Our favorite (most-used) anchorage is probably Treasure Island Cove (also known to locals as TI Cove and Clipper Cove), which is between Yerba Buena and Treasure Islands. The Bay Bridge is nearby, but the hum of traffic is not really that noticeable. Comfortable anchorage. Good holding.
McNear's Beach is in San Pablo Bay, just around Pt. San Pedro (go under the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge). Quiet. Good holding.
This is part of the Marin County Department of Parks. Ashore are tennis courts, swimming pool, snack bar (hot dogs, hamburgers, soft drinks - - eat in or carry out), fishing pier, and bathrooms. I don't know if there are showers. If so, I image they are "rinse off the chlorine" types, not "ah! a hot shower after so long aboard!" types. But I don't know. Beach, grassy area. You may reserve the picnic areas (415-499-6387); I don't know the costs, if any. Must leave park by 8 pm. No pets ashore.
A little farther down (sort-of-to-the-N-NW) is China Camp. Rocky bottom (took us three tries to set the anchor). The tide changes are very dramatic; in fact, slack water woke me up!
On Angel Island, the large cove is Ayala Cove. Run by Park Service (Calif. or Feds, I don't know). Several picnic areas, some by reservation. Hiking trails (summit is Mt. Livermore). Concession stand (more elaborate than the one at McNear's). You may tie up in slips or anchor/raft on moorings. As with the McNear's, you must leave the island by 8 pm. Overnight rafting allowed.
We have anchored at other places around Angel Island (NE side between Pt. Campbell - Pt. Simpton - Quarry Point). I thought these were rock-and-roll anchorages and didn't like the holding, either.
Paradise Cove is on the north side of Tiberon Peninsula. It's south of the San Rafael/Richmond Bridge. Good holding. Not too roll-y at night.
And of course, there are lots of yacht clubs. If you are a member elsewhere, you usually can tie up, using reciprocal privileges.
copyright 1998-1999, Martha Beth Lewis