Skip to Navigation Skip to Content

Staycations in San Francisco

Sure those tourists on the double decker buses, or faux cable cars (on wheels!) look smirk-worthy, but for those who don't have the discretionary funds to summer in Malibu or Tahoe or fly first class for East Coast  weather, a touristy stay-cation might be just the economy class ticket.

Staycating in San Francisco is not so bad. Remember the factoid: on any given day, there are more tourists than residents in San Francisco. (Somebody fact check that for me. It’s hard to believe.)

So while my unlucky friends (and maybe yours?), with parents' homes on Martha’s Vineyard, have to brave the press corp. and the paparazzi duking it out for a peak at the Obamas on the beach, some of us get to stay home with a fully stocked TiVo, our own pillow and a plethora of activities to make you feel like a tourist in your own town.

Have you taken the Rocket Boat tour, for instance? While you speed across the bay at 44 knots on 1,410-horsepower boat with its hot-rod flame paint job, you can easily forget that you live here.  The latest addition to the Blue and Gold Fleet's  efforts to fill the bay with bobbing tourist, the RocketBoat tour is all about loud, blasting rock music and tight, fast turns designed to send your stomach on its own adventure.

But nothing says tourist like sitting in a duck full of Germans. You may have seen the duck dipping its webbed toes into the Bay and wondered what the Daffy Duck is that? Bay Quackers, as its called, is the ultimate is hybrid vehicle – an  80-min Surf & Turf Duck Tour of San Francisco and the Bay.

The Duck, a six-wheel-drive amphibious truck,  was originally developed by the National Defense Research Committee of the United States for use in World War II.  Now, thanks to the miracle of modern marketing, it can transport sedentary sight seers  from North Beach and Chinatown to  Union Square and McCovey Cove and out onto the bay.


And of course, a true stay-in-San Francisco-cation wou’dnt be complete without a tour of Alcatraz. After some 15 years living here, I have yet to see "The Rock,” (but then, I was a native New Yorker who never visited the Empire State Building.) This year marks the 100 the anniversary of Alcatraz Island serving as a prison and with a new cruise that explores more of the bay, a new audio tour on the island and newly open sections of the cellhouse, it'stime to mingle with the out-of-towners, the Midwesteners, the Europeans and stay-cate.