Pier 40 provides access to some of the most iconic views along the San Francisco Waterfront. The Bay Bridge and Ferry Building are 3/4-mile north and public docks at Pier 39 provide a fun destination with restaurants and attractions. To the south, 1/2-mile across South Beach Harbor, is McCovey Cove and the San Francisco Giant’s ballpark. This is a great launch for experiencing a Giant’s game from McCovey Cove and a chance to catch a “splash hit” home run.

Public launch facilities are from high-freeboard docks on the north and south of the Pier. There is a loading/unloading zone and paid parking is available in nearby surface lots. Pier 40 is also home to an outfitter – City Kayak.

Boat Facilities

Pier 40 boat facilities include two high-freeboard docks, one is located to the north of Pier 40 and one to the south. Both are accessed by ADA accessible gangways and are open for public use.

Most paddlers launch from the dock on the north side of Pier 40. The dock gangway has a gate and sharp turns that can make carrying boats difficult. To avoid using a gangways with turns, some paddlers will use a non-accessible ramp located behind Java House and launch from a small landing on the dock before the locked gate into South Beach Harbor.

City Kayak provides indoor and outdoor public kayak storage for a monthly fee. City Kayak also provides equipment rentals, guided trips, sales, classes, and coordinates regular outings for groups.


Pier 40 is located along the The Embarcadero, south of the Bay Bridge, in the South Beach neighborhood of San Francisco.

The KT Muni line stops at Brannan Street, an approximately 5 minute walk from Pier 40. The Bay Trail and Blue Greenway run along the shoreline adjacent to Pier 40.


Parking can be difficult depending on the season and if there is a Giant’s game. Users bringing in their own boats may need to use the unloading area and park elsewhere. Paid public parking is available at Pier 30 and 1 Bryant Street, approximately 1.5 blocks away. Day parking permits are available in the Pier 40 surface lot to City Kayak patrons for $20/day, depending on availability.


Public restrooms are located behind SB40 Restaurant on the north side of Pier 40. The restrooms are open during daylight hours.


The adjacent South Beach Park and promenade contain lawns, benches, pathways, and sculptures. Food and drink are available from the Java House and SB40 restaurants located next to Pier 40.


The Pier 40 boat launches have been designed to meet ADA standards. Each of the launch docks include an accessible gangway that leads to a high-freeboard dock. On the south side of Pier 40 there is a 164-foot ADA gangway with a 180 degree turn. At Pier 40 there is a 161-foot ADA gangway with a bend in it. The dock has transition plates and the path of travel surface is smooth. The site also offers ADA restrooms and ADA parking, and path of travel.

The Bay Area Association of Disabled Sailors (BAADS) runs weekly dinghy sailing, keelboat sailing, and Veterans sailing from Pier 40.

Safety Tips

The San Francisco Waterfront is an active port and many ships of all sizes frequent the waters offshore. Passenger ferries regularly arrive/depart from the Ferry Building 3/4-mile north and there are industrial and cruise ship terminals within 2-miles. Recreational motorized boats and sailboats are regularly moving throughout South Beach Harbor and McCovey Cove. A ferry service runs in McCovey Cove during Giant’s games. Small non-motorized boaters need to take caution to avoid these vessels – always being aware of your surroundings and giving a wide berth when larger boats are in transit.

Always know the tides, current, and weather forecast prior to paddling and take care to stay within your skill level. Winds and currents on the Bay can be strong and can change quickly.

Crossing to the East Bay from Pier 40 is only recommended for very experienced paddlers. Barges and other large ships frequent the shipping lanes offshore.

Trailhead Photos