California Sightseeing cruises

Our most recommended California Sightseeing cruises

San Francisco: 1-Hour Bay Cruise by Boat

1. San Francisco: 1-Hour Bay Cruise by Boat

Enjoy a 1-hour journey along San Francisco's historic waterfront and experience the thrilling history of the San Francisco Bay, with all the sound and glory it deserves. The 1-hour non-stop Bay Cruise takes you past the famous PIER 39 sea lions and along San Francisco’s historic waterfront, revealing the city’s fascinating skyline. Relax in comfort, with both indoor and outdoor seating, and enjoy a full narration describing major landmarks as you sail by. See sights like the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and the iconic San Francisco skyline as you go. Whether it’s your first time to San Francisco, or your 10th visit, the Bay Cruise is something you should experience at least once in your life. You will get a complimentary souvenir map, which is available in nine languages, and if you get hungry, there’s a full-service snack bar on board with food and drink available to purchase.

San Francisco: Golden Gate Bay Cruise

2. San Francisco: Golden Gate Bay Cruise

Cruise around the Golden Gate Bay on a boat tour. Enjoy informative commentary, see sights like Alcatraz Island, and purchase food and drink from the onboard bar. Launched in 1939 as part of the Golden Gate International Exposition, this 1-hour cruise has been a highlight of any visit to San Francisco for over 75 years. With 8-14 departures daily from Fisherman's Wharf, you will sail along San Francisco's breathtaking waterfront, under the majestic Golden Gate Bridge, and close to the notorious Alcatraz Island. Discover San Francisco's fascinating history, brought to life through audio commentary broadcast in 16 languages via personal headphones. Look out for wildlife along the way, including pelicans, sea lions, and even dolphins and whales. Sail past the lively neighborhood of North Beach, the famous swimming clubs of Aquatic Park, the historic vessels at Hyde Street Pier, and San Francisco Maritime National Park, before heading west towards Golden Gate Bridge. Enjoy views of Crissy Field and the lush hillsides of the Presidio, before cruising under Golden Gate Bridge. Steam back into the Bay, traveling past the wildlife reserves of the Marin Headlands, and the legendary town of Sausalito, once home to the 1960s’ flower generation. With Angel Island State Park to your left, cruise around the infamous Alcatraz. After a full hour of exciting sights, the barking sea lions at Pier 39 welcome you back to Pier 43 1/2. A full bar with drinks, snacks, and merchandise, including logo wear, is available at reasonable prices on board the iconic red and blue sea vessels.

South Lake Tahoe: Sightseeing Cruise of Emerald Bay

3. South Lake Tahoe: Sightseeing Cruise of Emerald Bay

Embark on a sightseeing cruise starting in South Lake Tahoe either at sunset or during the day. Take in the scenic beauty while cruising 11 kilometers across the lake to Emerald Bay, one of the top ten most photographed places in the world. Savor snacks and drinks as you sail. See the majestic mountains of South Lake Tahoe while onboard the world-class Tahoe Bleu Wave yacht. As you cruise, you will find indoor and outdoor seating with 360-degree panoramic views of Lake Tahoe, the snow-capped mountains, Fannette Island, Vikingsholm Castle, Eagle Waterfall, and the Rubicon. Navigate the pristine waters of Lake Tahoe while hearing your captain's narration about this lake. You may even get the chance to see a variety of wildlife such as the bald eagle, black bears, and wild geese. If you've chosen the sunset option, relax and watch the sun dip low below the sky.

Sacramento: Historic Gold Rush River Cruise

4. Sacramento: Historic Gold Rush River Cruise

Spend the afternoon on a one-hour narrated cruise. Learn about the legendary past of California's capital city, from the first days of the Gold Rush to the booming metropolis that is here today. Set in Old Sacramento, California’s capital and the center of the state’s legendary Gold Rush story, cruises here drift down the scenic Sacramento River and provide a peek at historic sites and modern developments alike.

San Diego: Harbor Cruise

5. San Diego: Harbor Cruise

See San Diego's best sights. Learn about the city and enjoy a cruise on the bay. Depending on the option booked, this tour takes you under the Coronado Bridge, past military ships, waterfront landmarks, and marine life for a look at San Diego's scenic beauty and fascinating history. This tour’s luxury ships offer three levels with comfortable indoor and outdoor seating, 360-degree views, and an on-board snack bar serving snacks, soda, beer, wine and cocktails (available for purchase). This is a great way to experience San Diego from the water.

