Travelers could mistake the hilly vistas and natural beauty of Sausalito for Italy until you walk, bike or drive into the steep hills and see the the world class views of San Francisco’s skyline, Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. Sausalito, the closest city to San Francisco, is a small artistic community of 7,000 residents just over the Golden Gate Bridge. The Golden Gate Recreation Area surrounds Sausalito and there is easy access to trails in the Marin Headlands and Tennessee Valley that extend to the Pacific Ocean.

Sausalito’s famous community of floating homes has a history dating back to the 1800s. Over 400 floating homes, each architecturally unique, are moored on the Richardson Bay on the northern side of town. This special area is said to have inspired Otis Redding to write Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay while he lived in Sausalito. Bridgeway, Sausalito’s main commercial area is a short walk across Plaza Vina del Mar from the pier for the 30-minute ferry ride to San Francisco. The charming Plaza, named for Sausalito’s sister city in Chile, has a beautiful fountain, sculptures and large palm trees and sits just off the Bay.