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Stanislaus River beckons as spring returns
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MODESTO – The sun is out, the flowers are starting to emerge and those winter layers are starting to become burdensome by about two in the afternoon.
And that’s not even considering the longer days – the winter slowly starting to disappear into the rear-view mirror as spring once again emerges in the Northern San Joaquin Valley.
But you better take advantage of it while it’s here, because before you can even get the picnic basket out of the closet the summer heat  will be out in full force.
Here are some places in Modesto you can enjoy a nice afternoon out while Mother Nature still gives us the chance:
uMcHenry Recreation Area – There isn’t much that this Stanislaus River gem isn’t good for – walking in the winter, swimming in the summer and taking in the natural beauty of this oak grove in the spring.
Built by the Army Corps of Engineers and located on River Road, this little slice of heaven just outside of Modesto and Escalon offers picnic tables beneath towering oak trees overlooking the meandering river that has been adapted to accommodate the crowds that flock here during the warm summer months.
Don’t get too close to the cold, swift-moving water if you’re going to make this a stop, but there are plenty of secluded, beautiful places to enjoy mother nature if you’re craving a picnic.
uCaswell Memorial State Park – This technically isn’t in Modesto – it’s more like the border of Ripon and Manteca – but the fact that it exists as a relatively unrivaled picnic area when the sun is shining makes it more of a regional draw than anything else. Open meadows are perfect for laying a blanket down and taking in the sun, and picnic tables in some of the day use areas, while popular, are accessible if you go at the right time. As a California State Park there is an entry fee and it is enforced – pay the iron ranger at the gate if there isn’t an attendant – but if you’re needing some fresh air and beautiful scenery, you can’t go wrong with this Austin Road haven that routinely draw people from throughout the area.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.