Travel California: San Francisco From The Water

Travel California:
San Francisco From The Water

As with any big city, there are many ways to explore San Francisco. Water shapes the city's boundaries, and it's a natural way to frame your travel experience in more ways than one. 

Here are some ideas.

Sailboat on San Francisco Bay by Mary Clark from Pixabay (CC0C)
Sailboat on San Francisco Bay by Mary Clark from Pixabay (CC0C)


The San Francisco Sailing Company offers private yacht charters as well as daily sailing tours at affordable rates, like the Sunset Sail that includes a couple of drinks to help enjoy the panoramic views.

At Adventure Cat Sailing Charters, you can choose from daily sailing tours or private charters on a catamaran. With two hulls, a catamaran offers a generally more stable ride (good for newbies on the water). 

San Francisco Bay Adventure Sailing gives you the chance to get the America's Cup Sailing Experience. You'll join the crew on USA 76, a 50,000 lb carbon fibre yacht that was used by the Oracle Racing team at the 2003 America's Cup in New Zealand. It's available for individuals as well as private parties, with ticketed trips available daily.

ocean kayaking
Ocean kayaking by Sarah Richter from Pixabay (CC0C)

Other on-the-water adventures

At Ocean Beach, windsurfing and kiteboarding are available - with views of the Golden Gate Bridge from Crissy Park, a popular spot for the sports.

You can rent a kayak and head out on the Bay, with seakayaking classes available for novice or refreshers. For experienced kayakers, there are tours to the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and more.

As a stop along the migration route, San Francisco has two whale watching seasons, from December through April, when grey whales, sperm whales and orcas pass through the bay, and summer through to November, when blue or humpback whales can be spotted along their routes.

The Oceanic Society is an ethical whale watching provider, meaning they keep an appropriate distance, and do not engage with or bother the animals. Their tours are educational, and the company has been conducting them since 1972.

Indian Springs spa
Image courtesy of Indian Springs Spa & Resort

Hot Springs

With pools, water spas and fabulous surroundings, spa retreats are some of the best ways to enjoy the waters of California.

Calistoga Spa Hot Springs

Tucked into the storied Napa Valley, you can enjoy volcanic ash mineral bath treatments, massages, and much more, along with four outdoor natural geothermal mineral pool where the water temperatures reach up to 104 °F. Located in the town of Calistoga, the boutique resort and spa is an LGBTQ-friendly hotel.

Indian Springs Resort and Spa, Tassajara

Also located in Calistoga, Indian Springs is California's oldest continuously operating pool and spa. The resort is located on 16 acres of lush property planted with olive and palm trees, and flowers. There are four thermal geysers on the property that ensure an abundant supply of natural mineral water.