Sausalito is well known for its fabulous views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge, as well as the intriguing Richardson Bay houseboat enclave, begun after WWII by squatting artists and writers. Today it has a small, seaside town vibe, with a lively main street curving along the bay, past the sailboats tied up on the waterside, and boutiques, bars, and restaurants lined up across the street. Behind them houses with large price tags and spectacular views, climb the steep hills. San Francisco is just across the bridge, making access easy. For those who prefer drinking coffee and reading the paper to the morning commute, there is a handy ferry.
Nature lovers gravitate to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area bordering Sausalito, to explore its 19 distinct ecosystems, and some of its 80,000 acres. Nearby is the Marin Mammal Center busy rescuing dolphins, seals, and sea lions in distress. And next-door neighbor Mill Valley is home to Muir Woods and its breathtaking redwood forests.