Sausalito was originally settled by the indigenous Uimen people. When the Mexican owned California, and Englishman named William Richardson married the Pesidio of San Francisco's daughter. He then went on to establish a large ranch, which he called the Rancho Del Sausalito. This is where the town got its name. Sausalito is the Spanish word for "Little Willow Grove" and refers to the large amount of willow trees that grow in the area.
Sausalito eventually became the end of the North Pacific Coast Railroad. The Railroad established a rail yard and the ferry t San Francisco. The ferry still runs today. There was a auto ferry as well, until the Golden Gate Bridge was opened in 1937. Sausalito also had a major shipyard along their shores during World War II.
Sausalito is small, just two and one half miles wide, and only 7,500 residents. There are many harbors, marinas, and yacht clubs along the shoreline of the San Francisco Bay. Visitors can rent boats to take out on the water and go water skiing, fishing, and other water activities. Or walk along the waterfront and watch the antics of the sea lions in the bay. Sausalito has many open-air cafes along the waterfront. Visitors will want to visit the Bay Model Visitor's Center, which has a 1.5-acre working model of San Francisco Bay. Sausalito's visitors also enjoy seeing the houseboat community, where many locals choose to live on the water instead of near it. The Bay Area Discovery Museum is a must-see for those traveling with children. The museum offers interactive displays about the Bay Area. Bring your bike if you are planning to visit Sausalito, as there are many hiking and biking trails throughout the town. Also, from Sausalito you have ready access to Muir Woods and Mount Tam. Muir woods is full of coastal redwood trees. There are gentle trails throughout the woods.
There are five hotels in the area, and every one of them is full of charm. There are also several nationally known restaurants. The area is full of old-world coastal charm. Take some time to tour the Marine Mammal Center, where ecologists teach about the local marine live, and injured and orphaned mammals are rehabilitated.
The Sausalito Wooden Boat Tours is a chance to learn about the history of the waterfront. Sausalito artist Victoria Colella hosts the three hour walking tour, and takes visitors along to see wooden boats, the houseboat community, art studios, and many other local favorites. Or visit the Heath Ceramics Factory, where craftsmen have been producing tile and ceramics for over fifty years. The factory is open for tours and provides interesting light into the process of mass-producing ceramics.