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California

Cruises & Boat Tours

Our most recommended California Cruises & Boat Tours

San Francisco: Escape from The Rock Bay Cruise

1. San Francisco: Escape from The Rock Bay Cruise

Hop on board a boat and cruise around Alcatraz Island and other sights of San Francisco Bay on this round trip journey. Benefit from a straight-to-the-gate access ticket and informative commentary as you go. Cruise San Francisco Bay and sail under the Golden Gate Bridge on a 90-minute narrated tour by boat around Alcatraz Island. Skip the box office line and go straight to the gate with your ticket. See Alcatraz island from the water while listening to accounts of the chilling escape attempts and the notorious criminals that called Alcatraz prison home. Enjoy a cruise with food and drink available to purchase onboard. Cruise full circle around Alcatraz Island, allowing you to view every angle of this mysterious island, which housed famous inmates such as Al Capone, Billy Cook the Killer, and Clyde Johnson, whose escape attempt is legendary. Gain a clear picture of what life in this maximum-security prison was like when it was the most feared institution in the American penal system.

San Francisco: 1-Hour Bay Cruise by Boat

2. San Francisco: 1-Hour Bay Cruise by Boat

Enjoy a 1-hour journey along San Francisco's historic waterfront and experience the thrilling history of the San Francisco Bay, with all the sound and glory it deserves. The 1-hour non-stop Bay Cruise takes you past the famous PIER 39 sea lions and along San Francisco’s historic waterfront, revealing the city’s fascinating skyline. Relax in comfort, with both indoor and outdoor seating, and enjoy a full narration describing major landmarks as you sail by. See sights like the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and the iconic San Francisco skyline as you go. Whether it’s your first time to San Francisco, or your 10th visit, the Bay Cruise is something you should experience at least once in your life. You will get a complimentary souvenir map, which is available in nine languages, and if you get hungry, there’s a full-service snack bar on board with food and drink available to purchase.

Monterey Bay: Whale Watching Tour

3. Monterey Bay: Whale Watching Tour

Discover a variety of whale species in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary on this cruise from Monterey. Uncover one of the world’s best locations for whale watching due to its deep submarine canyon close to shore. With whales spotted almost every day, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Set sail from the Old Fisherman’s Wharf. Catch a glimpse of the hundreds of Californian Sea Lions inside the harbor as the boat leaves the dock. Take advantage of the view and snap a photo to capture the memory. Pass the historic Cannery Row as you leave the harbor and enter the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Search for feeding humpback whales, a variety of dolphin species, porpoises, blue whales, and fin whales. Listen as the onboard biologist provides fascinating insights into the creatures of the bay and what is being done to protect them. During the summer/ fall season, the tour will focus on feeding whales that come to the bay to feast on small fish and krill. Spot humpback whales daily but keep an eye out for blue whales, fin whales, gray whales (finishing migration), orcas and a variety of other dolphin species. During the winter season, the tour will focus on migrating whales at the south end of Monterey Bay where gray whales pass by. Return to your starting point at the end of your tour.

Mendocino County: Skunk Train Pudding Creek Train Ride

4. Mendocino County: Skunk Train Pudding Creek Train Ride

Take in the beautiful and relaxing scenery on this 7-mile roundtrip journey, which departs the Depot in downtown Fort Bragg year-round. Travel along the Pudding Creek Estuary, home to abundant wildlife and natural beauty. Ride through ancient redwoods to the tranquil setting of Glen Blair. The historic tracks were some of the first to be laid down by the California Western Railroad in 1885, and they've been carrying passengers on them ever since. The original Skunk Train began as a logging route back in 1885, when it transported families and workers to and from the numerous logging camps in the area. The train received its now-famous nickname, the "Skunk Train" back in 1925 when motorcars were introduced that ran on gasoline and which had a pot-bellied stove burning crude oil to keep the passengers warm. Locals said that just like skunks "You could smell them before you could see them". Don't worry, the days of the skunk smell are long gone. Enjoy free admission the Model Railroad museum, included in the ticket price. See logging history brought to life on an incredible model railroad that has over 1,300 feet of track. View the mill, logging camp, town bridges, trestles, and much more. The museum is located just west of Skunk Train Depot in Fort Bragg.

Sacramento Historic River Cruise

5. Sacramento Historic River Cruise

Spend the afternoon on a one-hour narrated cruise. Learn about the legendary past of California's capital city, from the first days of the Gold Rush to the booming metropolis that is here today. Set in Old Sacramento, California’s capital and the center of the state’s legendary Gold Rush story, cruises here drift down the scenic Sacramento River and provide a peek at historic sites and modern developments alike.

Monterey: Sunset Whale Watching

6. Monterey: Sunset Whale Watching

Enjoy the wildlife, then relax as you take in the beautiful sunset over Monterey Bay on a sightseeing cruise. Meet your guide at the wharf and climb aboard the boat to start your tour. Spot whales, dolphins, and a wide variety of marine wildlife in Monterey Bay. Whales are seen every day in this area. Listen to your marine biologist or naturalist guide as they share interesting information about the animals you see, the natural history of the local area, and conservation. Witness scientific research in action as marine biologists and naturalists collect sighting data to learn about the local wildlife. Then, sit back and relax as the sun sets, reflected in the water, providing lasting memories and incredible photo opportunities. Finally, return to the wharf and dry land.

