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 was 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 had dropped significantly, but recently started rising again.
Big changes arrived June 15, 2021: California is "fully reopened", meaning all business sectors will reopen to full or almost full capacity, including concerts, stadium sports and festivals. SF is basically open, though somewhat more cautious in some regards.
As of August 20, 2021, almost 80% of eligible SF residents have been fully vaccinated.
Vaccine requirements: Starting August 20, 2021, SF requires that all restaurants, bars, theaters and gyms check for proof of full vaccination.
Documents accepted: paper or digital vaccination records.
See SF Chron article re: vaccination.
Public transportation options had been cut back, but are expanding again. See SF transit for more info.
The cable cars are running again and are free during August! In September, they will resume full (paid) service, starting with the Powell-Hyde Line, and the other 2 lines to follow after.
See COVID rules for current SF status.
Mask rules: another change, starting August 3, 2021. Everyone is now required to wear a mask indoors in SF, whether vaccinated or not. People may go without masks outdoors unless the area is densely populated. Hospitals, schools, nursing homes and public transit, still require masks./p>
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, including the Welcome Center lot.
Restaurants can now be open to full 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, up to full capacity. Malls are open.The SF Zoo is open again.
Offices can reopen up to full capacity.
Alcatraz is open. The Day Tours and Night Tours are running on a somewhat reduced basis. The Cell Block is open also. See Alcatraz.
Hair salons, and open air tour buses, outdoor walking tours, and boat cruises can now operate.
Indoor museums are open, including the CA Academy of Sciences.
Travel to SF. Per the California Dept. of Public Health: non-essential travel to SF from outside California is discouraged but the quarantine requirements are no longer in effect.
Unvaccinated travelers are urged to get tested before and after arrival, and to self-quarantine for 7 days, but this isn't mandatory.
"Non-essential travel" basically means tourism.
Hotels are accepting reservations, but travelers are urged to limit contact with others in the hotel.
Indoor swimming pools are open to fullcapacity.
Schools: private schools are open. SF public schools started in-person learning for elementary students April 12. Older grades: negotiations are ongoing. Hopefully all grade levels will be open for in-person fall classes. Masks will be required for students in SF public schools in the fall.
Indoor gyms and indoor movie theaters are open to full capacity.
Indoor concerts, live theater, and sporting events, may open at full capacity. For indoor gatherings of >5,000, proof of vaccination will be required.
Outdoor events for >10,000: may require proof of vaccination or negative test, but aren't required to.
Check individual events for requirements.
Napa and Sonoma county wineries are open.
For a handy list of what's open or closed, in 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.