Visit Central Valley / Stanislaus County

What’s a good weekend trip from the Bay Area?

Drive out to Stanislaus County and explore the historic towns of Oakdale, Knight’s Ferry, and Murphys. From San Francisco and the Bay Area, you’ll pass through beautiful almond farms, where you can stop at one of the many roadside fruit stands to pick up everything currently in season. Using Oakdale as your base, head to the following nearby towns:

Oakdale - Known as the Cowboy Capital of the World, Oakdale is home to the Cowboy Museum, the Oakdale Rodeo, and the Oakdale History Museum. Along with its wonderful historic spots, Oakdale boasts three local breweries along with a wide variety of restaurants. Stay with us at the Holiday Inn Express Oakdale - a great place to rest and relax after a day of adventuring.

Knight’s Ferry - a small town just east of Oakdale, Knight’s Ferry offers wonderful hiking, access to the Stanislaus River for fishing, swimming, rafting , and kayaking, along with a chance to check out the longest covered bridge west of the Mississippi. The bridge, which is 330 feet long, is the perfect backdrop of a former gold rush town.

Murphys - a scenic 45 minute drive along Highway 4 brings you to Murphy’s, a beautiful town nestled in the Sierra Nevada mountains and boasting over 20 wineries to discover.

What are some under the radar wineries near the Bay Area? Near Oakdale, there are quite a few wineries to check out. We aren’t partial to any of them and think they’re all fantastic! Some ideas include:

McManis Family Vineyards (https://www.mcmanisfamilyvineyards.com/)

Lucca Winery (https://luccawinery.com/)

E&J Gallo Winery (https://www.gallo.com/)

Liberty Creek Wines (https://www.libertycreekwine.com/)

In the town of Lodi, there are dozens of wineries - check out the list of options here (https://www.visitlodi.com/wineries/)

In the town of Murphys, there are plenty of great wineries to make a great day trip from Oakdale - (https://visitmurphys.com/)

Where can I see almond blossoms?

Come to Oakdale! The Cowboy Capital of the World is also home to acres and acres of almond farms. Almond trees usually blossom between February and March, making early spring the best time to take a road trip out to see the blooms! Stop by the Oakdale Visitors Center to learn what backroads will give you the best views.

Where can I go cherry picking near the Bay Area?

Dutch Hollow Farms, in nearby Modesto, is a local favorite! Just a few miles from Oakdale, the Farm has a lovely seasonal pumpkin patch!

Can I visit an almond orchard near the Bay Area?

Yes! The Vintage Bucket is a U-Pick farm that has a few almond trees and other produce trees that you can visit and actually pick your own produce! http://www.thevintagebucket.com/index.html

Where can I see a rodeo in California?

Every year in April, the Oakdale Rodeo and its fans take over the town, with a parade, various events at the Rodeo grounds and plenty of opportunities to see and meet real cowboys! Check out the events section of the Oakdale Rodeo here for more information (http://oakdalerodeo.com/)

Where can I go fishing near the Bay Area?

You can go fishing in any of the lakes located just a short drive away from Oakdale, Tulloch Lake, Don Pedro Lake, Woodward Reservoir, and even Pinecrest Lake. You can also fish in the Stanislaus River at any of the park areas along the river.

What casinos can I visit near the Bay Area?

Stop in Oakdale on your way up to Chicken Ranch Casino (https://chickenranchcasino.com/) or Black Oak Casino (https://www.blackoakcasino.com/), which are both less than an hour away from Oakdale.

Where can I go boating near the Bay Area?

The Stanislaus River, which flows through Oakdale, is a wonderful place to go river rafting or just enjoy a nice picnic along the riverfront. From the Stanislaus river website, “The Stanislaus River is a 65-mile long waterway that flows from the Sierra Nevada Foothills to the San Joaquin River in the Eastern part of the Central Valley of Northern California. The Stanislaus River serves as a recreational site for all types: family friendly rafting trips can be found on the water in Knights Ferry and Oakdale, and adventure seekers can find world-class whitewater rafting trips on the North Fork of the Stanislaus. The Stanislaus River also offers great areas to hike, an extensive park system that is free to the public, amazing flora and fauna, as well as a variety of areas to fish in.” Get more details at https://stanislausriver.com/

Additionally, just a short 10 mile drive from Oakdale is Woodward Reservoir. With over 23 miles of shoreline and jet ski and boat rentals, along with camping sites, Woodward Reservoir is a perfect weekend getaway. (http://www.stancountyparks.com/woodward-reservoir/)

If that isn’t enough, Oakdale has 4 more lakes within 30 mins to an hour away for you to enjoy!

Lake Tulloch Campground and Marina (30 mins away) offers public access to Lake Tulloch with a 5 lane launch ramp, 21 lakefront camping sites, 10 lakefront cabins and over 75 general sites. It also has a general store and restaurant open during the spring summer and early fall.

New Melones Reservoir( 1 hour away) offers luxury houseboat rentals, as well as, ski boat, fishing boat, patio boat, and wakeboard rentals. It has a complete marina store offering beer & wine, resort wear, and everything you need for a fantastic houseboat vacation. It also offers marine and houseboat repair services

“The Lake more than 14 million people have visited since 1971. With 160 miles of shoreline and nearly 13,000 acre-feet of surface area (at maximum lake level), visitors can enjoy boating, fishing, water sports, swimming and camping. One of the highlights of the year is the annual fireworks show over the lake celebrating the Fourth of July. Don Pedro Recreation Agency offers campsites at three campgrounds: Fleming Meadows and Blue Oaks located on the west shore, and Moccasin Point located on the east shore. It has 2 Marinas Boat Launch Ramps for you to put your own boat in the lake!

Pinecrest Lake - 1 hour