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 has just come under a strict, stay-at-home directive.
Most recently, December 6, SF has moved to a very restrictive status due to a sudden increase in infection and hospitalization rates.
Public transportation options have been cut way back. See SF transit for more info.
See COVID rules for current SF status.
<Mask rules: everyone in SF is now required to wear a mask when they are outside and within 30 feet of other people.
Masks must be worn in stores and places of business and people not within the same household must stay 6 feet apart.
What is open? Muir Woods, the Botanic Gardens, Golden Gate Park, Japanese Tea Garden, Pier 39, SF beaches, Golden Gate Bridge, and Twin Peaks (by foot or bike) are all open.
Parking lots for SF beaches and the Golden Gate Bridge are open. But the Welcome Center lot and Merchant Road lot are closed.
Restaurants were open for indoor as well as outdoor dining, but as of Friday, Nov 13, indoor dining was suspended, due to an increase in Covid cases. And as of Dec 6, outdoor dining is also suspended.
Businesses can allow customers inside, but on a limited, 20% capacity, basis. This now applies to grocery stores as well.The SF Zoo is now closed again.
Alcatraz is closed as of Dec 6. They are selling tickets for Jan 4, 2021, and beyond, but that's iffy. See Alcatraz.
Dec. 6 changes: hotels, gyms, tour buses, and boat cruises are closed again. Also indoor hair and nail salons/barbershops are closed.
Museums are closed, at least until Jan 4.
Hotels aren't accepting reservations (except for essential workers and locals needing quarantine).
Exploratorium: opening spring 2021.
Schools: many private schools have begun reopening; SF public schools are still on hold, except for a few charter schools.
On hold: indoor swimming pools and indoor movie theaters are still closed.
Last to open will be concerts, live theater, sporting events, nightclubs and festivals.
For 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.
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.