By Elizabeth Kang
Sure, this charming bayside city can be seen in a day, but why not make a family weekend out of it with an overnight stay, and get the most out of your drive? After all, there’s too much fun to be had in picturesque Sausalito to jam into just one day.
9 a.m. Hit the road! Remember to pack layers because, like neighboring San Francisco, Sausalito is known for its unpredictable mixed weather of fog, mist, and sunshine.
10:30 a.m. Visit the Marine Mammal Center. This wonderful non-profit center is the perfect opportunity for children to learn about marine wildlife, and witness firsthand how humans help creatures in need. It’s a private animal hospital and rescue center that focuses on the rescue, rehabilitation and release of injured, sick, or abandoned marine mammals. Kids can visit and observe native Seals, Sea Lions, Otters and other Marine wildlife that are being cared for to treat malnourishment, maternal separation, toxicity, anemia, and other ailments.
Guided tours, as well as audio tours are available. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free and reservations are not required, but donations are highly appreciated. Located at 2000 Bunker Road, Sausalito, CA.
12:30 p.m. Out on the Town. Sit down for a casual, family friendly lunch at Fish, one of the town’s most popular and loved seafood eateries. This cash-only hotspot is the perfect place to savor some creamy clam chowder, decadent crab rolls, and perfectly crisp fish ’n chips on the picnic-table-lined outdoor patio. The restaurant focuses on local, sustainable seafood. Fish $$, 350 Harbor Dr, Sausalito, CA.
2:00 p.m. Shopping & Sightseeing. There are a myriad of cute boutiques and souvenir retailers to explore along Bridgeway (the main street in town.) It’s fun to simply walk the street and explore the shops along the way.
4:00 p.m. Check in, Cavallo Point Lodge. The place to stay in Sausalito, especially when traveling with children, is Cavallo Point Lodge. The lodge is brimming with fascinating history, thanks to its rich past as Fort Baker, a former U.S. Army post. Guests can choose to stay in one of the impressively restored historic guest rooms (offering two-bedrooms family-friendly suites,) or one of the more contemporary rooms with floor-to-ceiling, sweeping views of the Golden Gate Bridge and SF Bay. Cavallo Point Lodge has many dog-friendly rooms too, so this trip can include the entire family.
If you’re lucky, longtime employee Brit Thurston will help you with your bags. He’s the Doorman at Cavallo Point, and his vast knowledge and contagious enthusiasm for the lodge’s history is a treat to hear. Another highlight at Cavallo Point is the spa and adults-only pool, tucked away in a quiet, lush corner of the property. It may not be easy to get away on your own without the kids, but a few hours at this spa is worth the planning and effort. Cavallo Point Lodge $$$. Located at 601 Murray Circle, Sausalito, CA.
6 p.m. Dinner in a Garage. Le Garage, featured on the show “Check Please Bay Area” is a delicious little French-inspired bistro that was converted from an auto garage, and is hidden off the main drag on a waterfront street. In addition to the amazing food, the place is kid-friendly, with quick, friendly service and a superb cheeseburger and fries. Other winning dishes include the P.E.I Mussels, Duck Confit, and Bouillabaisse. Their brunch offerings are just as popular as their lunch and dinner. Le Garage $$. Located at 85 Liberty Ship Way #109, Sausalito, CA. (Closes from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.)
8 a.m. Brunching with a View. Breakfast scenery doesn’t get better than on the front porch seating of Murray Circle Restaurant. Located in a historic building at Cavallo Point Lodge and overlooking the Bay, Murray Circle serves delicious Californian cuisine alongside stunning views. Guests can choose from the indulgent weekend brunch buffet, or from the regular `a la carte breakfast menu. Be sure to snag a spot on the front patio to enjoy your Eggs Benedict and mimosa with views of the always breathtaking Golden Gate Bridge. Murray Circle Restaurant $$$. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (closes from 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.) Located at 602 Murray Circle, Sausalito, CA.
9 a.m. Bay Area Discovery Museum. A huge benefit of staying at Cavello Point Lodge is that your hotel is right next door to the awesome Bay Area Discovery Museum. You can hop over right after breakfast to get there right when they open. This indoor/outdoor museum caters to children 8-yrs-old and younger, and is loved for its many interactive and hands-on art, science, and workshop exhibits. The museum houses a small cafeteria to purchase food, or tables to enjoy a picnic lunch. Bay Area Discovery Museum, located at 557 McReynolds Road, Sausalito, CA.
2 p.m. One last stop at Vista Point. On your way home, make a quick stop to check out Vista Point, which is just a two-minute-drive from the museum. You’ll be rewarded with one of the most breathtaking and memorable views of The Golden Gate Bridge and city that you’ve ever seen. The view makes an awesome backdrop for family pictures to remember your fun-filled weekend getaway.