At first glance, it looks like the film set of Pirates of the Caribbean. On the west end of San Francisco’s iconic Fisherman’s Wharf, the Hyde Street Pier is home to a half-dozen historic ships and is part of the San Francisco Maritime National Park. A daily guided tour titled “Adventures at Sea: Life Aboard a 19th Century Sailing Ship” takes visitors aboard the Balclutha, a cargo ship built in 1886.
The park houses the largest maritime collection on the West Coast, and the biggest museum and research collection in the National Park Service. More than 500,000 photographs and 2,500 pieces of folk and fine art showcase the region’s rich maritime heritage. The exhibit “The Waterfront! Sailors Called it Frisco” lets you walk through
re-creations of six historical working waterfront neighborhoods. Wrap up your visit with a stroll to the end of the pier for sweeping views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Bay.