Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

Highway 101
San Francisco, California 94129
Visit Website

In honor of its 75th birthday in 2012, the visitor experience at the Golden Gate Bridge was enhanced with new visitor facilities at both ends of the 1.25-mile-long span.

Most points of interest are centered around an all-new Bridge Plaza on the San Francisco side, but there's also a parking lot and information kiosk on the Marin County side. The views from either vantage point are stellar.

In 2011, the bridge was posted "no dogs allowed," ending the longstanding opportunity to share one of the West Coast's most memorable opportunities with your pet.

The reason given by the National Park Service is that the bridge is too congested. Cyclists and pedestrians share the walkway (on weekends it's walkers on one side of the bridge, cyclists on the other), creating sometimes hazardous conditions. (For sidewalk hours, click here.)

However, you and Fido can enjoy great views from several perspectives at vista points on either end of the bridge and in the Marin Headlands. The visitor center on the San Francisco side includes outdoor exhibits, gardens, restrooms, snack bar and, of course, a gift shop. 

Parking at the visitor center is limited, but if you have a dog with you, public transportation isn't an option. Our suggestion; arrive early (i.e. before 8 a.m.) to snag a spot. Summer is the high season for visitors, so if you show up after 9 a.m., you'll be out of luck. September and October are the months with the clearest views and least fog. 

Access to Southeast Side Visitor Parking Lot

Parking is metered with 81 spaces, three of which are handicap designated. There are five spaces for tour buses. On weekends and holidays, additional parking is available in a nearby satellite lot on the southwest side for a fee.

Traveling south from Marin County: Follow Highway 101 south across the Golden Gate Bridge, get in the far right toll lane, pay toll and make an immediate right, exiting just past the Toll Plaza onto Merchant Road.  Make an immediate right onto a roadway that goes down a short hill and into an underpass leading directly into the southeast side visitor parking lot.

Traveling north from San Francisco: Take a right at the last San Francisco exit off  Highway 101 just before the Toll Plaza. The exit ramp sign reads, "Golden Gate National Recreation Area View Area."  Proceed to the stop sign and turn left into the southeast side visitor parking lot.

Access to Northeast Side Parking Lot

Free parking (with a four-hour limit), a small information kiosk and restrooms are the only amenities at this location.

Traveling south from Marin County:  To access the parking lot on the northeast side of the bridge, you must cross the bridge, pay the toll (collected southbound only) and double back across the span. Cross the bridge in the far right (No. 1) lane and make an immediate right just after the Toll Plaza onto Merchant Road. Make an immediate right onto a roadway that goes down a short hill and into an underpass which leads directly into the southeast side visitor parking lot. Drive through the visitor lot to the first stop sign and make a right to head to the on-ramp to the bridge. Cross the bridge, take the first exit called "Vista Point" and turn right into the parking lot.

Traveling north from San Francisco:  Follow  Highway 101 north across the Golden Gate Bridge. Take the first exit called "Vista Point" and turn right into the parking lot.

dogs, walk, visitor center, views, vista points, san francisco, marin, iconic

Dog at Fort Funston
Addie headed for fun at Fort Funston. Photo by Heather.
If there’s a more dog-friendly big city than San Francisco, we at certainly don’t know about it. An abundance of open space available to the canine set is one of the City by the Bay’s main attractions for dog lovers. Well behaved pooches are allowed to exercise and socialize off-leash in two dozen places within city limits, including several—Bernal Heights, Crissy Field, Fort Funston—with views to drool over. more »
Oakland Map
Dog-loving residents of Oakland have it all: tons of bars and restaurants with dog-friendly outdoor seating; an overall welcoming attitude toward canines; and a wealth of open-space trails, many of which don’t require leashes away from developed areas. The city also has a hip, dog-friendly place to stay in the Waterfront Hotel in the heart of the vibrant Jack London Square dining, shopping and entertainment district. more »
Cavallo Point
Cavallo Point

For 75 years, the Golden Gate Bridge has been the symbol of San Francisco — and one that never grows less beautiful with the passing of time. It's no longer legal to walk over the bridge with a dog, but there are many trails-with-a-view from which to admire it in the city and in adjacent Marin County.  more »

kayla at Blithedale SummitIf you wake up on a clear day itching for a hike that provides challenge, historical context and views, put paws to the path on a 6.6-mile trek along the Old Railroad Grade trail in Blithedale Summit Open Space Preserve on the slopes of Mount Tamalpais.  more »
Dog bliss, Rodeo BeachThe first time we poked around the Marin Headlands with our pup, we were playing tourist, popping out of the car here and there to snap photos of a fog-shrouded Golden Gate Bridge. We didn’t know where the maze of roads we were exploring might take us, but when we saw people walking dogs over a bridge at Rodeo Lagoon, we leashed up for a look-see.  more »
Dog in front of Golden Gate Bridge
Many San Francisco residents consider September and October to be the best times of year to enjoy outdoor pursuits and Golden Gate views. With wind and fog at a minimum, it’s also the best time of year to walk across the iconic bridge—an activity that, alas, no longer is legal to enjoy with dogs. But that doesn’t mean that you and your four-legged companion can’t get an eyeful of the city’s most enduring symbol. If you’re visiting the city with four-legged family members, or are hosting someone who is, here are four good Golden Gate Bridge vantage points: more »

If you're a dog-loving resident of the Bay Area, Point Isabel Regional Shoreline is probably already on your short list. If you and your canine pal are visiting, you owe it to yourself not to miss this internationally known, 23-acre place for off-leash doggie fun.  more »

Download Our Free Mobile App

© 2022