One of our favorite quick escapes from San Francisco is to the quaint seaside town of Sausalito, with its fountain-filled parks, charming souvenir stores, open cafes and magnificent Bay views. Sausalito is delightfully small and at the same time engaging enough to keep one occupied the whole day. Here, eight tips for things to do in Sausalito.

1. Geek out over the new and used tomes at Habitat Books (803 Bridgeway Boulevard, habitatbooks.com).

2. Grab a cheeseburger at the hole-in-the-wall (and hugely popular) Hamburgers. Then munch it down while watching the waves lapping up the rocky pier by the waterfront (737 Bridgeway Boulevard, hamburgersausalito.com).

3. Indulge your inner magpie at Sausalito Ferry Co., the quirky shop that stocks kitschy charms from adorable cartoon figures to funky phone accessories (688 Bridgeway Boulevard, sausalitoferry.com).

4. Explore the art galleries and framing shops along the Caledonia Street.

5. Drop your line at Fort Baker Pier, an excellent location for fishing enthusiasts—and a great place to take in spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco skyline, Alcatraz and Angel Islands.

6. Have a romantic meal at The Trident restaurant, where the catches are always fresh—and the views divine (558 Bridgeway Boulevard, 1st Floor, thetridentsausalito.com).

7. Lap up some frozen goodness at Lappert’s Ice Cream (689 Bridgeway Boulevard, lapperts.com).

8. If this is a family outing, let the kids run around while you laze among fountains and greener at Vina Del Mar Plaza, the ideal spot to relax while while waiting for the ferry back home.

Directions
Take the Golden Gate or the Blue and Gold Fleet ferry (a 30-minute ride), or make the journey part of the adventure and bike across the Golden Gate Bridge (check our our guide to best Bay Area bike rentals, and try this guide for routes and other tips). Bikes are allowed on the ferry, so you can bike there and catch a ride back at the end of the day.

Photo: bryce_edwards