Frugal travel…close to home!


Giant clamshell dredge bucket always amazes kids; it's a staple of the San Joaquin Historical Museum at Micke Grove Park.

Stockton’s waterfront and new Stockton Marina, viewed from behind the Stockton Ports Ballpark.
University of Pacific’s DeRosa University Center is the place to finish a walking or biking tour of this lovely campus!
Enjoy the San Joaquin Delta, its waterways, boats and a great sunset, with good food, off the Garlic Bros. Restaurant deck!

I’ve been retired, now for a year and a half, my wife for a year – we made a pact to do a lot of traveling in the US and Canada the next several years, emphasizing seeing the country and not spending a ton of money.

We also think that it makes sense to see the US first, Canada second, before flying off to see Europe, the Balkans, and other far-flung destinations. Not that we don’t want to do it – we’re currently thinking of an Italian two-week visit sometime next year – but we know we can see much of the US and much of Canada and spend a lot less money.

However, mindful of the fact that in our working careers, we lived in four other cities (Spokane, Susan’s hometown, San Mateo, Sacramento and Toledo, OH) and upon departing them, realized we had only seen half or 2/3s of those cities highlights and scene-stealers, we have made a pact to see our city and county’s top attractions!  My next blog will list insights for our own top 10 favorites; I hope you will add your thoughts and send them along to me!

The nice thing is that “seeing local” means you can do so inexpensively.  Everything on our list is within 30 miles of our home, so short day-trips can take in several unique destinations.  More than a few can be seen by bicycle or on foot.  They all make for a great “Staycation”, and will fine-tune your tourism talents next time you have guests in town!

Don’t forget that daypack (containing a small first-aid kit, snacks, water bottles, binoculars, camera and the like).  If you have something like that prepared, it’s all the easier to zip out the door and go exploring!

Here’s our own short list of local “Must sees”; what’s yours?  Hope you will add to the list (and we will get out and see some highlights we have yet to visit).

Stockton, greater Stockton’s “hidden gems”:

Haggin Museum and Victory Park

Micke Grove Park/Zoo/SJ historical Society,

Pixie woods, Children’s Museum for kids

Downtown waterfront from Ports Ballpark/Arena on the north side to Cineplex/Hotel Stockton out to Morelli Park on south channel (and Ports or Thunder games; events at Arena or Bob Hope Theatre)

Garlic Bros. deck for summer sunset dining on the Delta, and the San Joaquin Delta

Miracle Mile, shops and restaurants

Lodi/ Woodbridge wine country and varied wineries

University of Pacific campus, theater/performing arts and/or  sports, community involvement.

Ethnic dining in varied locations, like downtown Stockton (Cancun, Tio Pepe’s, On Lock Sam, Yasoo Yani, scores more), many more throughout the city;

Cultural celebrations throughout the year (with as a good source for planning)

I hope you will offer up your “don’t miss short list” and send them on to me (; I’ll  visit many of those “musts” and include some in a future article or blog.  On Friday, you’ll see lots of detail on these destinations!  For additional travel destination inspiration, see my blog:  Happy travels in the west!

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