Sausalito Floating Homes

If you love houseboats or floating homes, you may want to make a walking tour of the famous Sausalito Floating Homes part of your next trip to the San Francisco Bay area. I thought I would profile these particular floating homes because the community is maintained by homeowners and individuals rather than city officials. This makes this waterside neighborhood unique in that the designs of these homes, that are docked in Richardson Bay, are up to the owners.

M Skaffari/Flickr

The famous Sausalito floating homes community has a history that stretches over a century. During the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s improvised floating homes made from scrap wood, old tugboats, elegant ships and even old Pullman cars were built by professional artists, and since the dock areas were so small, most of the floating homes stayed small. Some of these homes are now offered as vacation rentals and there are usually a few for sale. Some of the homes have names including the Taj Mahal, the Train Wreck and the Pirate.

Amy Butcher/Flickr

Michael Layefsky/Flickr

M Skaffari/Flickr

A paid walking tour of the houseboats in the Liberty Ship shipyards area and the yacht harbors of Sausalito is offered on Saturdays and Sundays by a local guide. During the tour you’ll also see a few of the battered survivors from the old era of improvised houseboats. Some docks are lined by beautiful flowers in containers that are tended by the owners as their “front yards”, and many of the homes are decorated with ship’s bells and wheels, barometers, compasses, fishnets, flags, pennants and ensigns, colored buoys, paddles and oars, decoys, and other nautical paraphernalia.

NorCal MLS

By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]

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Drue - November 8, 2010 Reply

Wow! Its like being on the set of Popeye.

Aside from the challenges of electric, water, and sewage, I’ve always wondered. Do the owners lease the slips or do they buy a slip?

I’ve wanted to keep a sailboat in a slip and even in land-locked North Texas the slips are expensive to lease on the lakes. I’ve search around the U.S. for buying slips and the cost is astronomical.

Cathy Johnson (Kate) - November 8, 2010 Reply

I KNOW that’s not the solution to all of life’s problems and tensions, but boy I’d love to give that a shot…

Margy - November 8, 2010 Reply

Makes my home look like a little cabin in the woods. Oh, yeah, it is a little floating cabin in the woods. I always liked the floating Sausalito homes even before I discovered float cabins. Must have been in my blood and I didn’t know it.

MJ - November 9, 2010 Reply

Love this article! But I won’t let my tiny houseboat look; it might start getting a few too many Up-town ideas!

Rando - November 9, 2010 Reply

The floating homes of Sausalito have been on my bucket list of “things I must see” since my hippie days in the 70’s. My travels have been wide and far, but still haven’t made it to San Francisco. Love this post and seeing all the creativity from the “free thinkers” of the 70’s. We could use them now, you know! 🙂

Houseboat Inspiration - Nifty Homestead - April 15, 2016 Reply

[…] Sausalito floating homes have a history that stretches over a century. This home made from an old tugboat. A double sense of security. Source […]

Floating Homes • Nifty Homestead - May 11, 2016 Reply

[…] Sausalito floating homes have a history that stretches over a century. This home made from an old tugboat. A double sense of security. Source […]

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