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 has been gradually reopening of many businesses and activities, but others have been placed on hold.
Most recently, SF has been moved to the least restrictive tier (yellow) of the risk tiers in California due to a low infection rate of around 1% of tested residents.
Public transportation options have been cut way back. See SF transit for more info.
See COVID rules for current SF status.
Highlights of changes: everyone in SF is now required to wear a mask when they are outside and within 30 feet of other people.
Parking lots for SF beaches and the Golden Gate Bridge are now open (as well as the beaches and bridge).
Restaurants can offer indoor as well as outdoor dining, up to 50% capacity, and businesses can also allow customers inside.
Muir Woods, the SF Botanical Garden, Japanese Tea Garden and the SF Zoo are now open. The zoo and Muir Woods require reservations.
Alcatraz is open starting August 17, but only the outdoor areas are accessible. Day tours only. See Alcatraz.
Sept changes: hotels, gyms, tour buses, and boat cruises opened (though not all are availing themselves, check individual businesses). Also indoor hair and nail salons/barbershops can open.
Museums Open: de Young Museum, SF MOMA, California Academy of Sciences, Asian Art Museum, and Conservatory of Flowers.
Museums Opening: Legion of Honor (Oct 30).
Exploratorium: 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 movie theaters, and swimming pools.
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.