Brannan Island State Recreation Area

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About Brannan Island State Recreation Area

Brannan Island, a labyrinth of waterways with islands and marshes all around, is one of the best places for water recreation. When you’re almost completely surrounded by water, it’s difficult to stop yourself from getting out there — which is no problem, since there are plenty of opportunities for swimming, boating, fishing and windsurfing. Even when the weather’s warm in the summer, it only adds incentive to get into the water, and there’s usually a cool delta breeze. Be sure to check out this beautiful sliver located along the Sacramento River!

Campgrounds in Brannan Island

Cottonwood Campground

1. Cottonwood Campground

Cottonwood Campground is next to the Willow Campground. Both offer about 50 campsites, making a grand total of 100 convenient campsites right by...

Colleen
Colleen: Great spot in a beautiful area. Brannan Island is the best and this campground is a solid choice if you want to stay in that area.
17 Saves
Willow Campground

2. Willow Campground

Willow Campground is an oval-shaped campground connected to the Cottonwood Campground by the ranger station. Both campgrounds offer about 50...

Sharon
Sharon: We drove from Ohio to here and stayed 6 days. The campground was virtually deserted with the exception of a Saturday night. ...
15 Saves
Sacramento Group Campground

3. Sacramento Group Campground

Sacramento Group Campground is on the northern edges of the park between the Sacramento River and the Seven Mile Slough. This is ideal for large...

4 Saves
Walk In Campground

4. Walk In Campground

The Walk In Campgrounds are located on either side of the Delta Vista Berthing Area (aka. boat ramp area). The campground is close to both the...

Forest
Forest: Every camper has their own preference in how to experience nature. For my dog Dexter and I, we appreciate more secluded trips...
2 Saves
Olympic Loop Campground

5. Olympic Loop Campground

The Olympic Loop Campground is a small loop offering about ten campsites-- no tent camping, RVs only. There are walk-in campsites all around this...

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10 Reviews

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Drop some Brannan Island knowledge on us.
Hipcamper A
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BYOF… Bring your own firewood! If you forget, you can pick some up at the nearby town of Rio Vista

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Hipcamper A
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Watch out for gopher holes, you’re sure to trip over at least one

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Hipcamper A
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The handicapped accessible sites are exclusively for the handicapped, so double check before you book!

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Hipcamper A
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You’ll be blown away… it can be quite windy here, bring tent stakes!

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Hipcamper A
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Dogs are allowed in picnic areas, but not the beaches, sorry buddy!

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Easy access to wifi across the park!

Hipcamper Sharon

We drove from Ohio to here and stayed 6 days. The campground was virtually deserted with the exception of a Saturday night. Staff very friendly and the keep the place immaculate. i loved the Delta. Can't wait to come back!

Hipcamper Forest

Every camper has their own preference in how to experience nature. For my dog Dexter and I, we appreciate more secluded trips into the woods with our packs. Leaving behind phones, cars, and convenience to rough it for days at a time. What Brannan Island does well, is create different atmospheres for different campers who want to experience their ideal outing. Essentially, the camp ground is divided in such a way that people wouldn't be bothered unnecessarily with the humming of an RV engine or a group of noisy campers if quiet and relaxation is what you are after. The walk-in camp locations are a short walk from a parking lot and situated right along the river for easy fishing access. I would highly recommend space 128.

Hipcamper Colleen

Simple and sweet campsite in a beautiful area! There's lots of gopher holes though so be careful, especially at night so you don't step in one and trip.

Hipcamper Colleen

Great spot in a beautiful area. Brannan Island is the best and this campground is a solid choice if you want to stay in that area.

History of Brannan Island State Recreation Area

In 1921, on the southern tip of Brannan Island, was a swampy area of approximately 335 acres. The property was part of the Peter Cook holdings. The land was acquired by the Sacramento San Joaquin Drainage District for the State Reclamation Board for use by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. The area was pumped full of sand and silt from the river during the dredging and widening of the Sacramento River channel between 1926 and 1929. The dredging operation filled the area with spoils to a level between twenty to forty feet above water level. After the operations were over the land sat idle, except for sales of sand by the State to private contractors.

In 1950 the Rio Vista Chamber of Commerce spearheaded a drive to have the area become a State Park. A transfer of the title to the property to the State Division of Beaches and Parks, set the stage for the creation of the park. Between 1952 and 1954, the area again sat idle. The Division of Beaches and Parks granted permission to Travis Air Force Base to establish a boat harbor on Seven Mile Slough for Air Force Personnel.

Over the years improvements and additions to park facilities have made Brannan Island State Recreation Area an important recreational facility strategically located between the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers. The dredging that created the area for the park also made it the highest spot east of the Sacramento River for a radius of 10 to 25 miles.

Brannan Island was named after Samuel Brannan who led a group of Mormons to California in 1846. In 1846, Brannan rented a ship's long-boat named the Gusanita and sailed across San Francisco Bay and enter the San Joaquin River. He was looking for suitable land on which to establish a community farm. The site of New Hope was chosen and thus the first Mormon farm in the San Joaquin Valley was started.

In May, 1848, Brannan spread the news of gold discoveries elsewhere along the American River. The result was a business boom in California. By February, 1848, Brannan owned a store on the Sacramento waterfront. In just a few months he had made over $100,000. By the end of 1849, Brannan owned one-fourth of all the land in Sacramento and would have eventually owned one-fifth of San Francisco. In 1859 Brannan purchased a tract of land surrounding a hot spring at the foot of Mt. St. Helena, with the intention of creating a summer resort. At a promotional dinner Brannan toasted his proposed resort as the "Saratoga of California" but unfortunately it came out as the "Calistoga of Sarafornia" and the name Calistoga stuck.

Brannan set out to interest people in the resort by financing a branch of the railroad to Calistoga Hot Springs. He also grew grapes and was successful in the wine making business. Although he amassed a fortune during his lifetime, Samuel Brannan died in poverty on May 14, 1889. He contributed his name to a street in San Francisco and the island and this park in the Delta.