SFGate-San Francisco Bay cruises offer entertainment for holiday

Make your day: If you’re sitting at home right now, you can still turn this Memorial Day Weekend into an adventure you’ll never forget. At Fisherman’s Wharf, the $15 Bay sightseeing tours, with a cruise around Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge, are under way for summer on five salmon fishing boats. No reservations needed. Just show up and climb aboard.

Getting there: The trip to Fisherman’s Wharf can be an adventure, not a chore. Take BART, the train or ferry to San Francisco, then take the cable car (or walk) to Fisherman’s Wharf.

What you’ll see: The boat exits the harbor amid the commercial fleet operations, then enters the open water of the bay for panoramic views. Most skippers turn right for lookouts across the waterfront to Coit Tower, venture left for the cruise to Alcatraz and then head west for passage under the Golden Gate Bridge. Every minute of the way, the views are spectacular. The return trip along the Presidio, Crissy Field and Marina Green provides a unique perspective of a familiar home.

Weather: Bring a windbreaker for wind chill.

Location: At Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, at the foot of Jones and Jefferson, along the front row of Fisherman’s Wharf between Castagnola’s and Tarantino’s restaurants.

Party boat tours or fishing: Lovely Martha, (415) 509-5552; Chucky’s Pride, (415) 564-5515; Wacky Jacky, (415) 586-9800; Bass-Tub, (415) 456-9055; Silver Fox, (415) 367-5600; Amigo, (510) 816-3474; Happy Days, (415) 752-5886; all linked at www.sfsportfishing.com — click on “The Fleet.”

Ferryboat tours or Alcatraz: Trips on the Red and White Fleet depart from Pier 43½ just east of Fisherman’s Wharf; trips on the Blue and Gold Fleet depart from Pier 39 on the Embarcadero. $30 range. Info: Red and White Fleet, (415) 673-2900,www.redandwhite.com; Blue and Gold Fleet, (415) 705-8200, www.blueandgoldfleet.com.

Contacts: San Francisco Visitor Information Center, (415) 391-2000, www.onlyinsanfrancisco.com; San Francisco Headlands, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, (415) 561-4700, http://nps.gov/goga.

How to get there: Mass transportation

By ferry: From the ferry building, walk on Embarcadero to Fisherman’s Wharf. Info: Sausalito/Larkspur,www.goldengateferry.com; Tiburon, www.blueandgoldfleet.com; Oakland/Alameda, Vallejo,http://sanfranciscobayferry.com.

By train and cable car: From the Peninsula, take Caltrain to San Francisco, www.caltrain.com. Then walk 1.4 miles to Powell and Market streets for a cable car ride to Fisherman’s Wharf, www.sfcablecar.com.

BART and cable car: Take BART to Powell Street Station, www.bart.gov. Take the cable car from outside the station to Fisherman’s Wharf, www.sfcablecar.com.

How to get there: Driving

From the Peninsula: Take Highway 101 north to San Francisco and continue to the split with Interstate 280 (signed downtown). At the split take I-280 for 0.5 of a mile, keep right at the fork (signed for 280), then continue 3.3 miles to King Street. Continue on King for 0.7 of a mile to the Embarcadero and then continue 2.5 miles onto Jefferson Street and Fisherman’s Wharf.

From the East Bay: Take the Bay Bridge to San Francisco (stay in left lanes) and the exit on the left for Harrison Street (toward Embarcadero). Take that exit for 0.4 of a mile (stay right) to Harrison. Turn right on Harrison and drive 0.3 mile to the Embarcadero. Turn left and drive 2 miles and continue to Jefferson Street and Fisherman’s Wharf.

From Marin: Take the Golden Gate Bridge to San Francisco (stay left on the split for Highway 101) and continue about 2 miles to the exit for Marina Boulevard. Turn left on Marina and drive 1.1 miles to Laguna, and then continue on Laguna for 0.1 of a mile to Bay Street. Turn left on Bay Street and drive 0.9 miles to Taylor. Turn left on Taylor and go 0.2 miles to Jefferson Street and Fisherman’s Wharf.

Parking: Parking garages available within short walking distance of Fisherman’s Wharf at Beach and Jones, and also across from Pier 39.

— Tom Stienstra