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Destination guides > North America > USA > West Coast > California > Sausalito & Marin County

Sausalito & Marin County

Marin County is the area at the northern end of the Golden Gate Bridge, which comprises Sausalito and San Rafael. It is an affluent county (with the fifth-highest per capital income in the United States) and considerably less densely populated when compared with other parts of the Bay Area.

Novato and San Rafael are the largest cities in Marin County and San Rafael is a major centre for the computer game industry and is also home to the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Marin County Civic Center. However the most visited town in Marin County is Sausalito, which is an easy day trip from San Francisco.

Sausalito started out as a ferry port with traffic to San Francisco passing through here prior to the completion of the Golden Gate Bridge. After the bridge was completed, Sausalito developed into a artists’ community with many residents living on houseboats and nowadays it is an affluent community with quaint wooden buildings overlooking the bay. Although it doesn’t have any major attractions, it is a pleasant place to visit that attracts many tourists.

Many visitors to San Francisco visit the southern tip of Marin County after a trip across the Golden Gate Bridge, and many of these visitors also include a visit to Sausalito’s quaint town centre.

Practical information

Sausalito Visitor Center

780 Bridgeway, Sausalito
Tel (415) 332 0505

Marin Convention & Visitors Bureau

1 Mitchell Boulevard, San Rafael, CA 94903
Tel (415) 925 2060 or 866 925 2060

Coming & going

Golden Gate Transit operates bus services linking San Francisco with destinations in Marin County including San Rafael and Sausalito. Buses 2, 4, 10, 70, 80 and 92 go to Sausalito (not all 4, 70 and 80 buses stop in Sausalito so you’ll need to check with the driver). Bus routes 70, 80 and 101 continue toward San Rafael. Golden Gate Transit buses depart from the Transbay Terminal in San Francisco. One-way fares from San Francisco to Sausalito cost $3.95 and a trip from San Francisco to San Rafael costs $4.80.

MUNI bus route 76 runs between San Francisco and the Marin Headlands in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area stopping near the HI – Marin Headlands youth hostel, however this bus only runs on Sundays and public holidays.

It is also possible to take the ferry between San Francisco and Sausalito. The ferry departs from the Ferry Building in San Francisco and costs $7.85 for the one-way trip.

Local transport

Golden Gate Transit buses connect most destinations in Marin County. The standard single fare is $2 and a day pass costs $5.

Hostel accommodation

HI - Marin Headlands

941 Rosenstock Road, Sausalito
Bus 76 (MUNI; stop: Bunker Road/Miwok Trail) Sundays only
Tel (415) 331 2777

Read hostel reviews

Sightseeing, museums & tourist attractions

Marin County Civic Center

The Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Marin County Civic Center in San Rafael was build between 1962 and 1976 and is considered a landmark example of the modern architectural movement. Scenes from the science fiction films THX 1138 (1969) and Gattaca (1997) were filmed here and the centre served as inspiration for the set design of the planet Naboo in the Star Wars films. Guided tours are conducted every Wednesday morning at 10.30am.

3501 Civic Center Drive, San Rafael (tours depart from second floor cafe, room 233)
Tel (415) 499 7009
Tours cost $5
Tours depart Wed 10.30am

Marin History Museum

Situated inside the historic Boyd Gate House, the Marin History Museum has exhibits on the history of Marin County.

1125 B Street, San Rafael
Tel (415) 454 8538
Admission free
Open Tue–Fri 11am–4pm


Bay Model Visitor Center

This .6ha (1½ acre) working hydraulic model of the San Francisco Bay and the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta is unique as the world’s only model capable of simulating tides and currents. The centre closed for renovation in early 2010, but is scheduled to re-open on 1 Jun 2010.

2100 Bridgeway, Sausalito
Bus 2, 4, 22, 92 (stop: SF Bay Model)
Tel (415) 332 3871
Admission free
Open Tue–Sat 9am–4pm; reopening 1 Jun 2010


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