San Francisco Bay Facts: History, Tourism, Wildlife & More

Sri Dhanya
Mar 17, 2023 By Sri Dhanya
Originally Published on Mar 17, 2023
Fact-checked by Spandana Kantam
The tidal waters flow through the Golden Gate Bridge and past wetlands, large cities, and industrial shorelines. Learn more of these San Francisco Bay facts here.

The picture of the huge bridge, streets filled with cable cars, and victorian architecture instantly comes to mind when anyone says San Fransico Bay.

Also referred to as the Bay Area, San Francisco Bay is a region in northern California. San Francisco is home to approximately 7.76 million people.

San Francisco Bay includes nine counties that border the estuaries mentioned above. These are Alameda, Marin, Contra Costa, San Mateo, Solano, Santa Clara, Napa, Sonoma, and San Francisco.

It is home to Silicon Valley, also known as Santa Clara Valley or simply Santa Clara County. This bay is considered one of the most ecological habitats of California since it also supports quite a few endangered species.

Historical Facts About San Francisco Bay

San Francisco's first settlers were the Native American people called the Ohlone. The Spanish settlers founded this city in 1776. They named it Yerba Buena based on the native plant in abundance within the area. The city was renamed San Francisco in 1847 and was named after Saint Francis of Assisi.

The San Francisco Bay has been a witness to several events throughout the history of the United States of America. The list includes the California Gold Rush of 1848 and the San Francisco earthquake and fire in 1906.

The Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989 is not an event to forget either. Also, San Francisco has been a hub of several cultural movements through the decades. The city celebrated Beat Generation in the '50s, and other rights movement emerged later on.

San Francisco Bay area is an area of diverse business streams.

Things For Tourists To Do

San Francisco Bay offers many sights for tourists visiting the bay area every year.

The Golden Gate Bridge: Once called 'the bridge that couldn't be built', it is widely identified worldwide by its orange color. San Francisco's most famous landmark was opened in 1937 and is 1.7 mi (2.7 km) long. Tourists can feel free to walk along the sidewalk during daylight hours.

Muir Woods National Monument: Named after the naturalist John Muir, this place is a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Tourists can enjoy activities like hiking, biking, and guided tours here.

Napa Valley, California: Napa Valley is famously known for its vineyards. Apart from that, it is also known for its beautiful town and exquisite restaurants.

Palo Alto, California: Palo Alto is not only the home to the famous Stanford University, but it is also famous for its restaurants.

San Pedro Square: Packed with more than 25 restaurants within five blocks, the San Pedro Square Market is sure to appeal to tourists. It has various cafes, pubs, fine dining restaurants, and Caribbean food joints.

The Tech Interactive Museum: The Tech Interactive museum is one of the biggest tourist attractions in San Jose. The main highlight is the IMAX Dome theater. It has a laser projector inside a dome theater.

Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum: This museum is inspired by the Temple of Amon at Karnak. It is sure to interest people passionate about history. This museum has more than 4,000 artifacts. You can learn more about Egyptian burial rituals and the afterlife.

Santa Clara: Tourists in Santa Clara must visit the home of the San Francisco 49ers at the Levi's Stadium. Apart from this, one can also visit the Triton Museum of Art and the Intel Museum.

Yosemite National Park: Yosemite National Park has many views to offer its visitors. Yosemite Falls, along with the Half Dome, the Vernal Fall, and El Capitan, is why around four million people visit this place annually.

Alcatraz: Tourists seem excited to check out the Alcatraz federal prison. This prison has no record of confirmed prisoner escapes from its escape-proof mechanism. It held some of the most famous criminals in history.

If you are visiting the area, plan it when the city's signature summer fog appears in this mostly windy destination.

Animals You Can Find Around The Area

Almost every ecological niche in the animal kingdom is in the San Francisco Bay area. The greatest eelgrass population in California is in San Francisco Bay.

Despite being a heavily populated estuary, it is home to over 500 fish and animal species. The list includes salmons on their way to inland spawning grounds, herring, anchovies, and sharks.

Some marine mammals include seals, sea lions, dolphins, porpoises, and whales. It is an important stopover along the Pacific Flyway for migratory shorebirds and waterfowl. San Francisco Bay is known for having the greatest diversity of non-native species.

The gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) can be spotted traveling down the West Coast. This location is between their breeding sites in Baja, California, and their Arctic feeding areas. You can find them from mid-December to early April.

In December and January, they move southward. When moms and calves are frequently sighted in March and April, they migrate north. On whale-watching excursions, it is relatively easy to encounter gray whales.

The most incredible animals to spot in the area are the great white shark, californian sea lion, bat ray, North American river otter, and so on.

Remembered for the tea garden, aerial view, the port, and the merging of rivers, San Francisco Bay has become the largest estuary combined with Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. With fresh water and salt water flowing in each direction, it is easily one of the finest natural harbors.


Is the San Francisco Bay freshwater?
While the estuary has salt water for around 30 mi (48.3 km) to the Carquinez Strait, the fresh water flows from the Central Valley to the sea.

How long is the San Francisco Bay bridge?
The San Francisco Bridge is 8.4 mi (13.5 km) in length, including the approaches and toll plaza. It is located on Interstate 80 between San Francisco and Alameda counties.

How far is Monterey Bay from San Francisco?Monterey and San Francisco are at a distance of approximately 119 mi (191.5 km). Monterey Bay is 72.1 mi (116 km) away from San Francisco.

As a result, the trip from San Francisco to Monterey does not take very long. It is about a two-hour drive by car. Due to its proximity to San Francisco, Monterey is the ideal coastal destination for a day vacation.

How far is San Francisco to Monterey Bay?
San Francisco is approximately about 72.1 mi (116 km) away from Monterey Bay.

How far is Half Moon Bay from San Francisco?
Half Moon Bay and San Francisco are separated by 22 mi (35 km). The road distance between the two is 29.9 mi (48 km).

What is the abandoned city in San Francisco Bay?Drawbridge (previously Saline City) is an abandoned city in San Francisco Bay. Drawbridge is a deserted town with an abandoned railroad station.

The town's ruins are located on Station Island on the Union Pacific Railroad line, a few miles south of Fremont. It was once a hunting community but has been a barren wasteland since 1979 and is slowly slipping into the marshlands.

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Written by Sri Dhanya

Bachelor of Science specializing in Mathematics

Sri Dhanya picture

Sri DhanyaBachelor of Science specializing in Mathematics

She is a highly skilled professional with six years of experience in writing and a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics from PSG College of Arts and Science. In addition to her professional experience, she has also been actively involved in volunteer work, particularly with children for organizations such as the Spartans Association for Youth and as an ambassador for the Charter for Compassion. With her experience in both writing and volunteer work, Sri Dhanya is a well-rounded professional who brings a unique perspective and diverse skillset to any project she works on.

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Fact-checked by Spandana Kantam

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Political Science and Sociology

Spandana Kantam picture

Spandana KantamBachelor of Arts specializing in Political Science and Sociology

Spandana holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from Acharya Nagarjuna University. She has a passion for writing and enjoys reading crime and thriller novels while listening to RnB music in her free time.

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