Sausalito is a small strip of a town saddled along the Richardson Bay and to your right the minute you cross the Golden Gate Bridge from the south. A perfect getaway and a dog friendly destination, this tiny city filled with European charm was our stay-cation spot for the weekend with a unique twist to it, aka spending the night in a pooch-friendly houseboat docked at the marina. Here is a lowdown on some of the monkey recommendations on places to eat, drink and stay when you are arrive at this must visit town during your trip to the Bay Area.
SAUSALITO: PET-FRIENDLY LODGING
Once again, we chose Airbnb and this time we got a beautiful houseboat which welcomes dogs and we couldn’t be more delighted! Sausalito is a very small town and most of it comprises the marina with lines of house boats of all shapes and sizes which remain docked there, so spending a night in one seemed very exciting indeed. Ry &Ky (the owners and hopeless dog lovers) showed us around in their tiny, impeccably kept houseboat and we simply loved how cozy and chicly decorated the interior was. The only thing to watch out for in houseboat living is that the restroom is outside, i.e. on the harbor itself, so go easy on the wine/water at night before going to bed!
The inside though tiny, was extremely functional. The space was partitioned into a kitchenette area with a functional electric stove, and a small dining table. There were utensils inside the cabinet and a sink for washing. The other half was fashioned into a loft style bed and a small sofa/lounge area beneath it. A small door in the middle led to a shower.
The boat had a front porch to relax and take in the beautiful sunset and an upper deck for even more lounging. This was a very unique, first time experience for both of us and we simply loved being lulled to sleep to the gentle bobbing sound of the waves and the distant cries of the seals. Since it gets rather chilly inside the boat (being on the water and all), one is advised to bring some warm clothes The hosts generously provided us with heaters. The harbor side, which comprises of a major chunk of this coastal town, is pretty much like a residential place, except that it is on water instead of land. We found almost all the boats surrounding ours to be inhabited and there were lots of dogs to give Babu company! I highly recommend this houseboat as accommodation if you ever visit Sausalito; details can be found here. If renting, please be mindful of the hosts’ requests and instructions.
SAUSALITO: PET-FRIENDLY DINING
Sausalito is a tiny strip of town, “tiny” in the literal sense of the word, as in you can simply whiz through the city in a couple of hours and you will be done. Having said that it packs quite a punch in its small size and has several good restaurants, most of which have outdoor seating. This includes the ones at harbor side leading to downtown and around it. I recommend Bar Bocce (Italian), Sandrino (again, Italian) , Avatar’s Burritos (Indian-Californian and funky to boot) and Driver’s Market (organic grocery store selling amazing breakfast food, sandwiches and dinner platter) as some of the places that you should try. We had lunch at Sandrino’s, a relatively new pizza joint, started by an Italian couple, an evening snack at Drivers and dinner pick up from Avatar’s. All places have vegetarian options. Sandrino’s does not have outdoor seating so we left Babu in the car (window pane rolled down, plus it was a chilly day) parked across the street. Drivers does have a small outdoor seating area.
The other highly recommended spot for breakfast is the trendy and hep Cafe Cibo, which serves yummy breakfast food, pastries and hot caffeinated beverages of all kinds. The interior decor is minimalistic and chic and they also have a great outdoor seating area.
SAUSALITO: PET-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES
Downtown, Marina and Rodeo Beach
Sausalito is extremely pet friendly and almost all places are accessible to your pet. Take a walk along side the tiny rocky beach lining the harbor side or stroll through downtown. You will get fantastic views of the city and your pet will get some much needed exercise. The harbor side is abuzz with people, cars and cyclists, so keeping your dog on a leash is a must. Additionally, please be aware of marine life and mindful of your surroundings. Seals are often spotted swimming near the rocks and we saw one of them resting on the rocks as we strolled by. It was so nice to see the mindfulness of the residents who immediately stood near the rocks forming a human chain and diverted foot traffic from that spot so as not to cause the baby seal any stress.
Downtown Sausalito is very picturesque with lots of boutiques, art galleries, ice-cream parlors, cafes and restaurants. There is a beautiful patch of green on one side, which is dedicated to its sister city in Chile with a tiny fountain to match. Don’t be afraid to venture into the tiny lanes that you may stumble upon cause they lead to a a flight of stairs opening into secluded neighborhoods with beautiful mansions and even more winding alleys, beautiful mosaic steps when you turn a corner or a splash of color via a cheery yellow water hydrant. Sausalito is whimsical and beautiful and the best way to discover it is on foot and away from the touristy, harbor side.
On our last day, we checked out of our houseboat the following morning and went on a stroll along the quieter marina side leading away from the boat. The deck along the marina is another good spot for walking your dog and does not have a lot of foot traffic.
We bid adieu to Sausalito soon after this but not before checking out the much recommended Rodeo beach, which is dog friendly and allows pups to be off-leash. The beach itself is famous for the semi precious stones such as Jade and tourmaline, often found when sifting the sand (people are urged not to collect them). However, it was a blistery, cold day with chilly winds and so our stay was a short one. In conclusion, we had a great time in Sausalito and I highly recommend this artsy town for a visit, with or without your pooch in tow!
I hope you enjoyed reading this post to get lots of ideas for planning your next pet-friendly adventure in the Bay Area. Read my guide to a secret beach in Sausalito here.