Brannan Island State Recreation Area RV & Campground Guide
Located northeast of the San Francisco Bay area in Sacramento County, California, Brannan Island State Recreation Area consists of several islands, waterways, marshlands, and wetlands, making it a popular destination for water-based recreation, windsurfing, bird watching, boating, and picnicking. This 352-acre park was first established in 1952 and is near the city of Rio Vista. Though it's not technically an island, the area is bordered by water on three sides. The Sacramento River is to the west, and Three Mile Slough borders the south and the eastern areas. The park was named after California's first millionaire, Sam Brannan, who earned his fortune by selling supplies to gold seekers in the mid-1800s. Prior to the arrival of fur trappers and European hunters in the early 1800s, the area was home to indigenous peoples, though little is known about their activities. To learn more about the natural and cultural history of this fascinating area, stop by the Visitor's Center, which is open on the weekends and during the week upon request. At the center, you can learn more about the wetland ecosystem and the flora and fauna in the area as well as shop for souvenirs and chat with the park rangers. Nearest Major Cities: • Sacramento, CA • San Francisco, CA • Stockton, CA • San Jose, CA
RV Resorts & Campsites in Brannan Island State Recreation Area
Olympic Loop Campground • Water hookup: Yes • Electrical hookup: Yes • Sewer hookup: Yes • Wi-Fi: No • Pet-friendly: Yes • Max RV length: 36 feet • Other Amenities: Firewood for sale, fire rings, restrooms, and showers Willow Campground • Water hookup: No • Electrical hookup: No • Sewer hookup: No • Wi-Fi: No • Pet-friendly: Yes • Max RV length: 36 feet • Other Amenities: Firewood for sale, fire rings, restrooms, and showers Cottonwood Campground • Water hookup: No • Electrical hookup: No • Sewer hookup: No • Wi-Fi: No • Pet-friendly: Yes • Max RV length: 36 feet • Other Amenities: Fire rings, restrooms, and showers Sacramento Group Campground • Water hookup: No • Electrical hookup: No • Sewer hookup: No • Wi-Fi: No • Pet-friendly: Yes • Max RV length: 36 feet • Other Amenities: Fire rings, restrooms, and showers
Cottonwood and Willow Campgrounds
Cottonwood and Willow Campgrounds are located side-by-side inside the boundaries of Brannan Island State Recreation Area. If you’re hoping to get on the water for an early-morning fishing trip, or if you simply want to watch the sunrise, this is the place to be. Together, the two campgrounds have 102 campsites, each suitable for both tents and RVs. The majority of sites are primitive, but the 12 RV sites in the Olympic Loop have hookups for water and electricity. Keep in mind that the park allows RVs up to 36 feet long. Nearby, there’s a convenient dump station, bathrooms with flush toilets, showers, and a picnic area. Primitive sites start at $36 per night. If you’re coming between May and October, be sure to reserve online well in advance; the campgrounds fill up quickly.
Rio Viento RV Park
If you’re in search of full hookups, head about 10 minutes south of Brannan Island State Recreation Area to Rio Viento RV Park. This is a particularly good option for big rigs — every site measures 50 feet deep and 35 feet wide, so there’s plenty of room for slide-outs and extra vehicles. Your reservation fee includes full hookups and 50-amp electricity service. When it comes to location, Rio Viento shines. You can wake up to the sound of the Sacramento River and sip your morning coffee while taking in the panoramic views. Get on the water right from the campground, or watch the windsurfers from your RV. Rates at Rio Viento start at $50 per night, and you can get a big discount by booking a week at a time.
Duck Island RV Park
If you’re visiting Brannan Island State Recreation Area for fishing, you can’t beat Duck Island RV Park. This is a park designed for anglers — you can cast from the shoreline or take your pick of the six lighted docks. There’s plenty of space for everyone. It’s important to note that this RV park only accepts adults. On-site, you’ll find a store with bait and RV supplies, an expansive picnic area, and a clubhouse where you can get to know other campers. Need to get online? The park has Wi-Fi, too. Rates at Duck Island vary, so be sure to call for details.
