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  • Writer's pictureJefferson Graham

Where to "Photosail" in San Francisco

You’ve heard me talk a lot lately about the rise in camera thefts in San Francisco, happening in popular tourist spots like Fisherman’s Wharf, Crissy Field (where my gear was lifted) Twin Peaks and the Marin Headlands.

But here’s a way to get a killer shot of the Golden Gate and San Francisco Bay without having to worry. Get your shots on a boat. Who’s going to rob you there when you’re all stuck together for the cruise?

Besides, one of the great spots for photographing the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco Bay isn't just on land, but from a boat. And it's easy to do, by catching a ferry, cruise or one of the small boats that offers "Bay Tours." And they all offer easy access to some of the greatest photo spots in the world, often at affordable prices.

Just take a walk in Fisherman’s Wharf and you’ll see barkers offering $20 tours of the Bay. A ferry ride to Angel Island is even cheaper, at $14 per person (or $7 for seniors and kids). This will bring you to Tiburon in Marin County (an incredible place to spend an afternoon—lunch spot, Sam’s Anchor Cafe) and afford you water views of the San Francisco skyline and the Golden Gate Bridge. When you’re on the island, climb to the top for an even better view of the Golden Gate.

The Alcatraz Island ferry is more expensive, at $49, and more of an organized tour of the island and the former prison setup. (There are still tons of views from the boat and island.) The Red and White fleet is the best known of the large ferry cruise options, and it charges $38 per person for a one-hour cruise of the Golden Gate. The Blue and Gold Fleet offers a similar one-hour cruise for $36. Book ahead, as this one sounds interesting: a 4th of July Golden Gate fireworks cruise! (However, that one will set you back $96.)

You know they speak my language when they plug the cruise this way: “Take advantage of prime photo opportunities with unobstructed views in every direction.”

I was lucky to hitch a ride with a friend (thank you Mike McCue!) who has his own sailboat for our Photosail cruise. Click the video above to see highlights of what to expect out on the water.


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