Ride the Ducks San Francisco : Fun, Informative and Quack-tastic

* I was provided complimentary passes to Ride the Ducks San Francisco so that I can share my experience with my readers, however all thoughts are my own. 


I've been looking forward to this Ride the Ducks experience, when we were finally able to set the date last month, I was more than excited to finally try it.

For a brief background, Ride the Ducks was actually started in 1977 by a local entrepreneur Bob McDowell from  Branson, Missouri. This idea came out after he has acquired a small site seeing business in the hopes to build a better guest experience. Ride the Ducks in San Francisco was launched in 2008.


The Ride the Ducks San Francisco boarding location is the corner of Taylor and Jefferson across from the famous Fisherman's Wharf sign. You will not miss it since the you will see the signage and apart from that, The Duck, (amphibian) is also clearly visible, parked in front of the ticket booth.


Immediately after our tickets were verified, we were given the "wacky quackers"-which is like a small horn that gives the quack sound. I can say it really is a brilliant accessory in order to add more fun during the ride. My husband's cousin and her family joined us for this trip so we were a bunch of quackers.



The Ducks

The first question you will ask of course is : "Where will we ride?" The Ducks were built from the ground up exclusively for Ride The Ducks and its partners. The vehicle resembled the WWII DUKW in appearance only.  The Ride the Ducks Duck uses the latest in marine design and safety.  They are regularly inspected, tested & certified by the United States Coast Guard to ensure a safe and comfortable experience for the guests. 




Ride the Ducks staff are friendly and accomodating, they assist guests upon boarding and trailing the ladder towards the vehicle. There is a provided space where you can park strollers or wheelchairs in front of the ticket booth so it was not a hassle to find a safe place where you will leave your kid's accessories. 



The Tour

Everyone was excited when our captain, Capt. Van, started the engine. He made some few introductions and reminders before finally setting off. 

The tour was incorporated with music as we cruise along the historical streets of San Francisco. The songs actually synched with whatever topic the captain/tour guide is saying. There are times when we're asked to "quack" together with the music which definitely added more fun and entertainment during the ride. The quaking time is actually my daughter's favorite part. Printed information was also provided and passed along the guests as the captain discussed historical facts. 


I was amazed at how knowlegeable the tour guide is, I have been in San Francisco a number of times but I must admit that I have never known about some interesting facts until this trip. Aside from that, I was not really able to roam around the most historical places of the city (including the city's financial district) aside from the famous landmarks the city is known for prior to the Ride the Ducks experience.

On land, the duck tour passes by many San Francisco sightseeing landmarks, including:

  • Union Square
  • Chinatown
  • Ghirardelli Square
  • North Beach
  • Fisherman’s Wharf
  • SOMA
  • South Beach
  • The Ferry Building
  • The Transamerica Pyramid
  • And more…

The captain along the way, also showed us some really fascinating views that you wouldn't normally know unless you're pretty familiar with San Francisco. The following photos are two of my favorite : 

This photo captured a view of cable cars which is what San Francisco is also famour for, the scene also captured a portion of the bay.


This one on the otherhand, this gave a good shot of the Bay Bridge captured on the more industrialized part of the city.



The Splash

Before the thrilling splash down into the bay into the famous Mc Covey Cove, instructions were given regarding the life vests and how to use them if ever emergency happens. The whole sightseeing adventure lasted for about 90 minutes and 25 minutes of that time was on the bay. The vehicle was built to be very stable on the bay and in McCovey Cove, It was also loaded of modern safety equipment on board. So discard your doubtful thoughts about the safety of The Duck!


The water during the ride is very tranquil and relaxing since the water speed tops out at only 7mph. This means that you can relax and just enjoy the view and savor the experience (and take pictures, lol).


The sightseeing from the water includes:

  • City Skyline
  • Bay Bridge
  • AT&T Ballpark
  • McCovey Cove


Again, there were lots of information shared during the cruise on the bay. The exciting part of the bay cruise is when my daughter along with other kids were allowed and took turns to drive the vehicle. 

jFrom the smile on our faces, you can assume that we really had a fantastic time. The Ride the Ducks experience is a unique one which I will surely recommend to friends and family. This informative tour goes a long way apart from the traditional city tour by bus. I wouldn't hesitate to ask tourists to take this tour for a fun, entertaining and educational taste of San Francisco.

9When finally it was bye-bye time, we can't help but take a photo opportunity with Capt. Van who was still as goofy as he was during the tour. 


A few tips for those who are planning to take the Ride the Ducks tour :

  • Make sure to come ahead of time. We live just less than an hour away from San Francisco, we left early with an ample time of allowance for finding parking but the weekend traffic made it impossible to still come in early. Parking in the area most especially during weekends is also quite a challenge so make sure that you give (more) allowance for time in finding where to park before the boarding time. 
  • There are no restrooms in the vehicle, so make sure that you make a trip to the restroom before boarding. There are public  restroom facilities across the street on the other side of the famous Fisherman’s Wharf  which you can use. In our case, we resolved to the restrooms in one of the establishments across the street wink
  • Check the weather on the date of your tour, it can be a windy chilling day so you will need to bring extra clothes to keep warm. 
  • Food and drinks are allowed on board, but not alcoholic beverages. But remember that there are no restrooms on board so take note of that.


Where to buy tickets? Tickets can be purchased :

The tours are very popular so to ensure that you get a seat on the tour of your choice, it is recommend you purchase tickets in advance. If you prefer to book when you get to town, you can visit the ticket booth in Fisherman’s Wharf at the corner of Taylor and Jefferson Streets (across from the famous Fisherman’s Wharf sign).




* I was provided complimentary passes to Ride the Ducks San Francisco so that I can share my experience with my readers, however all thoughts are my own. 


  1. megan b says

    Aw this makes me feel bad for skipping the Duck Boats both times I went to San Fran. I will do it next time now for sure. 

  2. Lynn B says

    This looks like so much fun! We're thinking about heading up to San Fran next year and will definitely keep this in mind. I love that they let the littles have a go at steering in the water, my son would so love that!

  3. says

    I first rode the ducks in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin about 40 year ago. I think they have been offering duck rides there now for more than 60 years, and people still love the ducks.

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