Fun and interesting places to sail in SF Bay

Looking for new destinations to sail to? Want to experience new and exciting places? Ask Ashley! She knows what up and put this wonderful post together for all of us. Enjoy!

Jack London Square

Growing up, one of my favorite things to do was load up my Dad’s truck, pile in with my cousins, and drive down the Sacramento’s drive in theater.  Once there we would blow up and air matress in the bed and watch with excitement as Shrek or Ice Age or The Princess Bride (on throw back Thursdays of course) was projected in mega-size on the screen, the sound of passing cars on the freeway right behind us making the experience that much more special because it was so different.  It was such a pleasure to find that once I came to the East Bay, I could get a similar “under the stars” movie experience right in Jack London Square.

Every other Thursday this Summer, pile up one of our boats with blankets and blow up matresses and head on down to Jack London Square for dinner and a movie under the stars (with the sound of passing barges instead of passing cars, so cool!)  If you get there early enough, bring your tennis shoes and sweat bands and join in with the free fitness lessons on the square.  If sailing on a Friday, bring a partner and and your dancing shoes for free dance lessons, stepping to anything from the Electric Slide to the Fox Trot.  Make a reservation at one of the many restaurants, ranging from seafood, Mexican, and a Korean BBQ to a zesty southern kitchen at Miss Pearl’s (great happy hour!)  After dinner or some dancing grab a drink at Jack London Square’s classic watering hole, Heinolds or finish the night off with some “Cherry Garcia” at Ben and Jerry’s.  Check out for a list of upcoming events.  Jack London Square has public berths that are available at a first come first serve basis, so get there early!

Ayala Cove

The first time I ventured into Ayala Cove was on a Ferry, which, may I add, doesn’t hold quite the same romatic feel as a sailboat.  Nonetheless, I was enchanted.  Surrounded by green trees, clear water, an inviting, sprawling lawn, and sloping beach, pulling into Ayala Cove made me feel like I was transported somewhere far far away, not quite OZ, but close enough.  As we loaded up our backpacks and gathered our icechests, the excitement of hiking the three miles to our campsite and enjoying a night on this beautiful island was enough to leave a lasting impression and make me want to return as often as possible.

Angel Island offers much in the way of adventure and activity, and is a beautiful place to pull up to a dock or mooring to rest and relax for the day.  Visit Ayala Cove and grab some lunch at the Café, then set out for a bike ride around the island and experience the magic of  a 360 view of the beautiful San Francisco Bay.  For you kayakers out there, Angel Island also has great campsites at water level available specifically for you!  From hiking, biking, camping, fishing, and bird watching, to guided electric scooter tours and a first come first serve baseball diamond available to the public, once you set foot on the island, there is no end to the possibilities of fun.


One of my favorite memories at Quinns was on a Thursday night, sourrounded by friends and fellow sailors, each with a pint of  San Francisco’s own Anchor Steam in hand.  Not only were we singing along to the Sea Shantys, a local band that plays weekly, we were eating peanuts and throwing the shells down at our feet as we spun around the dance floor (note: not sure if it is actually a dance floor or if people were dodging us as we were a’twirlin). The local vibe and old time sailor feel are enough to keep me coming back as often as possible.
Just up the canal from Jack London Square, Quinns is “situated in an historic landmark lighthouse built in 1890, Quinn’s serves an eclectic mix of traditional American cuisine, ethnic specialties and award-winning seafood specials from both coasts. Enjoy our full menu on both floors” (Quinn’s website).  If your looking for a meal without the crunching of peanuts under your feet or the merry singing of old time shanties in your ear, the down stairs dining room offers a quieter, classy area to enjoy the beautiful views of the water.
“For a more casual environment, visit The Upper Deck Pub, with it’s “throw them on the floor peanut shells”. The Pub features 8 draft beers and over 58 domestic & imported bottled beers. In addition to indoor seating, there’s an 80-seat outside deck overlooking the beautiful marina” (Quinn’s website).

Presidio Yatch Club

Adding the Presidio Yatch Club to this list feels a bit like cheating beacause it is the only place I have yet to frequent.  But with as much praise as I have heard about the place, I add it with hope that sometime soon I will make my way over and experience it for myself.  Browsing their website photos and going off of the descriptions I have heard from members, managers, and friends alike, the Presidio can boats of having one of the most gorgeous views of the bay.  Situated right at the foot of the Golden Gate on the Marin side, the photos from the Presidio Yatch Club are picteresque enough, but when coupled with the enviroment they have created, this place is a true gem of the bay.   In the words of OCSC’s own club manager Tim Han “The Presidio Yatch club is as far away as one can be from the image one conjures up of a typical yatch club .”  Think of your favorite dive bar that you like to go to because it’s unpretentious, friendly, and fun, and then pair that with killer views, awesome boats, and great people and you have the Presidio Yatch Club.  Anyone interested in going for a sail in their direction, please keep me in mind J

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Alex Samodurov

    Quinn’s is fun…but expect to be washing peanut debris from the decks afterward! It blows off of the second level onto the boats tied up below. :)

  2. Josh Barrows

    A sail into the Oakland Estuary has been on my mind for some time now. Your article was just the inspiration I’ve been looking for… Quinn’s, in particular :-)
    Thanks Ashley!

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