Family posing for picture with a great view of Golden Gate Bridge

How to Get the Best View of the Golden Gate Bridge

From under, across, or afar, we’ve rounded up five places and ways to get the best view of the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s one of those iconic landmarks that I’ve been dreaming to see for a very long time. I remember thinking “I’ve got to see this place!” as a kid whenever I watched the opening credits of the 80’s sitcom Full House. Alas, I date myself.

My first up-close view of the bridge was during a spring break trip we took there as a family. We spent a few days in Yosemite before renting an Airbnb in San Francisco. And, as a side note, spring is an absolute fantastic season to visit Yosemite National Park.

That first experience certainly made a lasting impression.

How to Get the Best View of the Golden Gate Bridge

Baker Beach

One of our kids did some research on the best places to get a spectacular view and photo of the Golden Gate Bridge. Baker Beach kept coming up in his search and we were so excited to head there asap.

We found parking fairly easy, got out and walked down to Baker beach armed with our phones, cameras, and excitement. It really is a spectacular view and on any day, no matter the weather, can take your breath away.


As we started walking on the beach closer and closer to the bridge for the perfect spot for that perfect shot, we noticed something. We noticed men playing frisbee. Completely naked!

Little did we know that the northern section of the beach is clothing optional. Oops. The end nearest to the bridge is clothing optional. That is definitely something you want to know before arriving. We did get some amazing photos, even though I had to crop out a few, well, you know.

Here’s a slightly grainy picture I took with my phone. Yes, Baker Beach is a great location from which to take photos of the bridge. But, unfortunately, I can’t claim to be the best photographer. Perhaps you are!

So I do highly recommend Baker Beach for a photo opportunity of this beauty. I hear it’s spectacular at sunset.

best view of golden gate bridge

Via a Tour Bus

In all honesty, we’re not big bus tour people. Part of it is we like to be in control of our travels and part of it is because they’re so touristy and often-times crowded. That said, we decided to try it out.

The hop on, hop off option seemed worth a go. We liked the idea of being able to get off any time we wanted and explore an area on our terms. 


Big Bus Tours takes you to the major sites like China Town, Fisherman’s Wharf and yes, across the Golden Gate Bridge. It was nice to just sit back, relax and let someone else do the driving. (Not that I ever do the driving. Sorry, Todd.)

We decided it would be fun to ride on the top of the bus so we could get the best experience of driving across the Golden Gate Bridge as possible. Let me tell you, it.was.windy.

golden gate bridge via a big bus tour


We had the Classic One Day Ticket, which allowed us to see just enough of the sites of San Francisco. There are several ticket options including premium, deluxe and a night tour.

Would we do it again? Probably not. But it was a fun one-time experience and a cool way to see the Golden Gate Bridge from a different perspective.

Sailing Up and Under Golden Gate

Sailing up to and under the Golden Gate Bridge with Adventure Cat Sailing was not only my absolute favorite way to see it, but it was also my absolute favorite thing we did while on our second visit to San Francisco.

adventure cat sailing San Francisco

Image courtesy of Adventure Cat Sailing

The sailing tour leaves from Pier 39 and is 90-minutes of an adventure experience you won’t get anywhere else. The crew was fun, personable, while still maintaining a level of professionalism you want to see while out on the water. 

They let both of our boys have their hand at the ropes and taught them a little about sailing. Our boys learned a bit more about boating on a future trip in Maryland. I would definitely say they’ve both been bitten by the sailing bug!

Sailing with Adventure Cat in San Francisco


There were so many things I loved about this adventure, it’s hard to put it into words. We spent most of our time outside, soaking in the view and the ocean spray. My son Aaron and I even laid down and relaxed a bit while the ocean flowed beneath us.

This was a popular spot for kids and adults who act like kids. Just make sure you don’t let your phone, camera or anything else important slip out of your pocket, through the holes and into the ocean. (Yes, they said that’s happened before. More than once.)

