Brannan Island Camping: A Guide to the Best Campsites and Activities

Nestled in the heart of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, Brannan Island State Recreation Area offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. This picturesque camping destination boasts stunning waterfront views, an array of outdoor activities, and well-maintained campsites that cater to both RV and tent campers.

Key Takeaways

  • Brannan Island State Recreation Area is a picturesque camping destination in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
  • The park offers well-maintained campsites for both RV and tent camping, as well as a boat launch and marina for water-based activities.
  • With an array of outdoor activities and stunning waterfront views, Brannan Island is the perfect destination for a weekend getaway or longer vacation.

Overview of Brannan Island Camping

Brannan Island State Recreation Area is a popular camping destination located in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The park features over 140 campsites, including standard, tent-only, and RV sites. Visitors can enjoy a variety of recreational activities such as fishing, boating, swimming, and hiking.

The campground is conveniently located near the Sacramento and San Francisco Bay Areas, making it an ideal weekend getaway for families and groups. The park offers a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere, with stunning views of the Delta and nearby islands.

Facilities at the campground include picnic tables, fire rings, showers, and restrooms. There is also a general store where visitors can purchase camping essentials and snacks. The park has a boat launch and dock, making it easy for visitors to explore the Delta’s waterways.

Overall, Brannan Island State Recreation Area is a fantastic camping destination for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and enjoy the great outdoors.

Location and Accessibility

Brannan Island State Recreation Area is a popular camping destination located in the heart of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The park is situated on the west bank of the Sacramento River and offers visitors a chance to enjoy a variety of outdoor activities.

How to Get There

The park is easily accessible by car from the nearby cities of Sacramento and Stockton. Visitors traveling from Sacramento should take I-5 South to the Highway 12 exit and head east towards Rio Vista. From there, follow the signs to the park entrance.

Those traveling from Stockton should take Highway 4 West to the Highway 160 exit and head south towards Rio Vista. From there, follow the signs to the park entrance.

Parking and Public Transport Options

Brannan Island State Recreation Area offers ample parking for visitors. There is a large parking lot located near the park entrance, as well as additional parking areas throughout the park.

Public transportation options to the park are limited, but visitors can take the Delta Breeze bus from Sacramento to Rio Vista, where they can then take a taxi or ride-sharing service to the park. It is recommended that visitors have their own transportation to fully enjoy all that the park has to offer.

Campsite Details

Types of Campsites

Brannan Island State Recreation Area offers a variety of campsites for visitors to choose from. There are 102 standard campsites, 23 tent-only sites, and 6 group campsites. The standard campsites can accommodate tents, trailers, and RVs up to 31 feet in length. The tent-only sites are located in the grassy area near the river, and are ideal for those who prefer a more rustic camping experience. The group campsites can accommodate up to 50 people, and are perfect for large groups or family reunions.

Facilities and Amenities

All campsites at Brannan Island State Recreation Area come equipped with a fire ring and picnic table. Restrooms and hot showers are located throughout the campground for the convenience of visitors. The park also features a marina, boat launch, and fish cleaning station for those who enjoy boating and fishing. Other amenities include a playground, volleyball court, and horseshoe pits. Visitors can purchase firewood and other camping supplies at the park store. Additionally, the park offers a dump station for RVs.

Activities and Attractions

Outdoor Activities

Brannan Island State Recreation Area is a great place for outdoor enthusiasts. There are many activities available for visitors to enjoy, including:

  • Boating: Brannan Island has a boat launch ramp and a marina. Visitors can rent boats, jet skis, and other watercraft from the marina.
  • Fishing: The park is located on the Sacramento River Delta, which is home to a variety of fish species. Visitors can fish for striped bass, catfish, and sturgeon.
  • Hiking: The park has several hiking trails that offer scenic views of the delta. The trails range in difficulty from easy to moderate.
  • Biking: Visitors can bring their bikes and ride on the park’s paved roads or on the nearby Delta Cross Channel bike trail.
  • Swimming: The park has a designated swimming area for visitors to cool off on hot days.

