"Stockton--true heart of the San Joaquin Delta" Top 5 Page for this destination Stockton by atufft

Stockton Travel Guide: 65 reviews and 115 photos

Stockon is trying to renew itself.

I have a home on the Smith Canal waterfront. This is the only place in the San Francisco Bay Area where a middle class person can own a house with a dock on deep water, and so we live in something of a quiet backwater. Stockton--an agricultural-industrial city and place where the tractor was invented--has a fine old gas lamp downtown that is under redevelopment minutes from our home. Our network of waterways, once areas for development landfill, are getting cleaned up. Trying to escape a century or more of toxic waterways and blighted waterfront, Stockton is beginning to recognize its potential as a Venice of the Delta region. Generally, a huge distributional hub, the city itself is short on tourist attractions. But, it is a city that is great to live in because housing prices are reasonable, traffic hassles few, and because its centrally located to all parts of California. Minutes from Delta water ski action, Stockton is 45 minutes from the capital at Sacramento, 1-1/2 hours from San Francisco and Bay Area, just 3 hrs from Yosemite and ski country, and a quick 6 hours from LA.

Stockton Urban Waterways are being cleaned up

The Smith Canal is a narrow waterway that extends off the San Joaquin River near the Port of Stockton. This area is subject to twice daily tidal action, so despite the pollution, the waterway does tend to flush itself out. Our property has a large tree where hawks nest every year. Crowds of New York residents flock to observe one or two hawks in central park while we benefit from an urban pair that remind us by their cry that they own the skies. Lately, it seems that the West Nile Virus has killed off the crows that used to harrass the hawks, sometimes spoiling their mating season. For most people the waterway is for recreational navigation. But, Friends of the Smith Canal, a neighborhood alliance, and Delta Keepers, an environmental organization watchdog, have nudged the city and county into taking more responsibility for making the urban waterways a clean habitat for wildlife. Stormdrain pollution from the urban core remains a major problem, as does illegal garbage dumping by some Stockton residents along the levees. We irrigate our property, but would avoid eating the fish or swimming in the water. Even so, wildlife thrive along the waterway, protected by California's Fish & Game, and waterways are not unlike those found within any metropolitan region of the world.

The Interesting History of Stockton

Most California residents drive past Stockton on I-5 on their way through to Sacramento or LA. Those in San Francisco see the city on the map and consider it part of the hick central valley. But, Stockton was at one time the fourth largest city in the state, after San Francisco, Sacramento, and Oakland. The origins of the city were as a port of departure to the southern gold mines in the motherlode. So, in that sense Stockton was a sister city of sorts for Sacramento, but on the San Joaquin River. Downtown, there is a considerable heritage of fine old Victorian homes and brick highrise buildings that look out upon the water.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Venice of the Delta region, Stockton is centrally located with easy access to both N & S Ca.
  • Cons:The city is largely a truck stop not a tourist attraction
  • In a nutshell:Stockton's history will revive it in urban renewal
  • Last visit to Stockton: Feb 2004
  • Intro Updated Dec 28, 2007
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Reviews (44)

Comments (29)

  • wise23girl's Profile Photo
    Feb 29, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    Well I gave David the truck info..now I am here in Stokton while I have an earky morn "cuppa"

    Oh I love asparagus...and your home looks beautiful...David can drive a tractor...LOL

    We went on the BART to Walnut Creek Oakland from davids memory...

  • travelgourmet's Profile Photo
    Jan 5, 2011 at 12:29 AM

    Maybe many don't stop in Stockton but I have. Went to the Asian Farmer's Market in the downton area. Have to make it to the Asparagus Festival on Friday April 15. Good food tips.

  • Pawtuxet's Profile Photo
    Oct 20, 2009 at 6:46 AM

    What a delightful page!Love your text...pics are fun. Dali, the sailing pup is adorable. Town looks like I'd have lots to enjoy. Wonder why I haven't found you before.

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    May 18, 2009 at 8:29 PM

    What a wonderful hometown. The Asparagas Festival is Stockton's claim to fame looks hysterical, but the Bob Hope theatre looks very charming. Thanks for the lovely VT tour!

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Apr 7, 2009 at 12:47 PM

    Your teacher knowledge and description of thing to do and see comes through. I am always impressed with your viewpoints. I was wondering if the canal is ready for a trip out to sea?

  • Camping_Girl's Profile Photo
    Nov 8, 2008 at 11:37 PM

    A great, indepth view of your home town - how can you NOT have a top 5 star for this page?

  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo
    Aug 5, 2008 at 8:53 PM

    great tips!

  • Ewingjr98's Profile Photo
    Jun 10, 2008 at 12:27 PM

    Alan - Hope the fires up there aren't in your neighborhood. Joe

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    May 3, 2008 at 9:48 PM

    It's a great place to visit I'm sure!

  • ATXtraveler's Profile Photo
    Mar 8, 2008 at 6:28 PM

    Man I love going to the Asparagus Festival after cutting down a few trees!

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