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Relax on the 26-mile shoreline of Turlock Lake, shrouded by the grassy foothills of eastern Stanislaus County, as you enjoy a warm climate and scenic vistas of rolling hills dotted with oak trees. Nearly 200 species of wildflowers add a pop of color to this tranquil tract. Turlock Lake State Recreation Area offers some of the best summer vacation experiences for those who like RV camping, fishing, boating, waterskiing, and picnicking.
The countryside is also home to different animal species like grey fox, turtles, hawks, vultures, and owls. You might even spot coyotes and deer roaming about. The Tuolumne River is another contributor to the park’s allure. Back in the mid-19th century, French sailors discovered gold here, and during the early 20th century, a dredging company was formed. The company’s gold mining efforts continued for around 50 years, extracting several million dollars in the process.
Although the park only offers primitive motorhome camping conditions, it's still better to camp in an RV here so you can visit the nearby towns during your stay. You can search for an RV in Stanislaus County or in the town of Waterford, just ten miles away from the park.
During the summer season, most Turlock Lake State Recreation Area campers choose to cool off through water-based activities like swimming and boating. There's a designated swimming area at Turlock Lake; however, there's no lifeguard, so exercise caution while swimming. As the park also features a boat ramp and watercraft rentals, guests can explore the lake and row from one shore to another.
Wildlife and birdwatching at Turlock Lake State Recreation Area are some of the more engaging activities throughout the year. Birding in particular is really popular, as there are over 100 bird species that observant visitors can spot. The riverbanks are a lot more colorful thanks to orioles, western bluebirds, hummingbirds, woodpeckers, and greenback goldfinches. The lovely background noises are probably the courtesy of meadowlarks, bushtits, mourning doves, and valley quail. If you're going to explore the woods and thickets of the park, be on the lookout for poison oak.
Fishing at Turlock Lake is time well spent. Guests love both casting their lines for trout, bass, catfish, crappie, and bluegill in both the lake and river. So pack your angling gear, your good luck charms, and a camera to take a picture of your catch. Just be sure to release your prize afterward, as all fishing at Turlock Lake State Recreation Area is catch-and-release.
Only primitive camping sites are available at Turlock Lake State Recreation Area, so there are no hookups for your RV rental. Fortunately, generator use is permitted during certain hours. The state park RV campground is about a mile away from the like, and there are over 60 sites all shaded with mature trees.
The maximum length of the campsites is 27 feet. The sites are also pet-friendly and come with amenities like a picnic table, stove, and food locker. You'll also have access to drinking water nearby.
Remember to make the best out of your Turlock Lake State Recreation Area camping trip by exploring the nearby towns and experiencing what California has to offer. In case you need to refill your tank for the journey, the nearest gas stations are in Waterford, where you can also find pizzerias, Mexican and Chinese restaurants, fast food places, and burger joints.
For quality family fun, keep driving to the town of Modesto, where you can sign up for an escape room experience. These are really exciting and engaging, as you get to put your problem-solving skills to the test. History buffs will want to explore Modesto's museums and the historic mansion.
Near Modesto is the town of Turlock, where you can find the California Mission-style structure that's one of the most famous museums in the county. At the Turlock Historical Museum, you'll get a detailed overview of the city’s history, as well as crucial historical figures who were responsible for its prosperity, as well as the Native American tribes who lived here before the city was formed.
Another place you should hit on your motorhome camping adventure is the Cowboy Museum in Oakdale. Uncover sounds, sights, and smells of Califonia's western heritage and learn what it meant to be a cowboy back in the days of the Wild West. In addition to interesting exhibits, the museum also hosts a variety of events and has a lovely gift shop where you can purchase cowboy-themed souvenirs.