How to get across the Golden Gate Bridge without a car

The Golden Gate Bridge is the iconic steel suspension bridge that spans the strait between San Francisco and the Pacific Ocean. Built in the 1930s, until 1964 it held the title of the longest suspension bridge in the world, at 2737m (1.7 miles) long.

As the ‘Greenest Tour Company in San Francisco’, at Inc Adventures we love thinking up creative and ecological alternatives to the car. Below are a few innovative suggestions we have come up with. Please feel free to get in touch with us for more advice on your trip, to the Golden Gate Bridge and beyond!

1. Rent a bike and cycle San Francisco

Cycling is truly one of the best ways to experience the Golden Gate Bridge. A great itinerary is to cycle over the bridge, spend some time in Sausalito and then take the ferry back across the water. San Francisco has been voted a top city for cycling, despite the hills, and you could always go electric bike to beat the hills!

Another bonus of cycling in San Francisco is that local buses and ferries all come with bike racks, so you can switch around your means of transportation easily. On your way to the bridge, you will pass San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts and the Presidio National Park, both great stopping points.

Just before getting to the bridge, there is a steep hill at Fort Point. Don’t let this put you off; once you get to the bridge it gets much easier. Follow the signs to learn which sidewalk to use, as this can change depending on the time of day.

As San Francisco is such a cycling city, there will be lots of others sharing your route. Take care especially if cycling with children, as the two-way cycle traffic can be quite fast. Check out San Francisco bike rental and get in touch for more city cycling tips. 

2) Join a bio-fuel mini coach trip to Muir Woods

While the bridge is, of course, an attraction in itself, it makes even more more sense to cross it once you know something about the beautiful scenery that lies beyond. 

The Muir Woods is a stunning coastal redwood forest that is easily explored along carefully laid boardwalks. It is the only surviving old-growth forest in the bay area. 

Join a small, friendly group of explorers in our Muir Woods tour out of the city via the Golden Gate Bridge. This tour includes an iconic Golden Gate Bridge photo op to take in the incredible views before returning you to the city lights.

Also included in our tour is wine and cheese tasting in the Sonoma and Napa Valleys. The day offers multi-sensory stimulation, from the blanketing hush and rich scents of the redwoods to the taste of California’s most delectable wines and the stunning panoramic Golden Gate views.

3) Sail under the Golden Gate Bridge

OK, so not exactly crossing the bridge, but if your aim is to experience the bridge from many incredible vantage points, why not take a trip on San Francisco Bay? That way you can enjoy the bridge both as part of the panorama from the water, and close up as you sail underneath. 

Several of our tours include sailing under the bridge. One of our favourites is our Alcatraz day tour, which returns you to the city by sailing under the bridge at sunset. Alternatively, stick to the water with our stunning San Francisco Bay Cruise, which also offers sunset departures.

4) Rent a San Francisco GoCar

Launched first here in San Francisco, the GoCar is the world’s first GPS-guided storytelling car. The cars give driving instructions to passengers around specific routes, together with a guided commentary of the city. They have a scooter-style engine and can be driven by anyone with a driving licence.

You cannot actually cross the bridge on one of these cars as they are not legal on freeways, but you can park up near the bridge and then take a walk across. Walking across the bridge, in our opinion, is one of the best ways to appreciate its architecture.

It is also an incredible way to appreciate the bravery of the construction teams. Before the construction of the bridge, the industry had an average of one fatality for every million dollars spent on a project. The Chief Engineer, Joseph Strauss, was determined to buck that trend.

It was the first job to enforce the use of hard hats and safety lines, and they also made use of a safety net during the construction of the roadway. This net saved 19 people from falling, but 11 still lost their lives. These are commemorated on a plaque on the south side entrance. 

Walking across the bridge will also help you to appreciate other techniques the construction teams had in place; a special diet to help fight dizziness and a sauerkraut juice “cure” for anyone suffering from a hangover before work!

5) Rent a San Francisco Segway

Another fun way to walk over the bridge (without feeling exhausted before you even start) is to rent a Segway and you can explore hidden locations and the best views, starting or ending at the bridge.

6) Hop on the San Francisco bus

San Francisco’s Hop On, Hop Off Bus Tours are a majestic and ecological way to travel across the Golden Gate Bridge. You can hop off to take a selfie either side of the bridge, and enjoy the spectacular views of the bay from a great vantage point.

Got more ideas for innovative Golden Gate Bridge experiences? We’d love to hear them! Get in touch with us at Inc Adventures for local insights and enthusiasm for our city and its surrounding region.