San Francisco Duck Tour

Have you ever walked along the streets and out of nowhere, you hear a loud quacking noise?  Did you think that one of your friends might be playing a mean trick on you? Or perhaps you thought ducks might be taking over the city?

Well, that noise is from a duck tour.  There are two operators in San Francisco:  Ride the Ducks and Bay Quackers.  This commentary is based on the experience on Ride the Ducks tour.

What is a duck tour?  Let’s answer that question with some questions.

1.  What is the vehicle you are touring on? Why is it called a duck tour? The “ducks” or “dukws” are based on a World War II vehicle with the capability of land and water usage. DUKW is derived from a military acronym. The letters are codes indicating that it was designed in 1942 (D), for utility/amphibious purposes (U), with front wheel drive (K), and two rear driving axles (W). Information obtained from Ride the Ducks San Francisco website.

2. What sites do you visit? The duck tour begins in Union Square or Fisherman’s Wharf.  Sites you will pass by are Union Square, Chinatown, Ghirardelli Square, North Beach, Fisherman’s Wharf, SOMA, South Beach, and Ferry Building.  The water portion of the tour starts near Mission Bay. The tour lasts about 90 minutes.

3. How much does it cost? Adult ticket prices range from $30-$34.  Children ticket prices range from $23-$25.  If you book online and start from Union Square location, you will receive a few dollars off the ticket price.

4. Why is it so noisy? Tour operators give guests yellow noise makers.  They are similar to beaks of a duck.  Tour operators tell the guests on board to quack with their noise makers when they pass people along the street. In addition, guests use the noise makers in tune with the music on board.

5.  Recommendation? The duck tour is a great family adventure.  You will have the chance to drive the duck when you are in the water; this seems to thrill young guests.  If you do not mind the constant noise makers and people giving you a weird stare as you are in a boat-like vehicle on land, then this tour is for you.  The tour isn’t very detailed, but shows you the major sites in 90 minutes.


About Jan

In 2004 and 2010, I set aside time to travel the world in 3 parts. In 2004, I traveled to Thailand, Europe, and Pacific Northwest region of the U.S. In 2010, I traveled to 3 continents: Asia, South America, and Africa. I am not sure if I have a fascination with the number 3, but I seem to be constantly traveling by numbers.
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2 Responses to San Francisco Duck Tour

  1. Snowy says:

    Quack Quack!!

  2. Sing says:

    interesting. i’ve been to SF couple times, but never try the duck tour before. maybe i should try it next time :)

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