Endless networks of rivers converge to form the Sacramento Delta, a wild and wonderful wetland. Enjoy discovering the mysteries the Delta offers just as the old miners and settlers did during the Gold Rush.
John Sutter first set sail from San Francisco inland over the Delta waterways in search of land to settle. His early exploration party consisted of three boats and a handful of men. They sailed through lands occupied primarily by Indians and wildlife. It took twelve days to find the entrance of the American River and to land at what would later become Sacramento, the Capitol of California. (See the Capitol Building)
Within ten years of that historic Delta trip, John Marshall made his famous discovery and the Gold Rush began. Gold Fever struck the nation and a huge migration to California began. Steamboats, paddleboats, and an assortment of barges and riverboats became the preferred method of transportation between San Francisco and Sacramento.
Various systems of levees and dredging over the years transformed the vast marshlands of the Delta into a series of channels and leveed islands that defines the Delta today. Over 1,000 miles of levees currently protect the lands and waterways of the Sacramento Delta, much of which is below sea level. Hundreds of miles of waterways wind their way through the 738,000 acre area which supports critical habitats for fish and wildlife as well as agriculture, communities and recreation.
You can enjoy the Sacramento Delta at over 100 waterside resorts and marinas, enjoy fine dining and wine tasting. Or better yet, you can get out on the water and go boating, fishing, windsurfing, kayaking, swimming, waterskiing, or house-boating. The Delta offers plenty of camping, bird watching, and more.
The Sacramento Delta spreads across rural lands and while it is close to communities such as San Francisco, Sacramento and Fresno, it is still somewhat of a sleepy, lesser known destination. Touring the Sacramento Delta by boat takes you through historic towns that haven’t changed much since the days of the Gold Rush. Even the mail man delivers mail by boat here.
You won’t find many sandy beaches in the Delta. Often the ones you do find disappear when the tide comes in. A few resorts have private sandy beaches such as Orwood Resort, Lost Isle, B & W Resort and Snug Harbor. Anchoring is allowed in most places without restriction though much of the land along the waterways is private.
You can enjoy boating and RVing the Sacramento Delta year round with prime season being from April through October. The average high of 94.7 degrees in July cools down at night to an average of 58.7 degrees which makes for comfortable sleeping.
The Delta area is home to all kinds of lodging from friendly bed and breakfast inns, houseboats, floating cabins, RV parks, historic hotels, and even a hotel on an old riverboat, the Delta King.
There’s plenty to do when you spend your days floating on this lazy river. There’s wine tasting, fishing, tours, bird watching, golf, sightseeing and more but you may find that just floating is good enough.
Our appreciation to Sharon Mollerus for sharing her photos.
Sharon is an English Instructor at The College of St. Scholastica
in Duluth. A Poet, Writer, Photographer and Proud Grandmother.