Central Bay

Oakland and Alameda

The Oakland Estuary, which divides the island of Alameda from Oakland, provides the central bay’s most protected water. Marinas, restaurants, and various waterfront facilities line both of its banks. Jack London Square, on the Oakland side, is the busiest area.

San Francisco

A waterfront town since its founding in the mid-1800s, San Francisco has an extensive waterfront and is the bay’s centerpiece. The north shore includes the San Francisco Marina, Aquatic Park, Fishermans’ Wharf, and Pier 39. Along the east shore are the few remaining commercial piers, the Ferry Building, South Beach Harbor, and SBC Park.


One of the San Francisco bay area’s largest maritime communities, Sausalito occupies the southwest shore of Richardson Bay. Its facilities for boaters include nearly a dozen marinas and several boatyards.

Golden Gate

Once under the Golden Gate bridge, steep cliffs line both sides of the gate. In calm weather, a trip under the gate offers spectacular views.

Treasure Island

The natural island of Yerba Buena divides the Bay Bridge in two. The large cove between it and its man-made extension, Treasure Island, offers an excellent anchorage.

Tiburon and Belvedere

Across Raccoon Strait from Angel Island, Tiburon is a charming waterfront town. Belvedere, originally an island, is home to the country’s most expensive homes. It is home to the San Francisco yacht club but offers no public facilities. On the east coast of the Tiburon peninsula are some the Bay’s finest waterfront homes, as well as a nice anchorage and some great fishing.


Alcatraz Island is best known for the many decades it served as a prison. It is one of the bay’s most visible landmarks. You can visit Alcatraz only by taking one of the Blue and Gold tourboats. In a private boat, take a slow cruise by the island’s east shore for a great view of the Alcatraz prison buildings while enjoying protection from the prevailing weather.

Angel Island

Angel Island is the jewel of San Fransisco Bay. Ayala Cove has the largest public docks and moorings on the bay, and it among its most protected locations. The island is largely undeveloped, with a scattering of historic buildings and a permiter road). A State Park, it offers miles of hiking and biking trails. The view from the top, with glorious views in all directions, is spectacular.


Berkeley and Emeryville occupy the central portion of the San Francisco Bay’s eastern shore. Each has a substantial marina, complete with yacht club, fuel docks, and charter fishing boats, though neither is really a waterfront city.