Ferry is the only route not operated by San Francisco Bay Ferry or Golden Gate Ferry. It is operated by Tideline Marine Group.

Vallejo Ferry to San Francisco

For people living in or visiting the North Bay, taking the Vallejo Ferry is the best way to get to San Francisco. It is great for commuters as well as tourists because it offers a variety of departure times on both weekdays and weekends. There are early morning trips for commuters and late morning and afternoon trips for tourists and more casual riders.

On weekdays, riders have 13 trips to choose from. Departures start at 5:30 AM and go until 7:05 PM. Please note some of the morning departures, such as the ones at 7:15 AM and 7:45 AM, get very crowded due to their popularity among commuters. It is best to arrive 20-30 minutes prior to boarding to ensure you get a seat on one of those trips.

Gate E for San Francisco Bay Ferry at the San Francisco Ferry Building. There are two steel doors on the gate. One of the doors is open. On the left side of the gate a ferry boat departs from the dock. On the right of the gate, in the background, is the Bay Bridge. It is a clear, bright day.

Alameda Ferry to San Francisco

There are three ferries from Alameda to San Francisco — Alameda Main Street, Alameda Seaplane, and Harbor Bay. Alameda Seaplane is the quickest but only offers weekday service. Alameda Main Street offers both weekday and weekend service but stops briefly in Oakland on most trips which adds 15 minutes to the crossing. Harbor Bay ferry is best for regular commuters from the East Bay since it only operates on weekdays, but it provides ample departures during both mornings and evenings.

Alameda Main Street Ferry

The Alameda Main Street Ferry is one of the best ferries to San Francisco because it offers both weekday and weekend service. However, it is also the longest ferry from Alameda to San Francisco, with a total crossing time of 45 minutes. This is because nearly all of the trips make a brief stop in Oakland to pick up more passengers before continuing on to San Francisco. If you’re looking for a shorter crossing, then the Alameda Seaplane or Harbor Bay ferries may be better suited for you.

Alameda Seaplane Ferry

For those wanting to ferry to San Francisco on the weekdays, the Alameda Seaplane Ferry is a great option. Fifteen departures are offered Monday through Friday and the crossing time is only 20 minutes. Departure times vary throughout the day, but they start at 6:30 AM and go through 8:25 PM.

Harbor Bay Ferry

If you’re looking to commute from Alameda to San Francisco by ferry, then the Harbor Bay Ferry is the preferred route. There is ample free parking for 250 cars at the Harbor Bay Ferry terminal. And the trip only takes 25 minutes, with departures starting at 6:30 AM, which is perfect for early risers.

Sausalito Ferry to San Francisco

While a trip on the Sausalito Ferry to San Francisco only lasts 30 minutes, it features some exquisite scenery during the crossing. Along the way, you’ll be treated to gorgeous views of Angel Island, Alcatraz Island, and Treasure Island before arriving at the San Francisco Ferry Building.

The Sausalito Ferry operates different schedules on weekdays and weekends. There are seven trips on weekdays, with the first departure at 7:00 AM and the last at 6:25 PM. This makes it a viable ferry to San Francisco for commuters and tourists because of the early start time on weekdays.

On weekends, there are five trips to San Francisco offered, starting at 11:20 AM. If you’re looking for something to eat before your ferry trip, head to the Lighthouse Cafe or Poggio Trattoria. Both restaurants offer breakfast and brunch and are within walking distance of the Sausalito ferry landing.

Be sure to check out our Sausalito Ferry schedule for a complete list of weekday and weekend departure times.

Oakland Ferry to San Francisco

Taking the ferry from Jack London Square in Oakland to San Francisco is a breeze. Whether you’re a regular commuter, resident, or tourist, there are plenty of departures to choose from to fit your schedule. The trip is a short 25 minutes, and the Oakland Ferry runs 19 trips on weekdays and 15 on weekends, the most of any ferry to San Francisco. Check our Oakland Ferry schedule page to see all the trips offered.