South Lake Tahoe: Sightseeing Cruise of Emerald Bay

7. South Lake Tahoe: Sightseeing Cruise of Emerald Bay

Embark on a sightseeing cruise starting in South Lake Tahoe either at sunset or during the day. Take in the scenic beauty while cruising 11 kilometers across the lake to Emerald Bay, one of the top ten most photographed places in the world. Savor snacks and drinks as you sail. See the majestic mountains of South Lake Tahoe while onboard the world-class Tahoe Bleu Wave yacht. As you cruise, you will find indoor and outdoor seating with 360-degree panoramic views of Lake Tahoe, the snow-capped mountains, Fannette Island, Vikingsholm Castle, Eagle Waterfall, and the Rubicon. Navigate the pristine waters of Lake Tahoe while hearing your captain's narration about this lake. You may even get the chance to see a variety of wildlife such as the bald eagle, black bears, and wild geese. If you've chosen the sunset option, relax and watch the sun dip low below the sky.

Sacramento: Rock The Yacht River Cruise

8. Sacramento: Rock The Yacht River Cruise

Try something different for your next night out and set sail from Old Town Sacramento on a 90-minute Rock the Yacht cruise. Kick back and relax with friends and meet new ones! Enjoy the fresh breeze of the river and soak up the sights of Sacramento.  Purchase hand-crafted drinks and snacks from the yacht's two fully-stocked bars. Choose from an array of expertly crafted cocktails, beer, or wine, as you relax and take in the river views. Sail from L Street Dock in Old Town and coast under the Tower Bridge. Let your hair down and delight in the friendly atmosphere and feel-good vibes.  Enjoy indoor or outdoor seating and remember to dress according to the weather. Cruises depart every Saturday, so grab your friends and head down to the only party you can't find on land!

Newport Beach: Whale and Dolphin-Watching Cruise

9. Newport Beach: Whale and Dolphin-Watching Cruise

Head out on a whale and dolphin-watching cruise from Newport Beach. The waters surrounding Newport Harbor offer deep nutrient-rich waters that attract all types of marine creatures. With a 96% success rate, almost every trip has the opportunity to see whales or dolphins. Look out for giant blue whales (during the summer and fall months), finback whales, gray whales (winter and spring months), minke whales, humpback whales, several types of dolphin (including giant rizzo dolphin over 14 feet in length), seals, and all sorts of other marine life. Most whale-watching cruises take in the scenic backdrops of Laguna Beach, Huntington Beach, and Newport Beach while viewing the gentle giants just a few hundred yards from shore. Due to the geography of the Orange County coastline that surrounds Newport Harbor, ocean conditions are incredibly calm. The captain and crew have backgrounds in marine biology and can provide details about the marine creatures, environment, and ecosystems.

San Diego: Harbor Sightseeing Cruise

10. San Diego: Harbor Sightseeing Cruise

See the sights of San Diego Bay on a fully-narrated cruise. Pass by Seaport Village, Shelter Island, Coronado Island, Point Loma, and Cabrillo National Monument, among other notable points of interest, while taking in beautiful skyline views. Choose between a 1-hour cruise of either the North or South Harbor, or book the 2-hour cruise, which includes both. San Diego’s North Harbor cruise takes you past historic ships in the Maritime Museum, Harbor Island, North Island Naval Air Station, and Shelter Island. The South Harbor route includes sightings of the Coronado Bridge, the U.S.S. Midway Aircraft Carrier, the U.S. Navy Surface Fleet, and the Naval Amphibious Base Coronado. As you sail, keep a lookout for wildlife such as blue herons, sea lions, and pelicans Listen as your professional crew provides commentary about the rich local and military history, points of interest, and facts about San Diego Bay. This sightseeing cruise also showcases local environmental conservation efforts through video clips and onboard displays.

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Other Sightseeing Options in California

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What people are saying about California

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 3,330 reviews

This was a fantastic tour of the most worthy places in San Francisco. We stopped and took pictures at the art building, the Golden Gate Bridge (from 3-4 different angles) for perfect pictures, even all the way up the mountain for amazing views of the bay. Luckily the clouds moved away so we had a great view. It was a bit windy but not too bad at all, considering the weird weather in San Francisco where summers are cloudy and 50-60 degrees. Marciano helped us take amazing shots and was very helpful when we needed to stop for breaks. He was a great driver as well and shared cool info. We then explored Muir Woods on our own and it was a breathtaking, calm, warm, and beautiful walk through those magnificent trees. We loved the woods. We had 1 hr and 30 min. We were late and the guide waited for us. We then went to Sausalito to enjoy the coastal view of SF from the island and it was so warm and sunny on this side of the island it was great. We just walked a little and had lunch. Great tour

No complaints… Daughter and I bought tickets ahead of time… All the information disseminated beforehand was accurate… The Cruise itinerary is great for a first time visitor or like us ; people who’ve already seen the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Would highly recommend!

Beautiful views of the Bay. The boat left right on time and was comfortable throughout. It wasn't as full as other boats leaving that day so there was room to spread out during the trip. Highly recommended, especially for those visiting from out of town.

Gil was a fabulous tour guide! I loved learning the history of the Hollywood sign. Hiking the the sign was a bucket list item for me. So happy I chose this company for our guided tour.

It was amazing and the staff was excellent as well as informative.