California State Parks commemorates the 1864 establishment of the first state park in the world. On June 30, 1864, President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill granting 39,000 acres of Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Big Tree Grove to the State of California. Never before had land been set aside to protect its natural state for the public to enjoy. This historic legislation was the beginning of not only the California State Park System, but the national park idea we know today. More information on the 150 birthday celebrations and events CLICK HERE.
Historical Vacation in Old Sacramento
We live so close to Sacramento yet most folks don’t consider visiting for more than a day. However this is a great destination to spend a few days and soak in some great California history. With this being the 150th year of our State Parks, now is the perfect time to venture out to explore a bit more. There are many hotels (Embassy Suites) nearby yet there is a great benefit to staying on the Delta King: you are steeped in history. Below are some suggestions of time honored excursions that will enrich your journey. Go explore!
Delta King Riverboat
A great vacation starts with a centralized home base and none is better than the historical Delta King Riverboat. This 285-foot-long paddlewheel steamboat was built in Stockton California in 1926 after the hull, first two decks and steam engines were built, and shipped to the US, by Glasgow Scottland company, William Denny & Brothers, in 1924. The vessel offered one of the main modes of transportation between San Francisco and Sacramento during the time of 1927 and 1940 (the other being the railroad). Those who made the 10 and half hour trip enjoyed libations, gambling, live jazz music and fine food escaping for a while as the prohibition ruled onshore. You can almost hear their echoes of yesteryear when you visit.
The rich history of this time period stands proudly in the beautiful renovation of this boat, done by the Coyne family, who bought it in 1984. The vessel had been partially submerged in the San Francisco bay and the renovations would take 5 years to complete. The Coyne family has been wonderful stewards of this monarch of the waterways and has preserved the history for us to appreciate today. Staff is extremely accommodating with special acknowledgement made to Alex and Ramon. Wait staff in the restaurants were equally attentive. More on the Delta King history HERE
Today’s amenities include a 5 star made to order breakfast onboard in Pilothouse Restaurant and is the perfect way to start your day. The breakfasts are hearty, delicious and the service is excellent.
Dinner in The Delta Bar & Grill offers some of the best dining in California. Entrees are creative, tasty, and delightful to all the senses. Service is wonderful and you can enjoy outdoor dining along the river which expands your experience. The outdoor veranda also offers amazing appetizers and drinks to unwind or re-energize any time of the day. MORE INFO HERE
Also offered on Saturday evenings is the much acclaimed Suspects Murder Mystery Dinner Theater and more information can be found HERE. Even if you are not spending the night onboard, do go by and check it out. Special events are booked each month so check HERE for updates.
Delta King Riverboat 1000 Front Street Old Sacramento, CA 95814 (916) 444-5464
1920’s Southern Pacific Train Ride
One of the best things about staying on the Delta King is being in the midst of all the Old town activity, everything awaits you a ramp away. Extend your sense of history by catching a first class ride on El Dorado, an observation car pulled a vintage diesel locomotive for a 45 minute scenic ride along the Sacramento River. This 1920s Southern Pacific car has been restored with attention to every detail, the wood and leather harkens back to a time and place of elegance. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO
The train also offers coach cars and open-air gondolas for half the price of the observation car and brings in the historical perspective as well.
Be sure to check availability and times prior to planning your ride HERE as times can be seasonal.
This place is huge and if you enjoy history you can expect to spend a good part of the day here. The 225,000 square feet is packed with 21 restored locomotives and cars including a Pullman sleeping train and a dining car complete with dish settings of the 1920’s era. Throughout the museum you will find historical information on the beginnings of California’s railroads and how this invention changed the course of our state, and our nation. There are plenty of interactive displays and lots of fun things for the little ones, including play centers that encourage hands on activity. Also there are plenty of places to sit and rest which make this a great location for seniors and those with limited mobility. Be sure to study up prior to your trip so you can gain the most from this fantastic train museum. More info HERE and HERE
Be sure to check availability and times prior to planning your trip HERE
Horn Blower River Cruise
It’s great to be out on the water and this is the perfect way to see what is beyond the next bend. Short and sweet with a relatively low cost to match, the history of the river is given by the Captain. This hour long ride takes you past the Sacramento Water Treatment Facility and beyond the I Street Bridge and continues past confluence with the American River. It then circles back and continues beneath the Tower Bridge and along the Air Force Docks.
More information HERE
Rivercat Stadium aka Raley Field
This is home to the Oakland A’s Triple A team and it is a short walk from the Delta King. The field doesn’t seem to have a bad seat in the house and is also used for many other venues including concerts. It is worth the walk over to check out even if you do not stay for an event. The fireworks after games can be seen throughout the area and music also extends beyond the walls. FREE Walk, check website for events. Allow 1 hours from Delta King for r/t walk. More info on the stadium and games HERE
Could this stadium become home to the SF Giants Minor League Club? More info HERE
The Project Bridge and River Walk
As you make your way to or from the stadium, crossing the Project Bridge offers a different perspective of the area. On the stadium side (west side), take the time to walk along the river, read the educational signs on the history of the river and the different birds and other visitors that come and go through the seasons. Picnic tables available and great place to enjoy a bite and relax on the river. Allow 2 hours from the Delta King for the walk, a whole day could be spent here. FREE More info HERE
A good museum filled with enough displays to last you a full day for less than $10 (adults $6, kids 4, under 5 free). Covering everything from the Gold Rush, to lifestyles of earlier settlers, to agriculture as the center of our state, this is a must do. More info HERE
101 I Street, Old Sacramento, CA 95814
This was definitely worth the time and money as it gives a close up view to what happened to the city when it was flooded during 1861-1862. The 45 day flood changed life completely only decades after the Gold Rush (1849) had made this region the center of the state. The flood, reaching as far as Bakersfield, and was 250 miles long and 20-60 miles wide. Thousands of residents died and those left behind were in agreement this would not happen again. To that end they raised close to 2 and half miles of town about 9 feet and that is the focus of the tour. It should be noted that this storm is a reoccurring one and happens approximately every 150 years. Do the math.
More info HERE
There are many ‘one of a kind’ shops, and attractions, throughout this area which will keep you entertained and should be enjoyed at a leisurely pace. You could spend a day testing out the salt water taffy, stop for a drink at O’Mally’s, or checking out the wild and crazy collections at Fun Sock City. Be sure to stop at La Terrazza Restaurant for great authentic Mexican food, live music, and great service, say HI to Victor Diaz & Jose! Old Sacramento offers some spectacular special events including The Gold Rush Days, Mardi Gras, and Pacific Rim Street Festival. More info HERE