With hundreds of miles of navigable waterways, the Sacramento River Delta, also known as the California Delta, provides a plethora of outdoor exploration opportunities, including boating, bird watching, camping and more.
The Sacramento Delta is a great day trip for those living in the Sacramento area and can also be a fun weekend adventure for those in the San Francisco Bay Area. There are, literally, hundreds of things that you can do at the Delta, so this article will provide an overview of some of the biggest draws.
Sacramento Delta Driving Loop
Driving Loop – If you want to have a driving loop of the major historic areas in the Delta, this route is a great way to see the sites. The starting point is Rio Vista. From there head north and make a large clockwise loop. Plan on spending an entire day to explore all of the attractions on this route.
Rio Vista California
Rio Vista was founded in 1858 and was a popular stopover point for mariners and miners traveling between San Francisco and Sacramento. Nearby, Rio Vista Ferry – free takes you back and forth to Ryer Island. J-Mac Ferry – the free ferry that takes you across Steamboat Slough.
Grand Island Mansion
Grand Island Mansion is a wonderful spot for lunch on the Sacramento River Delta, once the largest private home in the area. It is four stories tall with over 50 rooms. The mansion is a very popular place for weddings 13415 Grand Island Rd Walnut Grove, California.
Courtland a cute little town with a museum and historical society. A nice place to get out of the car and go for a short stroll. Courtland holds an annual Pear Fair which draws visitors from all over the Sacramento region. The highlight of the fair includes choosing a Pear Fair Queen and a fun little parade. Courtland is located about 17-miles from Sacramento.
Locke came to be in 1915. It is a town that was built by Chinese for the Chinese population of workers after many were displaced as a result of a fire in nearby Walnut Grove. In August of 1970, Locke was added to the National Registry of Historic Places due to its unique status of being the only town in the United States that was built by Chinese for Chinese.
Isleton hosts a popular Crawdad Festival in June. Originally founded in 1974 to provide supplies to gold miners heading up the river. Isleton is a great place to stop for lunch on your road trip.
Fishing attracts a large number of anglers to the delta region. Species that can be found in the Delta area include bluegill, several types of bass and catfish as well as shad. Salmon and sturgeon Steelhead have a run through the Delta and tasty crawdads are also a favorite.
Camping – With over 50 campgrounds and RV parks in the Sacramento River Delta area, having a nature-based weekend at the Delta is easy. There is a mix of public and private camping areas, most of their camping sites are right along the waterway. Many private resorts having boat launch facilities. Some parts also offer boat-in camping, which can be a great way to get away from it all.
There are also day-use options at Brannan Island, including windsurfing, picnicking, shade structures, restrooms Franks Tract State Recreation Area is located southeast of Brannan Island and is primarily used by anglers and waterfowl hunters.
Bird Watching – The numerous waterways and various habitats make the Sacramento River Delta a paradise for bird watching. The Delta is part of the Great Pacific Flyway, which attracts birds that are migrating from Alaska to Mexico. This provides a great opportunity to not only see resident birds of the area, but also migrating species.
There are several vendors that offer cruises on the Sacramento River. If you want to get out on the water with a guide and a fun atmosphere, this can be a great way to see the river. Most cruises have a naturalist or guide on board who will point out the sites, wildlife and historic importance of things you pass.
For a unique experience aboard an old paddlewheel boat, you may want to head to Sacramento and visit the Delta King. Constructed in Scotland in the 1920’s the Delta King used to carry passengers from San Francisco into the Delta. The boat is now docked along Sacramento’s Old Town waterfront and features a restaurant, theater and lodging options.
Wine Tasting – You may not expect there to be a wine scene in the Delta, but the little town of Clarksburg is home to a few tasting rooms that make for a fun stop during your Delta visit. Clarksburg is located about 15 miles south of Sacramento and is home to Galeria do Vinho, Scribner Bend Vineyards, and Bogle Vineyards.
Getting to the Sacramento River Delta
The Sacramento River Delta is located in Northern California and got its name from its triangle shape, with Sacramento, Stockton, and Pittsburgh forming the corners of the triangle.
So, there you go; a little taste of the many offerings in the Sacramento Delta. We encourage you to take a day trip to explore. You may be so charmed that you will want to come back for a whole weekend getaway.