A ferry vessel owned by San Francisco Bay Ferry docks at a pier at the San Francisco Ferry Building. The boat has a primarily white hull with the accent colors of green and blue. It has two passenger decks with windows on each. In the background is the Bay Bridge.

Larkspur Ferry to San Francisco

The Larkspur Ferry is one of the more popular ferries to San Francisco. Prior to the COVID-19 Pandemic, it averaged 1.5 million passengers annually.[1] While those numbers are down due to the pandemic (1.15 million riders in the fiscal year 2020), it is still a great choice for traveling to San Francisco by ferry.

The Larkspur Ferry runs on weekdays, weekends, and select holidays. On weekdays it offers departures throughout the day, starting at 6:40 AM and running until 7:25 PM, making it a viable travel option for commuters as well as visitors and tourists. On weekends, there are 5 trips starting at 8:15 AM, which is perfect for a day trip to San Francisco while still being able to return to Larkspur in time for dinner. Please note that the crossing time varies depending on if you are traveling on a weekday or weekend. On weekdays the crossing time is approximately 30 minutes, while on weekends, it is approximately 55 minutes.

There are plenty of sights to see along the journey, as well. From the passenger deck, you’ll catch glimpses of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, Tiburon, Mount Caroline Livermore on Angel Island, and Treasure Island before finally docking at the iconic San Francisco Ferry Building.

Tiburon Ferry to San Francisco

Golden Gate Ferry’s ferry from Tiburon to San Francisco is relatively new compared to the other routes it operates. The commuter service has only been operating since March 2017. However, the 30-minute trip is a great way to get from Marin County to San Francisco.

On weekdays, there are 7 trips throughout the day, with departures starting at 6:50 AM and the last vessel departing at 6:00 PM. On weekends, there are only 4 trips to choose from. Departures start at 10:25 AM, with a trip approximately every 2 hours. The last vessel departs at 6:05 PM on weekends.

Richmond Ferry to San Francisco

While Richmond has had ferry service in the past, one that stopped operating in the 1950s and another short-lived ferry service in the 1990s, the current ferry service, operated by San Francisco Bay Ferry, has only been operating since 2019. Originally, the ferry service only operated on weekdays for commuters. However, due to its popularity, it has since expanded service to weekends, as well.

The Richmond Ferry offers numerous weekday trips, with 14 in total. Trips start at 6:30 AM and continue throughout the day, with the last departure to San Francisco at 8:25 PM. On weekends, the service is much more abbreviated, with only 4 trips in total — 9:50 AM, 12:00 PM, 5:15 PM, and 6:45 PM.

Berkeley Ferry to San Francisco

While San Francisco Bay Ferry has plans to expand their ferry offerings into Berkeley, this ferry is not operated by them. The current Berkeley Ferry service is operated by Tideline Marine Group.

Of all the ferries to San Francisco, this one is the most limited. It is a commuter service and only offers four round trips daily — two in the morning and two in the afternoon. The morning trips from Berkeley are at 7:00 AM and 8:15 AM. The afternoon trips are at 3:30 PM and 4:45 PM. They make stops at Pier 1.5 (Ferry Building) and Pier 52 (Mission Bay) in San Francisco.

In conclusion, taking a ferry to San Francisco is a convenient and scenic way to travel. With ten ferry routes offering service directly to San Francisco, commuters and tourists have plenty of options to choose from. While you’ll have to leave your car behind, there are passenger ferries available from various locations around the San Francisco Bay area, such as Vallejo, Alameda, Sausalito, Oakland, Larkspur, Tiburon, Richmond, and Berkeley. Each ferry route offers different departure times and crossing times, making it easy to fit a ferry ride into your schedule. With stunning views of the Bay and nearby landmarks, taking the ferry to San Francisco is an enjoyable and stress-free experience.


  1. https://www.goldengate.org/ferry/history-research/statistics-ridership/