Others Things To Do

There is no shortage of things to do in the California Delta, if you feel that you must be doing something. Here are a few things to help you enjoyably waste a few idle hours.


Locke Dai Loy Museum

A former gambling house in Locke. It was closed down in the early fifties by state government.  Museum opens Friday, Saturday & Sunday from 12 to 4.00 p.m. Please call (916) 776-1661 for special group arrangement. Admission to the museum is $1.25 per person, $.75 for children and students.

Rio Vista Museum

Located at 16 N. Front Street,  Rio Vista, California 94571. The museum is open Saturday and Sunday between 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Tours by Appointment. Call 707-374-5169.

Picking Wild Blackberries

Wild blackberries grow profusely along the banks of many California Delta waterways. This is a tenacious plant that seems impossible to kill. These berries make good eating, but picking them is a bit tricky. You should wear long sleeved shirts or blouses, trousers or slacks, and gloves.

Although many people drive their vehicles out to where the berry bushes are, and then pick them while on foot, it’s more fun to pick them from a boat. Seasoned California Delta berry pickers will construct a foldable walkway to carry on the boat. They will bring the bow of the boat right up to the bushes, then lay the walkway on top of the bushes. Thus, they are able to get far back into the bushes where no one else has yet picked. Some berry pickers bring big sections of carpet to place on the bushes and this usually will support a person. Picking from a dinghy lets you get close to your work.

You need the use of both hands to be a good berry picker. Grizzled berry pickers will have buckets with a clip that fits on their belt. Look Ma, no hands. I am not certain just when berry picking season starts. But usually it is in full force by the time we anchor up in The Meadows in mid-July. So, evidently, berry picking season starts sometime in June.

Running in a Poker Run

Delta poker runs are fun. They may be staged by clubs, for their members and guests. They may be staged by marinas or other entities in the California Delta. One of the most popular in that category is the Big Dogs Poker Run in September, organized by a big dog at Herman & Helen’s Marina and some fellow hounds. Most California Delta-area poker runs are run in boats. You and some friends pile into the runabout and splash off to five to ten designated resorts around the Delta. You collect a playing card in a sealed envelope at each stop (this aspect of the game varies from run to run). At the finish, the organizers open your envelopes (or whatever) to reveal your poker hand. The top hands win prizes, and there may be other surprise prizes.

No skill is involved, other than navigating your way to all the stops. Many poker runs include breakfast at the start and a barbecue dinner at the finish, along with a custom T-shirt or hat, as part of what you get for the price of admission. A poker run, in a way, is just something to do in your boat (or PWC) along with a lot of other people, many of whom may be your friends or acquaintances. The poker runs take you to places you might never visit on your own. Thus, they help acquaint you with the many charms of the Delta. Some of the bigger poker runs are held on Mondays, when the Delta waterways are apt to be free of other boating traffic and when the resorts designated as poker run stops are more apt to welcome a few hundred extra customers. (Check this website’s Event Calendar for scheduled poker runs.)

Canoeing & Kayaking

We receive quite a few inquiries on canoeing and kayaking in the Delta. Although most of the California Delta waterways themselves are amicable enough for these activities, boat wakes from powerboats can be a detriment, especially on summer weekends. The solution then would be to canoe or kayak on Delta waterways not popular with powerboaters and at times when the fewest number of powerboaters are apt to be present. We can offer a few suggested spots.

Sevenmile Slough has almost no access for powerboats. Sevenmile slough is no longer accessible from Brannan Island State Park. The swim area at the park is on Sevenmile Slough however some 100 yards beyond the swim area the slough stops at a man made embankment after which all land around the slough is privately owned. It is no longer possible to go from Brannan Island State Park to near Owl Harbor.

There is a beautiful section of Old River that runs from near Del’s Boat Harbor east to a ways past what is referred to as Heinbockle’s at Tracy Blvd. Boating traffic is light here, since the water can be shallow in some spots, and because there is a Dept. of Water Resources (DWR) barrier on the west end of the waterway. This is a bucolic setting with plenty of trees and a few sandy beaches. In the same general area in the South Delta, (3) Middle River has almost no boating traffic from where it branches off Old River (upstream) to another DWR barrier just short of where the river runs under Hwy 4 at Union Point Resort. The water may be shallow and in much of this run you will be in agricultural country.

The Cosumnes River offers splendid canoeing and kayaking waters from where it joins the Mokelumne River a few miles above Wimpy’s Marina upriver to at least the wildlife preserve. You might see an occasional powerboat in the first ¼ mile, but it can shallow up quickly. The Mokelumne River also offers some good possibilities above its juncture with the Cosumnes. You’ll find plenty of trees and brush, quite a few snags, and on occasion, a PWCer. Still in this same general area (east of Locke and Walnut Grove), there are some suitable waters on the upstream end of Lost Slough. All of the waterways in this area are beautiful, and if you don’t mind a boat wake now an then, could be ideal for canoeing or kayaking. Some boaters bring canoes or kayaks along aboard their cruisers or houseboats, to mess around with them when their boats are at anchor. (Historical note: In the flood year of 1983, kayakers John Sweetser and Bill Cooper ran a pair of kayaks from Bakersfield to San Francisco, primarily on the San Joaquin River system, taking 11 days and many portages to complete the journey. “It’s a good experience. I don’t know it’s worth it,” said Cooper.)

Brannan Island State Park has a program of inexpensive guided canoe trips part of the year and they provide the canoes. We don’t know any place in the Delta that rents canoes, but suggest you check the telephone companies’ yellow pages. It seems we are still a working-class society, toiling at our jobs  nine-to-five Monday through Friday. Even in the Delta’s prime summer season, weekday boating traffic is light.


Some of you smitten with the game of golf might find it difficult to imagine a few days out in the California Delta without squeezing in some time on the links. Some manage taking a whack at golf balls no matter where they are.

There are a few possibilities for those who want to include some golfing with their boating. There are some very nice private golf courses near the water, but you need to play as a guest of a member. Such courses include the Discovery Bay Country Club, the Stockton Country Club, Brookside Country Club (Stockton), and probably others. Stockton has a public 9-hole golf course now that the Port of Stockton has taken over the Navy’s Rough And Ready Island. Another public golf course in Stockton is just over a mile from Village West Marina (take a hike, cadge a ride, or call a taxi). Two golf courses are in the works north of Stockton on Eight Mile Road, probably a couple miles from Paradise Point Marina. There’s an 18-hole golf course on Bethel Island, probably a mile from the nearest marina. There is a nice golf course very near Freeport Marina, which is of course located in Freeport. The Ryde Hotel has a small nine-hole golf course, and at times even features night golf. The Ryde Hotel has a guest dock. If you visit the Delta and have your wheels, finding a handy course to play should be no problem at all.


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