No trip to San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf area is complete without a stop by the Hyde Street Pier Historic Waterfront, which is part of the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. The pier itself was created in the 1930s as an automobile ferry terminal to connect San Francisco with Marin County prior to the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge. It also served as an access point to the East Bay via Berkeley Pier.
Today, Hyde Street Pier is where the park's National Historic Landmark ships are moored, giving visitors an opportunity to relive America's seafaring past. Among the fascinating vessels located here are the 1886 square-rigger Balclutha, the 1895 schooner C. A. Thayer, an 1890 steam ferryboat named Eureka, and the 1891 scow schooner Alma. There is also a 1907 steam tug boat known as Hercules, the 1914 paddlewheel tug Eppleton Hall, and the San Francisco Bay Ark, circa 1890.
The Hyde Street Pier Historic Waterfront is located next to the Aquatic Park Peach at 2905 Hyde Street, San Francisco, California 94109-1225. It is open daily from 9:30am to 5pm. Admission to the pier is free, although there is a charge of $5 per adult to board the ships; supervised children under 16 years old are free of charge. Docent led walking tours are available as well as self-guided exploration.