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Best Places To Rent A Boat In San Francisco

Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park (credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The San Francisco Bay offers some of the most unique and scenic waters for boating in the world. Between views of the Pacific from beneath the Golden Gate bridge to a quiet paddle on a serene lake in the middle of Golden Gate Park, anyone who loves being on the water is sure to find the perfect rental opportunity. San Francisco offers opportunities to get out on the water for everyone from the casual kayaker to the thrill-seeking sailor. Here are five of the best spots to rent a boat in San Francisco.

Stow Lake Boathouse
50 Stow Lake Drive
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 386-2531

Nestled in the heart of Golden Gate Park, Stow Lake is a man-made recreational lake providing visitors the opportunity to picnic, view wildlife and relax amid the cooling scenery. The Stow Lake Boathouse is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and rents out row, electric and pedal boats, including one that seats up to six people. Boaters can enjoy a little exercise and leisure time with friends out on the water, as well as views of the waterfall and Chinese pagoda. Pricing starts at $20 an hour for row boats.

San Francisco, CA
(415) 484-8137

AnchorsUp offers sailing lessons, chartered boats and peer-to-peer boat rentals. Chartered vessel trips may roam anywhere around the bay from Tiburon to Angel Island, and prices include the boat, fuel, a licensed captain and space for up to six passengers. For those who already have extensive sailing experience, there are limited bareboat rentals available at a lower cost. Landlubbers can enroll in AnchorsUp's weekend-long sailing course to learn the necessary skills to skipper or crew a boat.

City Kayak
Pier 40 The Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 294-1050

Located right on the water at Pier 40, City Kayak is a full kayaking outfitter, offering up everything necessary for all manner of kayaking in the bay waters. Hourly kayak rentals are available Thursdays through Mondays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Rental options range from stand up paddleboards, to touring kayaks and canoes. Paddles, drybags, wetsuits and other equipment are available. City Kayak also offers packages, parties and take away rentals where boats and equipment including car racks may be taken to far-off destinations.

Treasure Island Sailing Center
698 California Ave., Building 112
San Francisco, CA 94130
(415) 421-2225 

The Treasure Island Sailing Center is a youth and family-friendly non-profit offering a wide variety of instruction, rentals and boating events. Sailing lessons are available from ages six through adult, including specially tailored lessons for visually impaired or disabled water-lovers. Hourly rentals are available for kayaks and stand up paddleboards. The center also annually hosts several community events where the public is able to enjoy sailing, paddleboarding and kayaking experiences for free.

Yacht Charters Of San Francisco
San Francisco, CA
(415) 830-4857

The Yacht Charter Company of San Francisco offers high-caliber customizable rentals of sail, motor and event yachts. Renters can enjoy the open ocean or bay waters on a number of vessels ranging from catamarans to sport and fishing yachts. Special event packages are also available for marriage proposals, birthdays and corporate events. See Yacht Charters' website for a complete list of available boats and to request a quote.

Joanna Metheny is a freelance writer covering all things South Bay. Her work can be found on


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