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Living’s Easy on a Sausalito Houseboat

Culture, mesmerizing views, and so much more...

By: Natalie F + Save to a List

Last July I took one of the best road trips with a good friend of mine.  She was working in Oregon at the time so I flew out to meet her and we road tripped it along my favorite coast!  I had worked in the East Bay previously and had spent a little bit of time in Marin County, but not nearly enough.  This trip I was finally going to get to explore Sausalito and its famous houseboats! 

My friend introduced me to this Conor Oberst’s (singer of Bright Eyes) song “Sausalito” and now everytime I hear the word ‘Sausalito’ or houseboat, this song plays through my mind and reminds me of that magical city and my time there.   

“We should move to Sausalito

Living's easy on a houseboat

Let the ocean rock us back and forth to sleep

In the morning with the sunrise

Look in the water see the blue sky

As if heaven has been laid there at our feet

So we remain between these waves

Sheltered for all our years

While bikers glide by highway shrines

Where pilgrims disappear…”

Speaking of music, Otis Redding’s last song “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay” was said to be inspired by his stay on a houseboat in Sausalito.  

It’s no wonder artists have taken to appreciate Sausalito.  The charm of this city is beyond compare.  In 1775 European explorers called it “Saucito” (little willow) because of the small willow trees lining the stream banks.  “Saucito” later evolved into “Sausalito.”   Sausalito has an interesting history including bootlegging, boat production during WWII, and continuing to have a

“reputation as an art colony and literary enclave.”

Some must do’s in Sausalito: 

-Dinner at The Trident; get some seafood. 

-After dinner, walk around downtown Sausalito, maybe get some ice cream or a glass of wine. Walk onto the docks and be entertained by the scenery, people watching, and the local sea lions.  

-Take a leisurely stroll around the houseboats! Several of them have beautiful gardens. We stayed in houseboat central, on a houseboat, so we walked around the “neighborhood” every night. They are all different, some are eclectic with gaudy decorations, others are modern. Shel Silverstein even lived in one.  This article has some details on where to go.    But, I would just get some takeout at Davey Jones Deli (1 Gate 6 Rd, Sausalito, CA 94965) and find some parking and you’ll be right there!  Sometimes when I miss this charming Northern California city I look at houseboats for sale.

-Hike around Marin Headlands. Check out the Outbound’s list of hikes up there. Slacker Hill and Hawk Hill are not to be missed. 

-Obviously go to San Francisco, but if you have been there several times already I would suggest just hanging around Sausalito.

-Take the ferry

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Soak it all in; this city is one of a kind. 

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View from dinner at The Trident 

Sunset view from the houseboat we stayed on

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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