San Francisco: Escape from The Rock Bay Cruise

6. San Francisco: Escape from The Rock Bay Cruise

Hop on board a boat and cruise around Alcatraz Island and other sights of San Francisco Bay on this round trip journey. Benefit from a straight-to-the-gate access ticket and informative commentary as you go. Cruise San Francisco Bay and sail under the Golden Gate Bridge on a 90-minute narrated tour by boat around Alcatraz Island. Skip the box office line and go straight to the gate with your ticket. See Alcatraz island from the water while listening to accounts of the chilling escape attempts and the notorious criminals that called Alcatraz prison home. Enjoy a cruise with food and drink available to purchase onboard. Cruise full circle around Alcatraz Island, allowing you to view every angle of this mysterious island, which housed famous inmates such as Al Capone, Billy Cook the Killer, and Clyde Johnson, whose escape attempt is legendary. Gain a clear picture of what life in this maximum-security prison was like when it was the most feared institution in the American penal system.

San Francisco: California Sunset/Twilight Boat Cruise

7. San Francisco: California Sunset/Twilight Boat Cruise

Enjoy sunset views as you sail on beautiful San Francisco Bay. See important landmarks, including Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. In the winter months, take in the serene twilight views instead. Along the way, view numerous National Historic landmarks and San Francisco sights, including Coit Tower, the Transamerica Pyramid, St. Peter, Paul's Church, and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. As the sun begins to set over the Marin Headlands, cruise past Alcatraz, Angel Island, and the shorelines of Tiburon, Belvedere, and Sausalito. Watch the sun setting over the Pacific Ocean, as you sail west towards the Golden Gate. On your way back to Fisherman’s Wharf, see many more famous sights, including the Presidio, the Marina District, and Fort Mason.

San Francisco: Bridge to Bridge Cruise

8. San Francisco: Bridge to Bridge Cruise

See both the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge on a single boat tour with personal headphone audio included. Explore San Francisco's famous landmarks, history, natural history, architecture, and Native American culture on board this unique bay cruise. During the 90-minute round trip cruise you'll depart from Fisherman's Wharf, one of the city's busiest tourist attractions. From there, sail under the Golden Gate Bridge. Completed in 1937, the Golden Gate is one of the world's most famous and beautiful bridges, and was at one point the largest suspension bridge in the world. Cruise past Alcatraz Island, once home of one of the world's most infamous prisons, and take the chance to enjoy the stunning San Francisco waterfront. The boat will pass along the harbor before heading under the colossal San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Then it's time to head back to the charming city of San Francisco by the sea.

Santa Barbara: Catamaran Sunset Cruise

9. Santa Barbara: Catamaran Sunset Cruise

Unwind with a relaxing early evening sunset cruise on the Santa Barbara Harbor. Admire the beauty of the scenery as you sail along the coast in a catamaran, then enjoy the romantic atmosphere as the sun sets over the water. Board the Double Dolphin catamaran at the meeting point and set off from Santa Barbara Harbor. Keep your eyes peeled for seals, otters, birds, and other coastal wildlife. Sit back and relax alongside friends or family, and put your feet up after a day of work or sightseeing. Marvel at the sunset views before returning to your original starting point.

San Francisco: Golden Gate Bridge Catamaran Cruise

10. San Francisco: Golden Gate Bridge Catamaran Cruise

Experience the beauty of San Francisco Bay on a round-trip catamaran cruise. Take in San Francisco's breathtaking skyline as you sail by Alcatraz Island and under the Golden Gate Bridge. Feel the breeze and keep a look out for sea lions. Admire your surroundings from a protected viewing area, or live on the edge and stand on the canvas trampoline nets with the waves beneath your feet. Pick up a helpful navigation guide providing information about San Francisco's landmarks as you sail past many of them. Make this experience complete by taking the helm from the captain and steering the catamaran yourself. This sail is the perfect activity for kids as well as kids at heart. The captain and crew are always there, happy to snap a photo or answer your questions about the sights of San Francisco. If all this excitement makes you hungry or thirsty, you’ll find snacks, soda, beer, and wine available at the cabin's snack bar.

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What people are saying about California

Had the loveliest day. Maggie is a kind, knowledgeable and easy going guide who manages to ensure you get a lot out from the 8 hours spent together. She’s got plenty of insider tips to take you off the tourist path which is great. The tour itself is a perfect balance of walking, using public transport and having rest breaks for anyone wondering how the day breaks down. The highlight was the boat cruise but I generally enjoyed it all. Thoroughly recommended. Ps. We did have a small group of solo travellers but I’m sure the tour would have been fine with a bigger group.

Very informative but fun. Great selection Food and drinks onboard. Staff was amazing. Server was fast and very friendly. Our team of 26 (of various ages) really enjoyed it. We would do it again.

Fantastic Sunset Cruise. The Catamaran was beautiful, and the staff was excellent. We all enjoyed the music as well!

We went with our two children age 11 and 8. Was a great trip. Fantastic views.

Great experience, recommend everyone to at least one time.