of interest below can be reached by driving or by boat. Some of the
locations require advance notice for use of guest docks. We suggest
you call ahead to confirm dock space or other details. We limit
the number of photos on this page so it will load quickly for you. For
photos of Historic Delta cities and stops, go to the Delta Photos page.
1. RIO VISTA The town of
Rio Vista was established in 1858,
quickly becoming a convenient mid-way point for mariners and
gold miners traveling between the busy shipping ports of Sac-ramento and San Francisco. Still the largest town in this area of the Delta, with 3,800 full time residents, one can find all services
Rio Vista. Fishing, farming, water sports & industrial business proves Rio
Vista as an important town for the Delta. Still existing are the peaceful
19th century tree lined streets with beautiful Victorian and California
ranch style homes. Rio Vista has two museums, one focusing on the town, one
on development of the Delta via a look at the history of Dredges and levee
building. Must see for Rio Vista: Foster’s Big Horn Restaurant, Dutra
Dredge Museum, Rio Vista Museum. Nice stops: Shop for Antiques & art on Main
Street; food & Misc at Lira’s Market.
2. RIO VISTA FERRY. Also
called the “Real McCoy Ferry“ Cashe Slough Ferry and Ryer Island
Ferry depending on who you ask!
This ferry was opened in 1945 to service the land route
between Sacramento and Delta area towns. It operates
year round, 24 hours per day, except for 20-minute lunch and dinner breaks. It can handle any size RV or 5th-Wheel combination, taking up to 6 vehicles per ride. This is also a fun ride for bicyclists. The trip across the
Sacramento River to/from Ryer Island takes about 4
minutes, shore to shore, using the powerful diesel engines. Best of all, the ferry ride is a unique experience
that’s FREE! Yes, there are still “free rides” in California!
3. SNUG HARBOR
"2001 Best Small Park" by the California Travel Park Association, Snug
Harbor is a Marina & RV resort that features Cape Cod style
RV rentals. Snug Harbor started out as a 16+ acre
natural island called "Martins Island" on Steamboat Slough, before there were levees and farming in
the area. Travelers in steamboats to hand-made rafts, from Sacramento
to San Francisco, would cruise by Snug Harbor's shores, and perhaps some
would stop to rest. Captain's written logs from piloting the
steamboats like the Delta King and Queen have noted the island and the sighting of "small
campfires" along the shores even before the turn of the century. In
the early 1900's the land was named "Martin's Island" and over time became
a hub of fishing and canning in the early Delta levee days. In the
1940's the Martin family allowed the Army Corps of Engineers to
deposit dredged sands at the north end of the island, thereby forming the
"land bridge" to make it a peninsula instead. Once the island
was connected to Ryer Island, it became known as "Snug Harbor" for the well
protected back cove created by the peninsula. The Martins sold off
half the peninsula in parcels where family homes could be built, and retained
the south half of the peninsula for a resort. 1949 marked the first
official record of permits for the RV park and marina in Solano County for
this property. In the 1960's the resort
was sold by the Martin family. The Golden Gate Dredge was moved to
Snug Harbor in the early 1980's. This dredge helped dig out the
downtown Napa River area in the late 1890's, when it was called the Tulle
Queen. It helped to build the footings for the Golden Gate Bridge, so
was renamed by its owners for its part in the beautiful bridge construction.
The dredge then became a popular floating restaurant in the delta, before
being moved to Snug Harbor. Unfortunately, due to the condition of the
dredge, it was demolished at Snug Harbor, but many of the tools, railings,
lights and other artifacts from the historic vessel can be seen onsite at
In 1997 Snug Harbor was purchased by new owners who have meticulously
upgraded and renewed this historic family Delta resort. The old
cannery buildings have been replaced with waterfront RV sites,
waterfront rental cabins called "Snuggle Inns"
Marina facilities, but the quaint ambiance of a peaceful Delta hide-away
remains. Still excellent for fishing, Snug Harbor and Steamboat Slough have
become a favorite destination for water-sports families, artists and
writers, as the more recent news articles indicate. Relax under the shade trees in a hammock and watch the world go by.
Snug Harbor’s motto: “There are no strangers here. Only family, old friends, and newly-found friends”
Call for information and reservations: (916) 775-1455
4. J-MAC FERRY Another fun,
free ferry ride takes you across the pretty waters of historic Steamboat Slough. J-MAC ferry also runs year round. Guided by cables, the cruise across takes
all of 3 minutes usually. Ferry’s have been serving the Delta for over 75
years, but the J-Mac is the newest, Built in 1966. This ferry has rarely
been “down”, except for times of flooding in the area. While you’re riding the ferry, you might run into
some of the colorful local folks, who usually meet & chat, to find out the
latest scoop from the friendly ferry operators. One of the ferry operators
likes to sing as he traverses the waterway, so don’t be surprised if you
hear opera or vocals above the din of the ferry motor. Steamboat Slough is a
fairly wide waterway, with mature trees lining the banks. Early morning
boaters and land explorers can watch the abundant variety of animal &
fowl species in this area...River Otter, Beaver, Muskrats, Hawks, Blue Heron, White Cranes are seen in Steamboat Slough.. Fish include Black &
Stripped Bass, Bluegill, Catfish and other species.
