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Staycationing: Summer fun on the Delta

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Posted: Tuesday, May 22, 2012 8:48 am | Updated: 4:38 pm, Wed May 23, 2012.

Do you want to get away? For how long — a weekend, a week? Will you be able to afford a nice vacation on a budget? What activities do you like to do-- fishing, boating, or just generally enjoying the outdoors?

Where should you go?

The Delta, of course!

Located just 20 miles west of Lodi spanning multiple counties both north and south, the California Delta is the unique home to a whole world of resort areas absolutely itching for summertime.

Every year between the months of May and October, the Delta comes alive with people from all over the United States ready to enjoy the many activities it has to offer, the beautiful scenery, the rich history, and the laid back atmosphere. Kicking off the season each year with the annual Delta Loop Festival on Cinco de Mayo, the fun doesn’t stop until the weather changes in the Fall. Even then, the fun just goes indoors!

The Delta has a plethora of amenities to offer. Fine dining establishments are nestled away in tiny historic towns, also lining the river’s edge; these restaurants offer gorgeous views, exquisite meals, and outstanding service. Owners and operators are utterly hospitable, making you feel like a regular even if it is the first time you have tried their fare. Most serve no-frills food: steak and potatoes with seasonal vegetables, hamburgers and french fries, and the like; though when available, seafood should always be your first choice. Try the Crawdad Po’Boy at Isleton Joe’s, it’s a little taste of Delta heaven! Or, go for Two-For-One Lobsters at Giusti’s on Wednesday nights. It’s the Delta’s oldest established restaurant and bar, where you can eat family style food four generations in the making.

To really get the resort vibes going, expert bartenders offer their services in mixology. Tropical drinks are written up on chalkboards above nautically decorated bars; Mai-Tais, Pina Coladas and Delta Breezes are just waiting to be enjoyed while listening to Jimmy Buffett’s “It’s Five o’Clock Somewhere.” At many places, al fresco dining is available-- where you can watch the boats go by or the sunset over the river virtually every evening.

On Friday and Saturday nights, local restaurants come alive with music, dancing and fun. From Cool Cabaret at the Spindrift Restaurant, to W.A.R. in concert at Joe’s Sports Bar — the Delta Loop is just one of your many destinations for a rocking good time. Events like Al’s Chili Cook Off, Tony’s Place’s Bordello Ball, and Rio Vista’s Bass Derby are all annual festivities that locals and out-of-towners alike look forward to. Plus, between the pool tables, shuffleboard, dice and poker rooms, you can always find an open game to join.

Whether you’re a family with small children or a retiree, the Delta offers a little something for everyone. Tent camping, Recreational Vehicle parking spaces with full hookups and miniature luxury cabins are all fantastic getaway options. The river’s edges are lined with shady oak trees and carpeted with plush grass, making them the perfect place to park yourself when the valley gets too hot.

Fisherman can spend their days on the water catching everything from Striper to Sturgeon; friendly bait shop owners are happy to direct you to the best places on the river and recommend the type of bait you should use. If fishing isn’t your thing, hit the water for some skiing, wakeboarding, tubing, kayaking, or paddleboarding-- rentals are available at many places around the Delta for everything from boats to equipment.

When you’re on the river, you feel so much farther away from home than you really are. It’s almost as if life has a slower pace out there-- unhurried and fun, like remnants of times gone by.

So pack up your camping gear, kayaks, kids-- heck, pack up your dog!-- and drive the twenty-five minutes to your Delta destination of choice. Whether you stay a weekend or a week, you’ll feel rejuvenated when you leave.

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