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Muir Woods from Union Square Area

Tinton Falls, New...
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Muir Woods from Union Square Area

What is the best and most economical way to travel up to visit Muir Woods from Union Square hotel district? We will not be renting a car until we leave SF to head South. Really want to visit Muir Woods and maybe Sausalito too ! That is, if Sausalito is even worth a couple hours.

Looking into a few tour groups... would want something smaller, not a big bus... most run around $60-65 for 4-5 hours. Am I missing anything better in the way of getting there, or maybe different worth trying? TIA.

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San Francisco...
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1. Re: Muir Woods from Union Square Area

toms tours are the best exhaustive tours of Muir Woods

Dylans does a tour of SF and includes Sausalito

City Sightseeing has a HOHO tour where you change buses is Sausalito

During Summer Marin transit has a bus from Sausalito to go there.

best and economical may not always be the same. If there are 4 of you, rent a car for the day or if you are going south then check out Henry Cowell Redwoods or Big Basin Redwoods near Santa Cruz and enjoy your time for SF in SF

Edited: 07 May 2013, 22:41
Tinton Falls, New...
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2. Re: Muir Woods from Union Square Area

Yeah, I should have said that better, we try to be economical, but I want a good tour too !! There are 3 of us , hubby and daughter, 18 yrs old. HS Grad present. Her pick. We live on the East Coast. Coming the end of July. Also read good things about Best Bay Area Tours, will scope out Toms. Thanks !!

Edited: 07 May 2013, 22:52
NORTH CAROLINA
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3. Re: Muir Woods from Union Square Area

We did Tom's Tour and thought it was worth the money plus we beat the big tour buses there and there was only 8 in the group.

San Francisco...
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4. Re: Muir Woods from Union Square Area

There is a lot of info on tours in the Top Questions. Best Bay area is fine as well. So for most Muir Woods is a 1-2 hour visit so one could rent a car for the day and do Twin peaks, Golden Gate Park, presidio, GG Bridge, Marin Headlands, Sausalito and Muir Woods (starting in Muir woods first thing and then back tracking)

3 people and a car -- that may be cheapest if you get a good deal on a weekend car rental just for the day or as I said, do it when you drive south and see the Redwoods there .

Edited: 07 May 2013, 22:57
Tinton Falls, New...
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5. Re: Muir Woods from Union Square Area

Thanks much for the info. Looking at Toms and the others too !

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6. Re: Muir Woods from Union Square Area

If the focus of your interest in a tour is Muir, I would do Tom's.

If you'd like a city tour that includes Muir, then I would opt for Dylan's.

If you'd like to DIY, rent a car and get to Muir EARLY (9AM or even a bit before). If you're even the least bit fit and outdoorsy there are a few trails that lead out of the valley that is Muir Woods up to the ridge line and then back down. (The entire Marin Headlands and Mt.Tam area is criss-crossed with hiking trails and they are a treasure trove.) This is easily the cheapest option also.

There really isn't a "bad" decision here ... just which works best for you.

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7. Re: Muir Woods from Union Square Area

We did Tom's tour and highly recommend. It IS $70pp but that includes everything, even a nice picnic lunch. He picks you up at your hotel, gets you there early (you feel like you have the place to yourself and it's magical and he limits his tours to 6 people) and drops you off in Sausalito, where you can explore and ride the ferry back at your convenience. He's witty and very knowledgeable.

Edited to add: ferry ride back is additional--around $10pp

Edited: 08 May 2013, 18:46
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8. Re: Muir Woods from Union Square Area

Muir Woods is lovely. Unfortunately it is so close to San Francisco that it is being loved to death. You will find yourselves there with a lot of tour buses, a crowded parking lot, and many people.

Belomiser suggested visiting one of the Redwood State Parks on your way as you go south. These parks will be relatively empty and quiet, giving you the best experience of the grandeur of an ancient redwood forest.

There are two near Santa Cruz....Big Basin, which is much larger than Muir Woods and was the first State Park in California. You can get there from Saratoga, taking Hwy 9. The first few miles are a little twisty and then there is a 17-mile loop off Hwy 9 which leaves you back on Hwy 9 on your way to Santa Cruz.

If this is too time-consuming, Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is just 7 miles from Santa Cruz. In fact if you go to Big Basin you would pass it on your way into town. To get there, take Hwy 17 from Hwy 280 towards Santa Cruz. Take the exit for Mt. Hermon Road and go over to the town of Felton, The main street is Hwy 9, turn left and the entrance to Henry Cowell is just on the outskirts on the left side. After your visit, just turn left on Hwy 9 and soon you will be at the intersection of Hwy 9 and Hwy 1.

I would do Sausalito as part of a general city tour, or walk or bike across the Golden Gate Bridge and take the ferry from Sausalito back to the city. Granted, this requires some physical effort, but it is very popular.

Some websites for more info....

http://www.bigbasin.org/

www.redwoodhikes.com/BigBasin/BigBasin.html

http://www.beachcalifornia.com/cowell.html

San Rafael...
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9. Re: Muir Woods from Union Square Area

If you are planning to visit Muir Woods/Sausalito on a weekend, there is also a public transit option that will take you between Muir Woods and Sausalito. The Muir Woods Shuttle is $5 round-trip and runs every hour from Sausalito. More info can be found here: http://marintransit.org/routes/66.html

In terms of getting to Sausalito from Union Square, you can take the Golden Gate Ferry from the Ferry Building (~20 min walk) or catch Golden Gate Transit Route 10 from Mission & 4th/5th, both of which will take you to downtown Sausalito.

Ferry: goldengateferry.org/schedules/Sausalito.php

Route 10: goldengatetransit.org/schedules/…route_10.php

Hope that helps!

Marin Transit

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10. Re: Muir Woods from Union Square Area

Assuming your heart isn't set on Muir Woods, I recommend following Puter's advice.

Otherwise you have the tour option, public transit option, and DIY driving option to reach Muir Woods. If budget is a concern, keep in mind that the public transit and DIY options will be cheaper than the tour option.

Muir Woods is not very big, so I can't imagine a guided tour being especially insightful. The guided tours might be more interesting for SF itself if you are into that sort of thing.

Edited: 17 May 2013, 19:38