5. GRAND ISLAND MANSION.
This beautiful & huge older
home has long been a great spot for Sunday Brunch for folks
“in the know” in the Delta. Once the area’s largest private
home, built in 1918, it has had many interesting visitors and
parties over the years. The mansion is four stories high and has 58 rooms. Privately owned, it is available for use for weddings and receptions. The mansion and setting have been used for movies and magazine photos, and some famous folks have spent time there. Steamboat Slough continues to be a favored
route between the Ports of Sacramento and San Francisco,
with Sunday brunch here a special treat. Call for reservations: (916) 776-1318
6. COURTLAND. An adorable
little town which bloomed off the banks of the Sacramento River as recreational boaters and commercial fishermen increased in the Delta. The town offers well manicured, tree lined streets, cute older homes surrounded by white picket fences, children playing ball in the streets with
little traffic to interrupt the games. The many churches say this town is a great place for families to live or visit. Museum, historical society, stores, library, restaurants and nearby marinas make this town a nice stop to tour, particularly towards the end of July for their annual “Pear Fair” Guest dockage is available at the Courtland Docks, and from there you can walk to all restaurants, stores, and other services you might need.
Courtland Docks (916)775-1172 You might also want to set a
spell and watch the PaintersVille bridge, just south of Courtland.
This bridge has shown up many times in movies, and the mechanics is
interesting to watch as it opens up for larger boats traveling north to
7. LOCKE. First built in
1912 as a thriving Chinese encampment, Locke burned down completely in 1915.
Some of the wood structures were salvaged and the town was rebuilt in 1915.
Locke is a very interesting stop, with some buildings listed with the
National Register of Historic Places. Make sure to visit the small
shops, and the well-known & loved restaurant “Al-the Wops” if you like
hearty meat & potatoes meals. Locke is a very small town, about two blocks
long, located on the land-side of the levee, east side of the Sacramento
just one mile north of Walnut Grove. You can walk to Locke from Walnut
Grove, since it’s so close. If you are touring the Delta by boat, new public
guest docks at Walnut Grove are a good option. Alternatively, the
Boathouse Marina has guest docks available for a fee.
8. WALNUT GROVE This
town occupies both sides of the
Sacramento River. Walnut Grove was established in 1851, and is home to many of the local farming families. Particularly on the west bank of the river, one can view stately old homes reminiscent of southern mansions and a simpler way of life. The town has markets,
restaurants, gas, hotels, deli, boat & auto repair, post office,
shops, museum, banks, churches, and marinas. If you idly walk down the main
street on the east side of the river, chances are one of the shop keepers
will step out and offer you the "Walking Tour" of Walnut Grove and happily
spend a few minutes chatting with you about this idyllic river town.
Check out the museum, but call to make sure its open when you’re there. Hwy.
160 cuts through this town and there’s a bridge offering choices of other
land routes to take continuing your tour. By water, one can choose Georgiana
Slough, Steamboat Slough or Sacramento River to continue a tour of the
Delta. Steamboat Slough is a preferred route for its peacefulness and shady
9. RYDE A tiny town with
population under 200, this place none-the-less is a favorite Delta stop for
many. Ryde offers visitors a nice hotel, a small golf course, good food, art
gallery, and a small market to pick up the basics. Ryde was established in 1891 and in the 1930’s had many large
canneries along its banks. The Ryde Hotel & restaurant offers visitors a
glimpse of the past with photos and memorabilia. Ryde Hotel & Greens:
10. ISLETON. This small
town of a few hundred permanent residents swells to over 100,000 every
Father’s Day week end for the annual “Crawdad Festival”. This active
town also sponsors a Rodeo and other fun activities. Isleton was
“born” in 1874 with the opening of a general store to sell supplies to the
Gold Miners boating up and down the Sacramento River. Many of the original
“Main Street” buildings remain, with newer additions along the more recent
section of Main Street. Yet Isleton still feels more like a sleepy river
town you’d find in the deep south, along the bayous. The town offers
visitors historical homes and buildings to view along with modern
conveniences like markets, a great bakery, really good restaurants and a
variety of gift shops. A nice hotel sits on Main Street, and nearby are
popular RV camp parks, including Brannon Island State Park. Isleton Chamber
of Commerce: http://www.isletoncoc.org
More Historic Delta stops...If
you want to see more, travel north on Hwy. 160 to Freeport and to downtown
Sacramento. By water, go north on the Old Sacramento River.
Downtown Sacramento is a day
trip in itself, with the train museum, the old Paddle Wheelers for
dining and rides, the preserved historic waterfront buildings and many
interesting shops and restaurants. Businesses,
services listing for the historic Delta region can be printed
out by clicking on the picture to the right to enlarge it.