Ready for a wild ride on San Francisco Bay? Spend 30 minutes on the Rocket Boat.
Note: the current Rocket Boat has been retired for 2019, but they are introducing a "new and improved" version in the spring of 2020.
Leaving from Fisherman's Wharf, next to Pier 39, is one of the most exhilarating adventures on the wharf. The Rocket Boat takes a group of voyagers for a fast speed boat ride out onto SF Bay, under the Bay Bridge, and zooms past the city skyline and ATT Park.
There are warnings about riding with back and neck problems, but I thought it was milder than a typical roller coaster. There were a couple of good jolts as the boat hit a few big waves, but overall it was just speed, wind and sun for a wonderful 30 minutes.
The combination of classic rock and roll, incredible views, wind in your hair, and flying across the water at 60 mph, truly lifts the spirits. Looking around at my fellow passengers, I saw lots of big grins. What a rush!
I've seen this boat at Fisherman's Wharf for years, and finally ventured out on it. I had a great time and would highly recommend it. It's not only a fun ride, but you get a tour of SF Bay: past the sea lions, Alcatraz (from a distance), right underneath the Bay Bridge, ATT Park, and close-up views of the city skyline from the north and east vantage points.
At one point, the speed boat races towards the Ferry Building at full speed, then swerves away. Lots of spins and tilts, crossing of the ship's wake, and the chance to see the huge container ships passing by from the Oakland docks towards the sea.
The Rocket Boat runs May through October (unless the weather is "inclement", whatever that means, probably raining or rough seas). Fortunately, there is hardly ever rain during those months. The months of September and October are usually the sunniest months, with May, June and July foggier.
There are a number of trips each day, and the boats run daily in summer when school is out. They are closed Monday and Tuesday during the school year.
The regular price for an adult ticket is $30, less for seniors and children. Visitors have to be at least 40 inches tall (1.016 meters) to ride the Rocket Boat.
The ticket is good for any ride that day, and for any day for 6 months after purchase. There are no reservations for a particular time of day; first come, first served.
Note: I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase through some of the links on this page, at no extra cost to you. This helps me provide all the free information I post on this website.
The best deal for tickets that I've found is through Goldstar.com, my favorite go-to site for discount tickets for all sorts of things in San Francisco.
Goldstar typically has tickets 50% off (plus a $3 to $5 service fee tacked on). They may or not have the half-price tickets for the event you're looking for at any particular moment, but it's definitely worth checking.
If you buy tickets online, you pick them up at the Blue and Gold Fleet ticket kiosk, to the left of Pier 39. You can buy tickets there as well.
COVID-19 Status: at midnight on Monday, March 16, San Francisco was placed under a "shelter-in-place order.
All residents were ordered to stay home, except for necessary trips to grocery stores and essential medical visits, and solo outdoor activities like hiking.
The city had been gradually reopening of many businesses and activities, but in December, came under a strict, stay-at-home directive, due to a sudden increase in infection and hospitalization rates.
Since then, Covid numbers have dropped significantly.
Big changes coming June 15 (assuming the Covid numbers stay down). California is scheduled to fully reopen, meaning all business sectors will reopen to full or almost full capacity, including concerts, stadium sports and festivals.
Most recently, May 6, 2021, SF has moved to a less restrictive status.
Public transportation options have been cut back. See SF transit for more info.
Cable cars are expected to resume running in the fall; the Powell-Hyde line will be first.
See COVID rules for current SF status.
Mask rules: everyone in SF is required to wear a mask when they are outside and within 30 feet of other people.
Now fully vaccinated people may go without masks outdoors, but must wear masks in indoors settings.
Masks must be worn in stores and places of business and people not within the same household must stay 6 feet apart.
June 15 mask changes: fully vaccinated people can go without masks indoors as well, with some exceptions like hospitals, schools, nursing homes and on public transit.
SF Curfew has been ended.
What is open? Muir Woods, the Botanic Gardens, Golden Gate Park, Japanese Tea Garden, Pier 39, SF beaches, Golden Gate Bridge, and Twin Peaks (car access on Portola, main parking lot open) are all open.
Parking lots for SF beaches, Twin Peaks, and the Golden Gate Bridge are open. But the Welcome Center lot and Merchant Road lot at the bridge are closed.
Restaurants can now be open to 50% capacity for indoor and outdoor dining, and many restaurants are open for take-out or delivery.
Bars that serve food can serve customers indoors.
Businesses can allow customers inside, on a limited basis (grocery stores 50%).The SF Zoo is open again.
Alcatraz is open. Day Tour tickets only. See Alcatraz.
Hair salons, and open air tour buses and boat cruises can now operate.
Indoor museums are open, including the CA Academy of Sciences.
Travel to SF: non-essential travel to SF is discouraged but the quarantine requirements are no longer in effect.
Hotels are accepting reservations, up to 25% capacity, but travelers are urged to limit contact with others in the hotel.
Exploratorium: opening July 1.
Indoor swimming pools are open to 50% capacity.
Schools: many private schools are open. SF public schools started in-person learning for elementary students April 12. Older grades: negotiations are ongoing. Hopefully will open for fall classes.
Limited opening: indoor gyms and indoor movie theaters to 50% capacity.
Indoor concerts, live theater, and sporting events, may open 50% capacity. Proof of vaccination or negative Covid test will be required. See more info on indoor events.
Some venues are waiting until June 15 because capacity limits don't work for those businesses.
Napa and Sonoma county wineries are open.
For a handy list of what's open or closed in SF, plus info on what's open in other cities and counties of California, see California reopening schedules.
See coronavirus news in the SF Chronicle for details and updates.
See SF closures timeline.
Most recent Bay Area stay home order.
Also see site and parking lot closures for the National Park Service (Alcatraz, Muir Woods, etc.)
Plus helpful info on which parks and hiking trails are open in the Bay Area.
Get the latest tips on visiting San Francisco.