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Best summer hangouts in 209
WOODWARD1 7-18-11
Personal water craft users, fishermen and swimmers all flock to Woodward Reservoir near Oakdale reached by taking 26 Mile Road off of Highway 120.

Plenty of reservoirs, rivers,

outdoor fun & cool haunts


209 staff

With the month of June coming to a close and temperatures steadily rising into the triple digits here in the valley, summer has finally arrived. We have all began the celebratory binging on television shows and loafing around our living room recliners.

But if you’re looking to mix things up a little bit this summer and maybe collapse down the foot rests of you couch, here are a few spots to check out with friends and family this summer break around the Turlock or Modesto area.

This area of the Northern San Joaquin Valley  is well known for all its agriculture and country farmland. A few places to take a trip out to this summer are the two main rivers that keep said farmland thriving.

Turlock and Modesto are sandwiched between two rivers, the Stanislaus and Merced River, which provide endless opportunities for entertainment.

Take a drive along the winding roads that follow either river up into the foothills and you’re bound to enjoy the journey. Pack a cooler with some snacks and drinks and take the family to any one of the dozens of parks or recreational areas that are situated along the riverbanks.

You can even organize a trip floating down stream or even rafting in higher flow areas towards Knights Ferry. With a few store bought inner tubes and a volunteer to inflate them, it’s incredibly easy to find drop off and pick up points up and down either river, meaning plenty of time to enjoy the cool waters as you float away. Just be sure to bring lots of sunscreen.

Another great few spots to spend your summer are the numerous lakes and reservoirs a short drive to the east of Turlock and Modesto. Turlock Lake, Modesto Reservoir and Woodward Reservoir are all within 30-45 minutes worth of driving to reach from either Turlock or Manteca.

Complete with campsites, boat ramps to bring your own watercraft, plenty of fishing spots and other day use areas around the water’s edge, each one of these three bodies of water would serve as a the perfect way to beat the heat.

Day use parking passes range between $10 to $15 for each location with other permits and passes for camping overnight and use of personal watercraft varying across the board. All prices for Modesto and Woodward can be found at under the parks and recreation section and information for Turlock Lake can be found at under Turlock Lake State Recreation Area.

If you’re looking for something to spend just a few hours doing over the summer, why not catch a ballgame at John Thurman Field in Modesto, home of the Modesto Nuts. With home game a plenty and regular specials happening weekly including thirsty Thursdays or one buck Wednesdays and tickets starting at $7, who doesn’t enjoy spending a night at the ballpark?

If you’re looking for a more cultured way to spend your summer, there are always regular showings at two of the more popular arts centers in the 209.

Gallo Center for the Arts in downtown Modesto provides musical and theatrical entertainment year round to residents in the 209. With titles like the famous Les Miserables to be performed starting July 22 or the hit rock group Kansas performing August 2, Gallo Arts Center will provide a steady stream of entertainment all summer long. For more information on events listed and ticket prices go online to

Meanwhile, Turlock has its very own Carnegie Arts Center in downtown Turlock off N. Broadway. With a host of art exhibits, poetry readings and even art classes for both children and adults, there really is something for everyone’s unique artistic taste. For more information on events and ticket prices check out their website at