Spending time outdoors and switching up your routine are critical for wellbeing during this extended pandemic. Since Sausalito is located in one of the most dynamic areas of the country filled with dramatic natural features, residents are fortunate to have various COVID-19 safe activities and adventures they can enjoy with family and friends right in their backyard.
With its awe-inspiring Art Deco towers and sweeping suspension cables, the iconic red bridge commences in Northern San Francisco and terminates in Sausalito. This wonder of the modern world is more than a piece of transportation infrastructure. It was deliberately constructed and subsequently embraced by the city to be an experience in and of itself.
The bridge’s southern edge sits at Presidio Park, home to indoor and outdoor exhibits showcasing its incredible history, engineering, and construction. These eye-opening displays give visitors a deeper understanding and appreciation of the structure before making the 1.7-miles walk across it.
Crossing the bridge allows one to truly appreciate the magnificent San Francisco skyline and sweeping views of Sausalito. For a more exciting and invigorating experience perfect for a group outing, three-hour biking tours are available. With bicycles, helmets, maps, and other necessary equipment included, bikers can enjoy one of the most scenic bike rides in America.
The visitor center is open every day, 9 AM to 6 PM. Free.
Hundreds of years ago, mammoth-sized redwood trees covered much of the Northern California coast. Although the majority of these forests have disappeared to deforestation, Muir Woods is one of the few places one can experience the quiet grandeur of this nature, and it’s conveniently located a short drive from Sausalito.
The park features over three miles of manicured hiking trails, so one can immerse themselves in the sanctuary-like forest and appreciate the enormous canopy of leaves hundreds of feet above them. Since Muir Woods is a federally-protected forest, residents of Sausalito and visitors will be able to enjoy this extraordinary example of nature indefinitely.
Muir woods also features a visitor center to learn more about redwood trees and even a small sandy beach with picnic tables farther down the hiking trail. Nature has always been a source of perspective and restorative energy, and the magnificent beauty of this forest is a privilege to have during these times.
This is one of the most eccentric and wonderful things that is unique to Sausalito. Down by the marina is a community of over 500 “floating homes”—as the residents like to call them. This community is far from new, as the first floating homes made an appearance in Sausalito in 1880. Over the next 140 years, the community only grew in significance for Sausalito and its cultural heritage.
The floating home community took off in the 1960s as an alternative way to live, especially since Sausalito’s neighboring city of San Francisco was the capital of the hippie and beatnik movements. To this day, the floating home society values art, community, and color. Strolling the docks and gazing at these curious floating homes, one can feel and enjoy the lively energy of this unique community.
Although the floating homes can be viewed from the outside year-round, visitors are offered the chance to see the insides of these eccentric and colorful dwellings once a year. The open-house tour of local houseboats occurs annually in September and is a major attraction for the surrounding area. This tour is perfect for small groups and offers an excellent opportunity to catch up with friends! The floating homes are a valued part of Sausalito and are an effervescent display of what makes the town such a wonderful and vibrant place to live.
Docks open all day, every day. Free. The best entrance is near the Floating Homes Association.
Another annual event Sausalito is known for is their very own art festival. Held alongside the picturesque marina over Labor Day Weekend, the festival celebrates local art and community. Residents and visitors alike enjoy exploring the local talent, dancing to live music, and indulging in curated food and drink.
Having the distinction as the largest art festival in America, this event is no small affair. Previous festivals featured over 260 artists from across the county, including painters, sculptors, photographers, digital artists, and jewelry makers. Musical performers make their mark, and headline performances have included Jefferson Starship, George Clinton, and Eric Burdon.
Since Sausalito is located near Napa Valley, tastings and enjoying the fruits of California’s own Wine Country are an integral part of the festival. The 2021 Sausalito Art Festival is still slated to occur over this year’s labor day with necessary attendee restrictions and mask mandates and is not to be missed. There are few better ways to enjoy and celebrate the extraordinary community they are a part of than attending this glorious festival.
Located in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Area Discovery Museum has the distinction of being one of the few children’s exhibition centers within a national park. Founded over twenty-five years ago, this establishment features a wide variety of interactive exhibits targeting children’s curiosity and visual sense of the world.
A particularly popular installation is “How Things Work”—an exhibit featuring everyday objects, from pianos to cars, cut in half and detailed to show how they operate. Similarly, Bay Hall houses several scale models of San Francisco landmarks—the bridge, the wharf, etc.—which children can interact with to understand the basics of their functioning. Outside, the Lookout Cove is 2.5 acres of nautical-themed playground equipment, which are hit with the young ones as the parents relax on nearby benches.
Besides the beautiful views of the San Francisco Bay, the Discovery Museum also offers various COVID-19 safe camps and classes. Courses include Pop Art, Game Design, and more, and are all inquiry-driven and hands-on learning experiences. Since stimulation and creativity are critical parts of a child’s well-being, especially during times of quarantine, the variety offered by the Bay Area Discovery Museum is an invaluable resource that parents of Sausalito have at their disposal.
Open Wednesday through Sunday, 9 AM to 4 PM. Reservations required. Adults and children are $18, infants under 11 months are $15, seniors are $16.
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