Sailing San Francisco with Adventure Cat Sailing

After a while, I needed a little break from the cold and wind, so I headed down below where they had tables and a bar area set up. I ordered a glass of wine and relaxed, just waiting for the moment to sail up to and under the Golden Gate Bridge.


When the boat reaches just the perfect spot for pictures, they stop and take your picture for you. Sailing with my two boys in San Francisco, with this view in the background, is a time in my life I’ll never forget. 

sailing with adventure cat sailing san francisco
Sailing with Adventure Cat Sailing San Francisco

From the Royal Prince Vessel

If you’re prone to seasickness and sailing sounds like an absolute nightmare, you can do what Todd did and see the bridge from the Royal Prince Vessel. It’s a smoother and calmer ride out on the water.

Thankfully, Todd didn’t get sick but instead was able to truly enjoy the view of the bridge, Alcatraz and he even saw the sailboat we were on. The Royal Prince Vessel also leaves from Pier 39, so it was super convenient for us to go on two separate boats.

Royal Prince vessel

Here’s what Todd had to say about the experience:

Off we headed toward the Golden Gate Bridge. It took us about 30 minutes to get out to the bridge and make our way under it for some great views and pictures. I was able to spot a couple of dolphins and some parasailers along the way, as well as spotting my family’s sailboat and a massive cargo ship slipping under the bridge. All in all, an impressive experience.

Bike Across the Golden Gate Bridge

I feel like I’m completely cheating with this last way to see the Golden Gate Bridge because we didn’t actually do this. Instead of biking across the bridge to Sausalito, we took a ferry, which for our family of non-cyclists, was the way to go.

But, if you are a cyclist and are up for an experience of a lifetime, biking could be an epic way to experience not only the bridge, but also San Francisco and Sausalito.

View of San Francisco from Sausalito

Here’s how to spend a day in Sausalito, with your bike in tow.

Bike across the bridge to this quaint and beautiful little town. Stop at one of the designated spots for parking your bike in Sausalito. Spend the day shopping, eating and antiquing. Be sure to walk along the water. Look up the crazy real estate prices on Zillow like we did. (Super fun.) At the end of the day, you can rest easy by returning by ferry. Don’t forget your bikes!

And there you go, the perfect day in Sausalito that started with a fantastic view and experience with the Golden Gate Bridge.

However you decide to get the perfect view of the Golden Gate Bridge, we truly hope your time there is as wonderful as ours was. We’ve flown there and stayed at an Airbnb and we’ve RVd right in the city. Both were amazing experiences we hope to have again someday.


5 Ways to get the best views of Golden gate Bridge

Similar Posts


  1. What gorgeous views! We’ve been to San Francisco twice and the first time we did take one of those tour buses it was pretty cool to go to all the places we did. The next time we did go to that beach (thankfully no naked men, lol) and went out to Alcatraz too. It was much cooler than we expected and almost froze! Would love to go again.

  2. Another spectacular viewpoint is Point Bonita Lighthouse. It is a drive, but absolutely worth it, fog permitting. The Marin Headlands are incredible to visit.

    1. We’ll have to add that to our list for next time. I am ALL about lighthouses, no matter the drive! Thanks for the tip. πŸ™‚

  3. I wish I had seen this before my trip to San Fran! I had no idea that sailing under the bridge was an option, I did peak it though while going to Alcatraz! Thanks so much for these tips.

  4. What a fun article. My wife’s job takes her to San Fransisco a couple times a year. I’m sending her this link so she can check it out. She’d love to sail beneath the bridge!

  5. I haven’t been to California to see this bridge myself. It does look fascinating, especially in Full House. Loved that show as a kid. Aunt Becky πŸ™

  6. Sausalito is SO much fun – definitely my recommendation because there are so many great things to do there! The houseboats are incredible πŸ™‚

    1. Yes! We love Sausalito. We had a blast looking at all of the houses and then checking out the real estate prices. πŸ™‚

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *