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Avoiding traffic on Golden State Bridge

Parker, CO
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3 posts
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Avoiding traffic on Golden State Bridge

We are renting a car when we arrive in San Francisco and taking it to the Fisherman's Wharf area to explore for the day. Then we will drive to Napa- time is flexible but would like to be there before dark. We realize the Golden State Bridge is heavy with traffic, but would there be a "best" time to cross it. We want to see it and it sounds easier going northbound at the beginning of the trip rather than southbound at the end. Is the "magic" time 7:00 p.m.? Thanks for your help!

San Francisco
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1. Re: Avoiding traffic on Golden State Bridge

There are two vista points on both ends in both directions so it doesn't really matter if you stop going or coming.

Assuming this is a weekday? If so, the rush direction is into the city in the morning and out in the evening. However, by 7PM I imagine the worst of the northbound traffic would be over. Northbound summertime rush starts about 3PM (earlier on Friday) and goes until 6PM or so.

If you want the south vista point going northbound, there will be two lanes merging in on the right. You will need to get across those two lanes *immediately* in order to make the exit to the Visitor's Center. If you want the south vista point when returning, go through the far right toll and make the first available right turn (just past the Bridge Admin building). Then make an immediate right and another right to go under the roadway to the Visitor Center.

Are you aware that the toll (paid in the southbound direction) is cashless and for rental cars must be paid BEFORE crossing. Rental car companies usually offer the transponder (plus tack on a convenience fee) but you can opt out and pay the toll based on the license plate. Details here: goldengate.org/tolls/rentalvehicles.php

Edited: 10:14 am, May 03, 2014
San Francisco...
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2. Re: Avoiding traffic on Golden State Bridge

It's Golden GATE Bridge.

Napa, CA
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for Napa
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3. Re: Avoiding traffic on Golden State Bridge

Traffic moves pretty well on the Golden Gate Bridge during the evening commute. Where it backs up is between the Mill Valley exit and Larkspur. If you leave the bridge area around 6:30, you should have pretty smooth sailing all the way to Napa, a one hour drive.

The best viewpoints for the bridge are up Conzelman Road in the Marin Headlands which can be accessed at the first exit after crossing the bridge.

Parker, CO
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4. Re: Avoiding traffic on Golden State Bridge

Miss typed. Sorry! I knew that!

Parker, CO
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3 posts
7 reviews
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5. Re: Avoiding traffic on Golden State Bridge

Thank you so much for your great information! I really appreciate it!

San Frantastic
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6. Re: Avoiding traffic on Golden State Bridge

You will only need one hour to experience Fisherman's Wharf. Unless you collect ticky-tacky tchotchkes.

Pretty neat views of the GGB all along Crissy Field (not really a field -- it's a very nice walkway between wetlands and the Bay).

Head the other way and check out the Ferry Building. Plenty of place for a nice lunch, and nice views as well.

7. Re: Avoiding traffic on Golden State Bridge

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