Nestled on the Californian shoreline – where the calm waters of San Francisco Bay meet the rolling waves of the Pacific Ocean – coastal San Francisco boasts historic sights, sensational flavors, and panoramic sea views

If you’re planning a trip to the City by the Bay, here’s our roundup of the best ways to see San Francisco with ease. From the vibrant urban streets and open ocean views, to the rugged natural beauty on the city’s doorstep, San Francisco has a little something special for all.

To make the most of the coastal climate, the best times to visit are Spring and Fall. From March to May, Spring brings blooming flowers, seasonal farmers’ markets, and a vibrant calendar of local festivals. And as the year ticks round and Fall approaches, the months of September through November offer warm, sunny days ideal for getting out and about. 

City Sightseeing in San Francisco

If you’re short on time or keen to save the shoe leather, a San Francisco city tour is the way to go. You’ll hit all the main city highlights – from the iconic Golden Gate Bridge to the sweeping North Beach shoreline – and see the best of the city in comfort. 

Watch bison grazing and admire seasonal flower displays in pretty Golden Gate Park – where colorful tulips bob in the breeze beneath soaring windmills. Learn the secrets of famous neighborhoods like Haight-Ashbury, spin through the vibrant Chinatown district, and soak up the atmosphere in Fisherman’s Wharf – one of the most popular tourist attractions in the western United States. 

Our San Francisco city tour is a 4-hour guided adventure, and you’re free to alight and explore on foot at all the stops along the way. We’ll pause to admire the scenery from vantage points on route, including the Land’s End lookout and Twin Peaks – which boasts panoramic city views from 1000 feet above sea level!

Escape to Nature in California’s Great Outdoors

You don’t have to travel far to escape the urban sprawl of San Francisco city, and visitors keen for a taste of the great outdoors have a wonderful range of options to consider. 

Half-day trips to Muir Woods and Sausalito whisk travelers over the Golden Gate Bridge and into the coastal mountains of Marin County. Admire sweeping views over San Francisco Bay on the way to the Muir Woods National Monument. Here, mighty Giant Redwood trees soar into the skies over Redwood Creek. You’ll also get to visit the charming coastal town of Sausalito – where elegant boutiques and stylish art galleries offer a relaxing break from the busy streets of San Francisco. 

For wine lovers exploring this corner of the Californian coast, no trip is complete without visiting the Sonoma Valley and Napa Valley wineries. Full-day tours take in up to three of the region’s boutique wineries, with expert guides on hand to bring California’s winemaking history to life. Wander through the fertile vineyards, and find out how the delicate grapes are picked, processed, blended, and bottled. Guided tours finish with a tasting, where you’ll learn what makes these sensational wines so special. 

A jewel in California’s crown, the world-famous Yosemite Valley showcases some of the state’s most impressive natural landscapes. Day tours to the Yosemite National Park from San Francisco take visitors deep into the Yosemite wilderness, where wild bighorn sheep, cougars, mule deer, and black bears thrive in their natural habitat. Viewpoints throughout the park offer breathtaking views over famous peaks like El Capitan and Half Dome, and winding trails lead hikers beneath North America’s tallest waterfall – Yosemite Falls. 

Take to the Waves in San Francisco Bay

As a coastal city, San Francisco Bay cruises are never far from visitors’ minds – and there’s no better way to take in the views than from the water. 1-hour cruises glide gracefully along San Francisco’s historic waterfront, offering unobstructed views over the city skyline. Learn the secrets of top attractions including Pier 39, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the infamous Alcatraz Island, as on-board narration sheds light on 150 years of colorful history. And be sure to keep an eye on the water to spot curious harbor porpoises ripping and splashing through the waves. 

For a more immersive half-day experience, combining a San Francisco city tour and Bay cruise is a great way to explore San Francisco by land and sea in one adventurous tour. The city tour hits all the spots you’d hope for – including Golden Gate Bridge, Chinatown, Fisherman’s Wharf, and North Beach. Ending back at the waterfront, you then transfer to your ferry to admire Pier 39, Alcatraz Island, and the many features of beautiful San Francisco Bay.