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10 Things to do in the Delta

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Posted: Friday, April 10, 2009 10:00 pm

Delta-inspired art fills independent galleries

The beautiful sunsets and lush waterways make visitors love the Delta. But for artists who live on in the area, the river is inspiration. From Isleton to Locke, there are galleries filled with local art that celebrate nature and the area.

Here are a few places to view art on the river:

The Ning Hou Fine Art Gallery, 13964 Main St. in Locke.

Down By The River Studio Gallery, 13927 Main St. in Locke.

Summer Wind Art Gallery and Stained Glass Studio, 45 Main St. in Isleton.

Walk along the quaint downtowns and you are sure to find art in all forms.

Catch some wind, waves

The Sacramento River Delta offers some of the best sailing conditions in the world - warm fresh water, strong consistent winds, sunshine and a variety of sailing sights and conditions.

Rio Vista's sailing is generally from May through August, although some sail year round. During the high wind season, sailors can usually count on two sessions daily.

The tides run strong in the Delta, so be sure to consult your tide chart and talk with other sailors before going out.

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Sandy Beach located on the north side of the Sacramento River is the most popular windsurfing site.

For lessons, contact Windsurf Diablo (3841 Willow Road, Bethel Island; or Delta Windsurf Company (3729 Sherman Island Road, Isleton;

For information about all aspects of Delta wind and kite surfing, visit

Get Delta historical experience from a canoe

Discover the tranquility of the Delta on a canoe tour with the Delta Natural History Association. A guide will show you a glimpse of the local wildlife, teach about the history of the river and slowly paddle upstream. Trips are $20 a person, and up to 11 people can go on a tour.

The three-mile trip begins with a short course in basic canoeing skills and lasts from two to three hours.

The tours are Saturday and Sundays until May 17, and they will start again in the fall. For more information and to sign up for a paddle, contact the Brannan Island State Recreation Area at (916) 777-7701.

Reel in fish dinner

Whether you're going out for a derby, trolling through a secret cove or sitting on the banks with a pole, the Delta is a great place to fish year round. The Delta is home to Bluegill, readear, three types of bass, Crappie, Bullhead Catfish, Channel Catfish, Shad, steelhead, and Sturgeon, as well as delectable crawdads. Fishing Derbys are held through out the Delta during the winter and spring. Any of the sloughs or coves are good fishing spots. Throw out a line, and if you don't' get a hit within a half hour, move on. For a weekly fishing report, visit

Get relaxed: Rent a houseboat

There's little that is more relaxing than vacationing in a houseboat as it drifts along the Delta. Take in the scenery, barbecue on the patio, fish off the roof, nap under the warm sun - and don't worry about a thing. If you decide you want a little action, you can have that, too. Tow jet skis and ride to one of the many marinas and restaurants or stop for a weekend party at Lost Isle. Make plans to meet up with boating friends and spend a day wake boarding, water skiing and enjoying the fun. Of course, after all the festivities, you can just relax in your humble floating abode while others pack up and head home.

There are several places to rent boats on the Delta. For a list with information, visit

Drive the scenic Delta Loop

The Delta Loop is a 10-mile scenic drive along the Mokelumne and Delta rivers. It offers something for every kind of visitor, from those pausing to photograph birds to those wanting to enjoy a cocktail and burger on a riverfront balcony. From Lodi, take Highway 12 West and turn right on Brannon Island Road. Stop at one of the many restaurants along the way, including The Shoals Café, Happy Harbor Café, Lighthouse Dining and Bar, Moore's Riverboat and Spindrift Restaurant. It's best to call before you go, as many restaurants close until summer or only keep weekend hours.

Let loose at Lost Isle party hub

Lost Isle, closest to the intersection of highways 4 and 5, is the ultimate party spot of the Delta. Wet T-shirt contests, trading Mardi Gras beads for a flash, bikini contests and body-paint contests are regular events. Saturdays are filled with barbecues, picnics and lots of company. The back side of the island offers quiet trails for hiking. This island is only for those 21 and over, and is only accessible by boat.

Here are upcoming events:

May 30-June 1: '80s bikini contest and dance-off

June 7-8: Volleyball tournament and sports rally

June 14-15: Jungle safari painted body contest

June 21-22: Party like a rockstar, tattoo artist specials

June 28-29: Hawaiian luau barbecue and limbo contest

For more information, visit

Longitude and Latitude: N37¼ 59.90', W121¼ 27.00'

Explore historic towns

Whether you fall in love with the Chinese history of Locke, dine on a patio in Walnut Grove or stroll the sleepy Main Street in Isleton, the Delta towns are each unique. In Locke, you will find historic gems, including an old Chinese school and gambling hall turned museum. Isleton's old town offers a look at bygone days as many of the front builds remain intact. In Isleton, find antiques, art and explore the Isleton museum.

Watching the birds

The Delta has become a prime spot for viewing birds, from majestic sandhill cranes to graceful herons. Whether in a car or in a boat, you are sure to see all sorts of wildlife. Ninety-one species of fish and 225 species of birds can be found in the Delta. In recent years, large tracts of land in the Delta have been set aside for wildlife management and protection. While you can see the large birds with the naked eye, it's best to carry a set of binoculars.

Celebrate with pears, crawdads

Delta communities know how to have fun. One way is through its unique festivals that celebrate everything from pears to Spam. Here is information about different Delta festivals:

Courtland Pear Fair

When: July 26 from 9 a.m.-7 p.m.

Where: Courtland is located along the Delta, near Locke.

The pair fair include live music, tastings of Delta wines, a parade featuring pear blossoms and crowning of the queen, children's area, arts and crafts, classic car show and all sorts of foods made from pears.

Rio Vista Bass Festival

When: Oct. 9 through Oct. 11.

The oldest fishing derby on the west coast is free for everyone. Those fishing will compete for winning striped bass and sturgeon. Others can stay on dry land and enjoy live music, arts and crafts and good food.

Isleton Crawdad Festival

When: June 19-21

Celebrate in the tradition of Louisianna-style fun, with crawdads for everyone, at the Isleton Crawdad Festival that draws 50,000 visitors each year. The event has the largest consumption of crawdads outside of Louisiana. Between Antioch and Sacramento on Highway 160, Isleton is the heart of the Delta.

Isleton Spam Festival

Watch contestants cook Spam, carve Spam, dress up in Spam and appoint "Captain Spam" at this annual event.

The festivals are held on historic Main Street in Isleton. Admission is $10. For information, call (916) 777-5880.



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