Sausalito is a city in Marin County, California, across the Golden Gate Strait from San Francisco. It’s known for its Richardson Bay houseboat enclaves, built by artist squatters after WWII. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Bay Model Visitor Center has a functioning 3D hydraulic model of the Bay Area, plus exhibits about the area's waterways. The Marin Headlands offers Golden Gate Bridge views. Sausalito developed rapidly as a shipbuilding center in World War II, with its industrial character giving way in postwar years to a reputation as a wealthy and artistic enclave, a picturesque residential community (incorporating large numbers of houseboats), and a tourist destination. The city is adjacent to, and largely bounded by, the protected spaces of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Welcome to Sausalito


25 Best Things to Do in Sausalito25 Best Things to Do in Sausalito25 Best Things to Do in Sausalito


Sausalito is a charming coastal town in Marin County, just across the Golden Gate Strait from San Francisco. Sausalito is known for its wonderful views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge as well as for its historic Richardson Bay houseboat community, which was built after WWII by artists and other free spirits. The city hosts the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ functioning hydraulic model of the Bay Area. Educational Tall Ship is a project run by volunteers that recreates a historic tall ship in a sustainable way for the education of local schoolchildren. Certain attractions may be temporarily closed or require advance reservations. Hours/availability may have changed.


What is Sausalito California known for?


Sausalito is known for its wonderful views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge as well as for its historic Richardson Bay houseboat community, which was built after WWII by artists and other free spirits. The city hosts the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' functioning hydraulic model of the Bay Area.


Is Sausalito CA a good place to live?


Sausalito is in Marin County and is one of the best places to live in California. Living in Sausalito offers residents a dense suburban feel and most residents own their homes. In Sausalito there are a lot of restaurants, coffee shops, and parks. Many retirees live in Sausalito and residents tend to be liberal.


Is Sausalito worth visiting?


Sausalito is a popular destination to visit for both residents of the city and visitors alike. We have been to Sausalito many times and enjoy taking our out-of-town family and friends there for a day trip. The town of Sausalito is known for its beautiful views of the Bay and San Francisco's skyline.



The name of Sausalito comes from the Spanish sauzalito, meaning "small willow grove", from sauce "willow" + collective derivative -al meaning "place of abundance" + diminutive suffix -ito; with orthographic corruption from z to s due to seseo. Early variants of the name included SaucelitoSan SalitaSan SaulitoSan SalitoSancolitoSancilitoSousolitoSousalitaSousilitoSausilito, and Sauz Saulita.

It is sometimes claimed[by whom?] that Sausalito was named for the district in Valparaíso, Chile, where the bandit Joaquín Murrieta was born. Murrieta was the leader of bandits who settled at the northern end of the future Golden Gate Bridge after being banned from San Francisco in the bandit wars. However, this theory cannot be true because Murrieta was from Mexico, not Chile, and because he did not arrive in California until the Gold Rush around 1849.[9] The Rancho Saucelito had already been granted to William Richardson in 1838.



Located at 37°51′33″N 122°29′07″W, Sausalito encompasses both steep, wooded hillside and shoreline tidal flats. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.2 square miles (5.7 km2). Notably, only 1.8 square miles (4.7 km2) of it is land. A full 21.54% of the city (0.5 square miles, or 1.3 km2) is under water, and has been so since its founding in 1868. Prominent geographic features associated with Sausalito include Richardson Bay and Pine Point.

When Sausalito was formally platted, it was anticipated that future development might extend the shoreline with landfill, as had been the practice in neighboring San Francisco. As a result, entire streets, demarcated and given names like Pescadero, Eureka and Teutonia, remain beneath the surface of Richardson Bay. The legal, if not actual, presence of these streets has proved a contentious factor in public policy, because some houseboats float directly above them. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, "State agencies say privately owned houseboats can't be located above the underwater streets because the streets are public trust lands intended for public benefit." The California State Lands Commission is reportedly pursuing a compromise which would move not the houseboats, but the theoretical streets instead.



Sausalito has a Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csb) with far lower temperatures than expected because of its adjacency to San Francisco Bay and the resultant onshore breezes.

hideClimate data for Sausalito, California
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 57
Average low °F (°C) 46
Average precipitation inches (mm) 4.50
Source: Weather Channel



Indigenous culture: 

Sausalito was once the site of a Coast Miwok settlement known as Liwanelowa. The branch of the Coast Miwok living in this area were known as the Huimen (or as Nación de Uimen to the Spanish). Early explorers of the area described them as friendly and hospitable. According to Juan de Ayala, "To all these advantages must be added the best of all, which is that the heathen Indians of the port are so faithful in their friendship and so docile in their disposition that I was greatly pleased to receive them on board." European settlers took advantage of the Huimen's kindness and hospitality, and completely massacred them within the span of a few generations. As historian Jack Tracy has observed, "Their dwellings on the site of Sausalito were explored and mapped in 1907, nearly a century and a half later, by an archaeological survey. By that time, nothing was left of the culture of those who had first enjoyed the natural treasures of the bay. The life of the Coastal Miwoks had been reduced to archaeological remnants, as though thousands of years had passed since their existence."


Due to its location at the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito receives a steady stream of visitors via the bridge (auto and bicycle traffic) and a ferry service from San Francisco. It retains one of the few ungated marinas in the Bay Area that attracts visitors.


For several decades Sausalito had a local newspaper called the MarinScope, owned at times by Paul and Billy Anderson, and Vijay Mallya. However, as of 2018 the newspaper had ceased publication. Sausalito retains a small radio station founded by Jonathan Westerling, Radio Sausalito 1610 AM, which also serves as the city's Emergency Broadcasting System. The city's primary websites are the city's official site, the Chamber of Commerce, a reference site and a guide for locals and visitors to the area


Sausalito is served by the Sausalito Marin City School District for primary school and the Tamalpais Union High School District for secondary school. Residents have two public schools to choose from: the K-8 public school Bayside Martin Luther King, Jr. Academy in Marin City or the K-8 charter school Willow Creek Academy in Sausalito. There are two private elementary schools that have been recently established in Sausalito, The K-12 Waldorf style New Village School, and PreK - 5 campus of the Lycée Français de San Francisco. High schoolers in public school attend Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley.

Parks and recreation

The public parks in Sausalito include Cazneau Playground, Cloud View Park, Dunphy Park, Gabrielson Park, Harrison Playground, Martin Luther King Park and Dog Park, Langendorf Park, Marinship Park, South View Park, Robin Sweeny Park, Tiffany Park, Vina del Mar Plaza, and Yee Tock Chee Park. The public beaches include Schoonmaker Beach, Swede's Beach and Tiffany Beach. Sausalito also has a municipal fishing pier and the Turney Street Boat Ramp. A club house/game room and an exercise room are located in the city hall.


The Sausalito houseboat community consists of more than 400 houseboats of various shapes, sizes, and values, along the north end of town, approximately two miles from downtown. While some of these are technically outside the Sausalito city limits, they are generally acknowledged as forming an integral part of the Sausalito community.

The roots of the houseboat community lie in the re-use of abandoned boats and material after the de-commissioning of the Marinship shipyards at the end of World War II. Many anchor-outs came to the area, which created problems with sanitation and other issues. After a series of tense confrontations in the 1970s and 1980s, additional regulations were applied to the area and the great majority of boats were relocated to approved docks. From 77 boats in the water in 1977, there were about 18 boats left in 2019. Several are architect-designed pieces that have been featured in major magazines. The Gates Co-op Houseboat Community remains to this day, although recent action has required them to fit city-standards of sanitation and building codes.

The humming toadfish makes mating noises underwater, keeping some residents awake at night.

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