History Behind Sausalito’s Floating Houses

The history behind these homes is quite interesting and we’re sure it might amuse you as well. When you reach Sausalito, you aren’t surprised by the people, the food, the area, instead are in awe and shock from the sight in front of you with numerous floating homes and houseboats docked at the bay.

The History

Some Natural Disasters

It is wondrous how it all came along because of mishaps Because of the earthquake and fire that hit the city in 1906, floating homes became increasingly popular as a way for people who had lost their landlocked homes to rebuild. In the 1960s, Sausalito’s floating homes became a desirable option for artists, free spirits, and other creative types. Singer-songwriter Otis Redding was inspired while sitting on Waldo Point Harbor’s dock in Sausalito when he wrote the classic song “(Sittin’ On) the Dock of the Bay.”

How World War II Fits In The Equation

While the earthquake was responsible for the emergence of the Sausalito floating homes, the end of World War II was instrumental in igniting the neighbourhood. After the war, the shipyard where 20,000 people worked night and day to construct military vessels were shut down, leaving behind lumber, metal, and several pieces of half-finished vessels. However, the residents of this underappreciated small town had a strategy. Because they were strapped for cash but eager to get started, they repurposed old barges and junk to create a community of low-cost floating residences.

The Architectural and Financial Trend

This triggered a trend among architects to try out new ways to make floating homes in Sausalito and a lot of floating houses started to pop up in the nearing times. Architects and city planners around the world are beginning to look beyond the traditional boundaries of the city and consider building on water as a solution to reducing population density in inner cities and developing flood-resistant designs. Without action, flooding-related damage to cities could cost $1 trillion annually by 2050, according to a World Bank report.

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That’s to say, they can float on the water at low tide and sit on the mud at high tide, but they can’t go anywhere they want. These, on the other hand, aren’t meant to be permanent residences; instead, they make excellent vacation homes, second homes, or even primary residences, all without the exorbitant costs of land-based living.

Pricing and Consumer Benefits

While the average home price in Sausalito is $1.5 million, a floating house on the water here costs between $500,000 and $1 million. Sausalito floating homes for sale range from $400,000 to over a million dollars, but some are listed for less than half that amount. Due to the significant savings offered by these charming houses, you have plenty of time to save up for the monthly fees associated with floating-home living, such as docking, water, garbage, sewer, and parking. There are additional budgets for other amenities such as cable and Internet that residents spend on top of this total. However, because the house payments are smaller, these fees are no longer as onerous.

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It should be noted that Sausalito’s boathouses are taxed at similar rates to traditional homes, with the only difference being that the fees are organized as personal property tax (or unsecured property tax) rather than property tax. This can sometimes make it more difficult to obtain a loan for a floating home—so the process is easier for cash buyers than for lenders—though it is still possible.

If the idea of a floating home is intriguing, consider renting one for the night or looking into Sausalito houseboat rentals so you can experience a day or two on the water. Several incredible opportunities are available on Airbnb—floating homes for rent are usually between $100 and $400 per night, providing an easy way to see how you fare in the tiny homes atop the water.

When Should You Visit Sausalito?

The Floating Homes Association also offers an annual open-house tour in September, allowing potential buyers and floating-home enthusiasts to see all the possibilities available with a floating lifestyle. Hundreds of people attend the festival, and gracious homeowners open their doors to the onlookers. You’ll get a first-hand look at what it’s like to live on a boat. You’ll also get all of your questions about the functionality and pricing of floating houses answered.

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The annual Sausalito Art Festival is an additional reason to go in September. Visitors from all over the country, including artists and art collectors, flock to this waterfront town to celebrate art. You get to meet new artists, see their amazing work, enjoy live music, and take in one of the best downtowns in California.

What To Do In Sausalito

Now if you do visit Sausalito, it wouldn’t be just for the floating homes and that’s correct, there’s a lot more to discover and visit in Sausalito.

  1. Golden Gate Bridge and Vista Point

One of the most iconic landmarks in the San Francisco area is the 1.7-mile golden gate bridge. The classic arched cable bridge and beaming with outdoor exhibits, this bridge is just a vacuum for tourists in and out.

A popular way to cross the bridge is via bicycle, and tourists can find several rental shops in the area. Cyclists often opt to ride one way to Sausalito and then take the ferry back.

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  1. Ferry Ride from San Francisco to Sausalito

The ferry departs from the San Francisco Ferry Building, which is a worthwhile stop in and of itself, especially for foodies who will find many unique gourmet shops and artisanal bakeries.

The ferry, which departs from the Ferry Building dock just a few hundred yards from the Bay Bridge, provides a wonderful view of the San Francisco Bay, complete with sailboats, commercial ships, screams of seagulls, and hovering pelicans.

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  1. Day Trip to Muir Woods

One of the few remaining redwood forests in Northern California’s coastal valleys can be found 14 miles north of Sausalito. Located in the San Francisco Bay Area, Muir Woods National Monument is home to the last remaining “old-growth” forest.

More seclusion can be found at the Green Gulch Farm Zen Center, located on a quiet hillside about three miles from Muir Woods National Monument. The retreat centre has its own organic farm and offers a variety of Buddhist programmes, including meditation classes, dharma talks, and overnight accommodations.

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  1. The Scenic Walk along Bridgeway

Take a walk along Bridgeway from the town’s centre for spectacular views and photo ops. Old-fashioned street lamps with decorative hanging pots of colourful flowers adorn this picturesque pathway that follows the bay.

Waterfront paths lead north and south from the ferry landing, with Mount Tamalpais and the marinas serving as a backdrop; they begin and end in San Francisco Bay.

Visitors can see seals swimming in the bay as they walk along the pedestrian path on Bridgeway. Halfway along the path stands the famous bronze seal statue, which is submerged during high tides.

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These are just the start of what’s in it for you to visit. Sausalito has a million more experiences allowing you to have a billion more moments and memories with your friends and loved ones!

Also check out our article on How To Spend A Perfect Day in Muir Woods