Nearby Attractions

In addition to the activities available at Brannan Island, there are several nearby attractions that visitors can explore:

  • Old Sacramento: Located about 30 minutes away, Old Sacramento is a historic district that features many shops, restaurants, and museums.
  • Lodi Wine Country: Lodi is known for its vineyards and wineries. Visitors can take a tour of a winery, sample local wines, and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
  • Sacramento Zoo: The Sacramento Zoo is home to over 500 animals from around the world. Visitors can see lions, tigers, bears, and many other animals.
  • California State Capitol Museum: The museum is located in downtown Sacramento and features exhibits on California’s history and government. Visitors can take a guided tour of the Capitol building and see the legislative chambers.

Booking and Prices

Reservation Process

To book a campsite at Brannan Island State Recreation Area, visitors can make reservations online or by phone. Reservations can be made up to six months in advance. It is recommended to make reservations early, especially during peak season, to ensure availability.

Visitors can choose from a variety of campsites, including standard, premium, and group sites. Each site has different amenities, such as water and electricity hookups or fire pits. When making a reservation, visitors should select the site that best fits their needs.

Cost and Payment Methods

The cost of a campsite at Brannan Island State Recreation Area varies depending on the type of site and the time of year. Standard sites start at $35 per night, while premium sites can cost up to $50 per night. Group sites are available for $100 per night.

Visitors can pay for their reservations using a credit card or debit card. Cash and checks are not accepted. A non-refundable reservation fee is charged at the time of booking, in addition to the cost of the campsite.

Cancellation policies vary depending on the type of reservation. Visitors should review the cancellation policy carefully before making a reservation.

Rules and Regulations

Camping at Brannan Island State Recreation Area is subject to the following rules and regulations:

  • Campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations are not accepted.
  • The maximum stay is 14 days within a 30-day period.
  • Check-in time is 2:00 p.m. and check-out time is 12:00 p.m.
  • Quiet hours are from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. Please be respectful of other campers.
  • Fires are only allowed in designated fire rings or grills. Please do not leave fires unattended.
  • Pets must be kept on a leash no longer than six feet and under control at all times. Please clean up after your pets.
  • Generators may only be operated between 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.
  • Alcoholic beverages are not allowed outside of campsites.
  • Dumping of gray water or sewage on the ground is strictly prohibited.
  • All vehicles must display a valid camping permit.

Violation of any of these rules and regulations may result in eviction from the park without refund.

Reviews and Ratings

Brannan Island State Recreation Area is a popular camping destination for many people. Visitors have left a variety of reviews and ratings on different platforms, including Google, Yelp, and TripAdvisor.

Overall, the reviews are positive, with many visitors praising the park’s beautiful scenery and well-maintained facilities. The park’s location on the Sacramento Delta is a highlight for many, with visitors enjoying water activities such as boating and fishing.

Some reviewers have noted that the park can get crowded during peak season, but most agree that the park is large enough to accommodate everyone. The park’s staff has also received high praise for their friendliness and helpfulness.

In terms of ratings, Brannan Island State Recreation Area has received an average of 4 out of 5 stars on Google and TripAdvisor. On Yelp, the park has an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Overall, Brannan Island State Recreation Area is a highly recommended camping destination for those looking to enjoy the outdoors and the beauty of the Sacramento Delta.


Brannan Island Camping provides a great opportunity for families and groups to enjoy the outdoors. With a variety of camping options available, visitors can choose what best fits their needs. The park offers access to the Delta waterways, which is perfect for boating, fishing, and other water activities.

The campsites are well-maintained, and the staff is friendly and helpful. The park also has amenities such as restrooms, showers, and picnic areas. Visitors can enjoy hiking, biking, and birdwatching in the surrounding areas.

Overall, Brannan Island Camping is a great choice for those looking for a peaceful and enjoyable camping experience.