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5 Unexpected Things to Do in San Joaquin County

5 Unexpected Things to Do in San Joaquin County

Here's your guide to the Central Valley's San Joaquin County, the "Fruit Basket of the World."


4 min read

September 24, 2022

Famous for its high-tech agricultural industry, San Joaquin County is the fruit basket of the state. Sauntering around the farmer's markets, you’ll get a glimpse of the county’s world-ranking productivity in agriculture. With mass production of about 11 percent of the entire nation’s farming, even metropolitan cities such as Lodi, Stockton, and Tracy are brimming with pristine nature capable of inspiring a newfound appreciation for nature. As you visit the region, the surprising wealth of the green stretches, copious farm-to-table festivals, and charming landmarks will leave you in awe.

Where is San Joaquin County?

Just east of the densely populated San Francisco Bay Area, lodged in Northern California’s Central Valley, you’ll find San Joaquin County. Surrounded by a range of Diablo low mountains, with its Altamont Pass, the county is separated from the Bay Area and is home to its namesake–the San Joaquin river. 

Riches and Landmarks

The middle fork of the San Joaquin River is a crop out of a fairy tale story.

San Joaquin County offers all of the comforts of urban cities, from shopping destinations to fine-dining restaurants, in addition to sprawling farmlands and green landscapes. Large malls, cozy shopping centers, and vintage boutiques are nestled throughout the county but equally interspersed with science and history museums to satisfy every desire and mood. After a full day of exploring this family-friendly destination in the central valley, indulge in one of the county’s many eateries offering the best in brunch, steak, and even seafood.

1. Haggin Museum

Location: 201 N Pershing Ave, Stockton, CA 95203.

Aside from its natural prosperity and magnificence, San Joaquin, C.A., has old arteries pumping through colorful canvases hanging on the walls of the Haggin Museum. Exhibiting sculptures, landscapes, and various interpretations by European painters and artists, the building has been home to extensive collections of displays since 1931. With its most valuable exhibition being the portrayal of the architecture of the establishment itself, this exquisite museum draws in art enthusiasts from across the country. 

2. Wat Dhammararam Buddhist Temple

Print out the tour guide from their official website, to walk you through the history and the many stages of Buddha’s life.

Location: Stockton, California 95201.

Built by Cambodian refugees, this temple is a unique landmark of the central valley, as well as an active house of worship. With over 90 scintillating artifacts bearing varnished colors and jewel-encrusted surfaces, the park is an indisputable homage and celebration of the life of the Cambodian Budhha. The beautiful grounds of the temple make for a wonderful place for a tranquil evening stroll. We recommend visiting during the Cambodian New Year Celebration in April for the most memorable experience. 

The Weather and The Outdoors

Picture this: the sweet melodic scents of strawberries, blueberries, and figs waft into your quarters, carried by the summer breeze. Embrace the tantalizing hues of summer squash and tomatoes, as they evoke memories of delectable crostini and farm-fresh brunch meals. All this and more is possible thanks to San Joaquin County’s year-round warm weather. Take advantage of the lasting sun with a variety of fun outdoor activities or go on a tour to learn about the region. There are a rich variety of ways to do this, such as a narrated boat cruise around the Port of Stockton, topped off with an open-air concert or picnic in the park - so there’s never a dull moment. 

3. Micke Grove Regional Park

The Japanese garden in Micke Grove Regional Park was designed by the landscape architect Nagao Sakurai.

Location: 11793 N. Micke Grove Rd., Lodi, CA 95240.

If there's one destination that pushes diversity to a new level, it is San Joaquin County, California. Not necessarily on a cultural scale, but on a natural one, San Joaquin county is the definition of wealth. Meander across the arched bridges and the cherry blossoms of Micke Grove Regional Park’s Japanese garden. Splash around the Wortley Lake fountain, and pass by the Funtown for a day of pleasant activities. Interact with nature in the Micke Grove Zoo where a diverse group of 51 different species of animals, both exotic and native, are preserved under the persuasion of quality care.

4. The Annual Asparagus Festival

With merciful weather year-round, asparagus is one of the capital agricultural assets of the county.

An annual Asparagus Festival pays homage to the county’s designation as the “breadbasket of the world”.  Being the largest celebration of its kind in the American West, the festival features live entertainment, carnival games, and a recipe contest. Enjoy numerous culinary delights, ranging from savory dishes like asparagus pasta and asparagus lumpia to sweeter treats such as asparagus ice cream and asparagus churros - for adventurous souls.

5. San Joaquin River Trail

The San Joaquin River Trail is arguably one of the most divine trails to trek in the state.

Location: Millerton Lake State Recreation Area, California 93626.
Difficulty: Hard
Time: 6h 20min
Distance: 14.1miles
Elevation: 736m
Route type: Point to Point
Pets: Not allowed

Located right in the center of the state, San Joaquin County’s valleys have a unique topography. The San Joaquin river flows along the high Sierra Nevada, the longest of the central California rivers, scaling up to northern California and into the Pacific Ocean. Popular for its unique weather patterns, this river is one of California’s primer windsurfing hotspots.

On the list of can’t-miss trails of the valley, the San Joaquin River Trail is definitely in the top five. Lounge in the picturesque nature of greenery on this unique trail while taking in a captivating view of the snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevada. Take on a challenging hiking course, rocky nature, and wildlife, as the wildflowers tug on your footsteps. Amble into the beauty of the scenic views, bathe in the evergreen forests, and float in the calmness of the lakes. Having fun needs no effort when you have the perfect setting. After the refreshing hike, have a nice camp around the lake and seal the day with stargazing in a clear night’s sky.

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