10,000 step tour: Walking on the docks of San Francisco Bay


Including a ferry boat ride to Sausalito gave us an opportunity to see San Francisco’s skyline as well as its very busy harbor at work.


My 10,000 step tour followed the shorelines of San Francisco and Sausalito


Ghirardelli Square is home to several chocolate and ice cream shops. We fortified ourselves for our Fitbit adventure.

Start at Ghirardelli Square. That’s right. I got this walk started with ice cream and a bag full of chocolate. Ten thousand steps later I was strolling through the Ferry Building.

In the middle, we took a boat ride to Sausalito and wandered past shops and into a restaurant for something cool to drink. And catch a few rays. The sun was shining over Sausalito. It hid behind thick dark clouds in San Francisco. And we watched the fog roll over the hills toward Sausalito from the ferry back to San Francisco.


Boudin Bakery is the grandmother of sourdough. Stop by for a taste and maybe a tour of the bakery.

So, not my usual 10,000-step tour. But what a scenic tour with lots to explore and discover. We wandered through the Boudin Bakery to buy a sourdough loaf for later and to take a tour high above the bakers. We saw the sea lions lounging on Pier 39 and sailed past Alcatraz. Because we stayed by the water, we avoided the hills of San Francisco — my knees thanked me.


Stop by the Ferry Building and you’re going to get hungry

Usually when I start a 10,000 step walk, the scenery is familiar, boring even: my own neighborhood, a local park, a local mall, Baltimore city streets. Take a walk on vacation and everything is fresh and interesting. This walk was particularly invigorating — and exhausting. We had already walked 10,000 steps that very day! But we trudged on anyway. I had set a goal and was going to get to the Ferry Building. This historic structure houses a wonderful farmer’s market even as it continues its service to the numerous ferries that ply the waters of the bay.

The trip to Sausalito wasn’t in our original plans. But as we walked past the ticket counter for the Blue and Gold Ferry, it seemed like a brilliant idea. A 30-minute cruise and a couple of hours in sunny Sausalito. We stopped for a drink in one of the restaurants along the waterfront, slipped into a shop or two and then rode the ferry back — stopping for a few minutes for that big freighter pictured in the photo at the top of the page.


We were not alone as we walked. In fact, our route is part of The Bay Trail, a new 500-mile walk around the whole bay. We’ve got a lot more walking to do.

San Francisco is a busy place. A hilly place. It can be bewildering — so much to do and see. A walk along the waterfront puts it all in perspective. How the city hugs the shoreline. The Coit Tower and Transamerica Building that punctuate the skyline. The mix of modern, some under construction with historic buildings that survived earthquakes and fire. San Francisco’s history began at the waterfront. So it’s where I wanted to be. For 10,000 steps.

ⓒ Photos and text Mary K. Tilghman



4 responses to “10,000 step tour: Walking on the docks of San Francisco Bay

  1. Great article! We live in Napa Valley and like to go to SF for a touch of action. I’ve done the walk you did many times and it’s one of my favorite things to do. For one thing, you avoid the hills, so my kids complain less! But it also takes you through the cool neighborhoods and kitchsy tourist spots as well. When you’re done, you realize that SF is really a pretty small town. If you make it up to Napa check out some of our favorites. You may enjoy our wine country blog at http://www.topochinesvino.com. Follow us if you like what you see.

    • Loved our visit to Napa. Wish I’d seen your blog before we went. So many wonderful choices. I know we barely scratched the surface. Gotta go back!

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