Fort Baker is a dream-like collection of vintage white and red buildings situated at water’s edge on the San Francisco Bay, on the Sausalito side of the Golden Gate Bridge. Part of California’s Golden Gate National Recreation Area, it began as a fort and is now a remarkable place to see and to stay when you are in the San Francisco area. The buildings are clustered on several sides of a large parade ground which is open toward the Bay.
Fort Baker has all of the charms of a vintage village as if it had been magically set down in a small, sheltered gap. Surrounded by hills on all sides except for the Bay, it has all of the beauty and charm of a place that is truly set apart from the rest of the world. And yet, so close to the grandeur of the Golden Gate Bridge, the drama of the Marin Headlands, and the quaintness of Sausalito.
History of Fort Baker
Fort Baker began in 1850 when President Millard Fillmore set aside this location as part of the fortifications guarding the entrance to the San Francisco Bay. Situated on the northern side of the Golden Gate, the Army post remained active through World War II.
Want to take a deeper dive into the history? You can sign up for a Fort Baker cell phone tour. You’ll just find a sign indicating a tour stop. Call the number on the sign and enter the stop number to listen to the tour. While the tour information is free, you’ll be charged regularly through your cell phone carrier for the call.
You can get a map and more information about Fort Baker at the Bay Area Discovery Museum (BADM) or at the Marin Headlands Visitor Center.
Photographers delight in the unusual perspective to be had of the Golden Gate Bridge from Fort Baker. Many say it offers the best views of the Bridge, as well as long sweeping views of the San Francisco skyline. There are a small marina and fishing pier, and some hiking, in addition to the old military buildings.
Fort Baker offers upscale lodging at The Cavallo Point Hotel; many of the rooms are in former officers’ residences, while others are in a contemporary ‘green’ building. The rooms are well appointed; some have large windows with views of the Bay and the Bridge. Cavallo Point’s Murray Circle Restaurant, highlighting refined modern Northern California cuisine is among the Bay Area’s top culinary delights. The hotel also offers a free area shuttle within 8 miles.
Still relatively undiscovered, Fort Baker awaits those who will visit for a short while and those who will linger. To get to Fort Baker, cross the Golden Gate Bridge from south to north, leave Hwy 101 at the second exit, Alexander Avenue. Then follow the signs to Fort Baker.
Read about all of the Golden Gate Recreation Areas in one beautiful guide.
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