Welcome to San Joaquin Valley

The tiny towns scattering the region retain their Main St Americana appeal while slowly embracing the influence of the Latino labor force.

This is a place of seismic, often contentious, development. Arrivals from the coastal cities have resulted in unchecked sprawl. What were once actual ranches and vineyards are now nostalgically named developments: a big-box shopping complex named Indian Ranch, a tidy row of McMansions named Vineyard Estates. More green lawns appear as the irrigation systems drain dry. Water rights is the issue on everyone's minds.

Top experiences in San Joaquin Valley

Travel guides

Starting at $38.99

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San Joaquin Valley activities

$159 Day Trips & Excursions

Yosemite in a Day Tour from San Francisco

Your small-group tour, limited to 15 participants to allow for a more personalized experience, begins with a pickup at selected hotels or in front of the Parc 55 Hotel. Heading across the San Francisco Bay Bridge by minivan, take in the views of San Francisco, Alcatraz, and the Golden Gate Bridge. Continuing on through the San Joaquin Valley, you're driven past fruit and nut orchards. After making a quick stop for snacks, you'll arrive in the Sierra Nevada foothills and California Gold Country. Entering Yosemite National Park via historical Groveland, spend time (weather conditions permitting) walking among Yosemite’s giant sequoias — the largest of these ancient redwood trees spans more than 40 feet (12 meters) in diameter at its base and lives to at least 3,000 years old.After the 1-mile hike, it's onward to Yosemite Valley via Tunnel View, a vista point that includes views of Bridalveil Fall, El Capitan, and Half Dome. From here it's a short drive to these sights. Marvel at 'El Cap,' considered the world's largest exposed piece of granite, which rises 4,000 feet (1,219 meters) above the valley floor. Search for rock climbers ascending the vertical wall before gazing up at nearby Half Dome and Yosemite Falls.Spend your free time for lunch (own expense), hike along nature trails, relax at the base of Yosemite Falls, or visit Yosemite Village. The return journey includes another snack stop in the Central Valley before your 14-hour tour ends with hotel drop-off in San Francisco.

$269 Multi-day & Extended Tours

Yosemite National Park 2-Day Tour, Lodging from San Francisco

Your 2-day Yosemite tour begins with a scenic drive from San Francisco, passing through San Joaquin Valley along the way. On arrival at Yosemite National Park, your first experience will be hiking to the Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias and having your breath taken away by their size and majesty. This is an unguided and strenuous hike for some so consult with your guide about taking it. Next, your guided tour visits Yosemite's famous landmarks including El Capitan, Yosemite Falls, Half Dome and the Tunnel View. In addition to offering amazing scenery, Yosemite is home to diverse wildlife such as golden eagles, black-tailed deer, marmots and even black bears – hopefully you'll be lucky enough to spot them during your visit. After your semi-guided tour, enjoy free time to further explore Yosemite at your own pace. There are numerous activities for all interests - go rafting down the Merced River, try out some rock climbing on Yosemite's granite cliffs, rent bikes, or simply relax on an open tram tour of Yosemite Valley (not included in tour price). Then, when the tour buses depart for the evening, you can sit back, relax and watch the sun set over Yosemite. Choose from 2 different styles of accommodation to suit your budget for your overnight stay in Yosemite. Settle in at the comfortable Yosemite View Lodge or enjoy convenience and scenic location of Yosemite Valley Lodge. On day 2, after having enjoyed a morning of free time, rejoin your tour group for the afternoon’s guided tour. You’ll be departing Yosemite in the late afternoon, arriving back in San Francisco by nightfall. Drop off at your San Francisco hotel is included.

$49.99 Food, Wine & Nightlife

California Wine Tasting Pass

Use your membership card for VIP discounts at more than 200 wineries and wine bars throughout California. Simply show up at most wineries right away and show your priority wine pass to begin receiving the benefits. This package will pay for itself in savings after your first winery. (Some wineries require reservations in advance.)Your pass includes a concierge service to help you select from top wineries and make your tasting experience easy and affordable without the stress of deciding where and when to go. Select from listed wineries in Napa, Sonoma, San Francisco Bay Area, Monterey, Santa Barbara, Malibu, San Diego, and more throughout the year.In addition, get discounts on hotel stays and transportation, activities such as balloon tours, and wine purchases.

$270.17 Outdoor Activities

2 Day, 1 Night Kayak Adventure & Camp Out

A kayaking (or canoe) journey through “America’s Amazon,” the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta.  Our experienced guides will lead you on a fun-filled journey through a diverse habitat with many treasures to discover along the way.Guests will experience two full days on the water exploring the majestic Mobile-Tensaw Delta.  Day 1:  Arrive, shuttle to launch site, a full day on the water (with lunch & snacks), arrive back at campground, campfire cookout, hot showers, campout for the night.  Day 2:  Breakfast, shuttle to launch site, a full day on the water (with lunch & snacks), arrive back at campground, opportunity for self exploration / free time at the campground, departure.This tour includes:  Transportation to and from launch sites, all necessary paddling gear, meals listed above, along with drinks and snacks throughout the tour.  Private campsites for your group are provided and setup with tents at our river side campground.  The campground offers bath house with hot showers, general store and other amenities.  Guests must bring their own pillow and sleeping bag or these items can be provided at an additional charge.  Tent camping can also be upgraded to RV camping at an additional cost.Airport or hotel pickup is available upon request.We believe in a Leave No Trace policy, in educating and preserving these amazing jewels for future generations.

$20 Outdoor Activities

Holly Jolly Hunt - Stockton, CA

This outdoor activity takes place in the downtown or urban area of your city. Using a smartphone, you will download an app to help you play the game. You will also be texting with a remote survival guide while you play the game. You'll be given a list of holiday themed items on the app. You will need to walk around the area and find these items around the city and take a photo through the app to get points. Your team will also be given holiday themed challenges or trivia questions to complete as well. You will be rewarded for completing the challenges and trivia questions with points. You'll be able to see your score on the leaderboard compared to others to see how you compare!

$10 Tours & Sightseeing

Operation City Quest Scavenger Hunt - Fresno, CA

Using your smartphone, you'll be given nearly 150 objects to find during your scavenger hunt. You'll then wander throughout the downtown area searching for the items. Once you've found the object, you'll send a photo in to score points. Along the way, you will perform challenges and answer trivia questions from your remote guide for even more points.You'll have 15+ categories of objects you can find in this city walk, with each object varying in points depending on the difficulty. Don't worry, you won't be alone. You'll have a remote guide that will be texting you during your game if you need help or have a question. They will also encourage you and give bonus points at the end depending on how funny or creative your photos are!The objective of the game is to have fun, rank #1 on the leaderboard, and try to get as many points as possible by finding all of the objects! 

San Joaquin Valley in detail