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Turtle Beach: Manteca getaway spot
turtle beach
Children enjoying a swim at the lake. - photo by MONICA CANE/The Bulletin

If you are a frequent camper then you may be familiar with Thousand Trails campsites and the 80 RV parks they have to offer nationwide.

The campgrounds are available year round to members and non members and offer visitors a simple, relaxing retreat and scenic getaway.   Each site typically includes fishing, hiking, boating, tents, cabins, cottages and a variety of amenities.   What casual or newbie campers who are unfamiliar with Thousand Trails may not realize is that there is one such relaxing retreat located right here in Manteca.

Nestled on the outskirts of the city, Thousand Trails/Turtle Beach is located along the San Joaquin River on 703 E. Williamson Road.  It’s one of those perfectly hidden, laid-back camping spots where local families can feel as if feel they’ve gotten far away from home and the daily grind to enjoy a real vacation together, while in truth they are really only a few minutes away from downtown.

When making reservations, Turtle Beach campers have the choice of pitching their own tent near picnic tables and barbeque pits for traditional camping fun, rolling a motor-home or RV into a spacious lot which is conveniently set up with electric and water hookups, or opt to staying in one of the comfortable cabins or cottages equipped with bathrooms, TVs, dinettes, kitchenettes, refrigerator and coffee maker.

In addition to an over-night stay, visitors can also enjoy the campgrounds for a day visit as was one recent visitor did who brought her grandchildren there for a swim in the lake, claiming they enjoyed swimming at Turtle Beach more than in her pool at her home.  Whichever accommodations members or non-members choose, they will find the campgrounds tranquil and the prices reasonable.

With drought-like weather causing some valid concerns in various areas of the community some might think that fishing wouldn’t be very prosperous at a local campsite such as Thousand Trails Turtle Beach but that is simply not so.  According to one camp ranger who credits the dams that were previously built, “The river is high and the fishing is good.”

If good fishing isn’t enough, Turtle Beach also offers campers various activities to participate in at least once a month.  The activities for this remaining calendar year include:

July 19:  Happy 46th Anniversary Thousand Trails: Turtle theme caking baking contest and potluck.

Aug. 15: Hot August Nights:  Music and dancing on the grass followed by a potluck BBQ and movie in the park.

Sept. 5: Happy Labor Day: Candy bar bingo bonanza, roasting s’mores by the campfire and a movie in the park.

Oct. 31: Happy Safe Halloween: Pumpkin carving contest, costume contest, pet costume contest, parade, followed by a pumpkin pie eating and trick-or-treating.

Nov. 1-22: Annual Community Food Drive: Where visitors can help provide food for others in need.

Nov. 20: Pilgrims Feast: Thanksgiving potluck turkey dinner where campers can have fun catching up with old friends and making new ones.

Dec. 5: Happy Holidays: Enjoy chocolate and cookies while making homemade Christmas ornaments, decorating Turtle Beach Christmas tree followed by the tree lighting ceremony.

Dec. 18: Christmas Dinner: Annual Christmas potluck dinner in the Lodge.

We all need to get-away from time to time to enjoy family, friends and good ole peace of mind. Thousand Trails Turtle Beach is the perfect place for community members to enjoy a nearby getaway together.

To learn more about Manteca’s Thousand Trails Turtle Beach visit or call Turtle Beach Ranger Station at (209) 239.2034.