Eddo's Harbor & RV Park
Fall asleep to the sounds of lapping water from your riverside site at Eddo's Harbor & RV Park. With just 42 sites, this park is ideal for relaxation. Every site offers full hookups with your choice of 30-amp or 50-amp service. After a day on the water, you can wash up in the shower house, fuel up your boat at the dock, and grab a snack from the convenience store. The community BBQ attracts a lively crowd, and the handy Wi-Fi service makes it easy to share your vacation photos. This family-owned park is friendly and welcoming, whether you’re coming with friends or as a family.
RV Rentals Near Brannan Island State Recreation Area
Nearby RV Rentals
What to Do at
Brannan Island State Recreation Area
Adventurers will enjoy windsurfing at the Windy Cove day-use area, water skiing, or jet-skiing in the waterways around Brannan Island, though you can always enjoy a shady stroll on the island's paved pathway for a quieter time. A large grassy field near the Ramadas day-use area is perfect for a sporting match, kite sailing, or just relaxing in the sun.
Inside Brannan Island State Recreation Area
The waterways are the big draw at Brannan Island State Recreation Area, so be sure to bring your fishing gear, swimsuit, and boat to enjoy the area to the fullest. If you’re looking for a fishing pier and a quiet beach for swimming, check out the Seven Mile Slough area; it’s only open to non-motorized boats, which makes it a peaceful spot for families. Be sure to bring a fishing license for everyone over 16. Bringing a motorboat? The park offers a 10-lane boat ramp, so you can get on the water in no time.
Fishing is a popular activity at this park. Note that all anglers above the age of 16 will require a license. You can head out on a boat or try your hand fishing from the pier at Seven Mile Slough. If you're lucky, you'll catch shad, bluegill, bass, sturgeon, catfish, crappie, and occasionally even salmon or steelhead trout.
Keep an eye out for the river otters that make their home at Brannan Island State Recreation Area. Birdwatchers can spot over 76 species of birds, including herons, hawks, gulls, turns, and sandpipers. In the wetland areas, you might find beaver, mink, and muskrats.
As Brannan Island is distant from any major cities, you'll find the skies to be quite dark there, perfect for enjoying some evening stargazing.
Flora and Fauna
The wetland marsh areas are home to dozens of bird species as well as several types of mammals, including beavers, mink, and muskrats. You might spot the occasional gopher snake or a lizard as well. Native coastal oaks and sycamore trees dot the island, providing a home to burrowing owls.
The Brannan Island Loop Trail circles around the island for just over three miles, offering waterfront views and passing by majestic groves of mature eucalyptus trees, which also offer the trail a bit of shade. This flat trail is popular for walking and running. This paved trail is fully handicap-accessible, and strollers are also welcome.
Watercraft of all sizes are welcome to launch at the 10-lane boat launch for a fee of $7. Two of the boat slips are ADA-accessible. If you're looking to rent a boat for the day, there's a private marina offering rentals near the Seven Mile Slough day-use area. Power boats are prohibited. Boats can be stored overnight at the Delta Vista Boat Campsite, which can accommodate boats up to 35 feet in length.
For the best swimming, head to the Seven Mile Slough day-use area. There, you'll find a fantastic beach swimming area. Lifeguard service is only available seasonally between Memorial Day and Labor Day. You'll also find life vests available to borrow during the summer.
Cyclists come to Brannan Island to enjoy cycling along the California Aqueduct Bikeway, which offers views of the many windmills and the waterfront.
How to Get to
Brannan Island State Recreation Area
Starting in the nearby town of Rio Vista, head across the bridge on state highway 12. After just under a mile, turn right onto CA-160 S. The parking area will be on your left.
Entering Brannan Island State Recreation Area
Parking per vehicle : $10.0
Frequently Asked Questions About Brannan Island State Recreation Area
Brannan Island State Recreation Area is a popular place to visit year-round. Its location in the river delta keeps it cooler than the surrounding areas in the summer. Plenty of anglers enjoy fishing here during the winter.
The marshlands and wetlands are a bird-watchers' paradise, as the area is home to more than 76 species of birds. You can also spot the occasional sea otter or beaver when walking along the waterfront.
There are more than 140 campsites at Brannan Island. Parking at these sites vary in length from a max of 20 feet to 36 feet, so make sure your vehicle will fit in your spot when making a reservation.
Reservations are required during the summer, and during the off-season, sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The cost to reserve a site online is $31, and group sites have an additional fee.
Yes. Dogs are allowed on the paved roads and in the camping areas only. Note that they must be kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet in length at all times. Pets are always prohibited on the beach areas and on the trails.
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