Manteca is a city with an interesting history. It was founded in 1861 by a man named Joshua Cowell and, when the townspeople came to name their town, they wanted it to have the same name as the train station built there. Their initial intention was to name it after its founder, until they found that there was already a Cowell station at the town of Tracy, also located in San Joaquin County. Their next choice was to call it “Monteca”; however, a misprint when they filed the papers meant it came back as “Manteca” - the Spanish for “Lard”. Rather than refile the papers, the people decided they quite liked the idea of a town-wide in-joke around the name of their city. So “Manteca” it remained.
This fact tells you a lot about Manteca, its people and the way of life there. It’s a place for people who don’t take life too seriously, are easy-going and appreciate the chance to have a bit of fun. For any visitor there are plenty of sights to see, day trips to take and a wealth of interesting experiences to have. Let the journey start here!
1. Take a walk in Caswell Memorial State Park
A small fact it might be worth knowing about Caswell Park is that in 1973, it was chosen as a filming location for Disney movie “The World’s Greatest Athlete” - and when you step inside you will see why instantly. It’s a beautifully picturesque place to take a walk, sit for a picnic or, if you wish, take advantage of the campground facilities to spend a night or two closer to nature. One bit of advice: take mosquito repellent with you. The little bugs won’t spoil the experience, but they can be irritating.
Caswell Memorial State Park
Address: 28000 S Austin Rd, Ripon, CA 95366
Website: Caswell Memorial State Park
2. Take in a movie at the AMC Movie Theater
So, yes, a cinema is a cinema, and marking one out as a high point of a city may seem like faint praise. But what sets Manteca’s AMC theater apart is its lush setting and the luxurious comfort of the movie-goer’s experience. Found on Lifestyle Street, this location is set beside a huge man-made lake with water features and makes for a very pleasant walk-up experience. The food and drink options inside are highly rated too - so while you’re planning what to see, you can do so in the maximum of comfort.
AMC Movie Theater Manteca
Address: 848 Lifestyle St, Manteca, CA 95337
Website: AMC Movie Theater Manteca
3. Have a strike-ing time at Manteca Bowl
The perfect ingredient for any family vacation, a trip to this vintage bowling alley will feature something for everyone. Of course bowling is on the menu, but there’s a lot more besides, with a well-stocked arcade and a range of “pub games” such as billiard and darts, that will keep the whole family entertained. A couple of hours on the lanes or in the batting cages will be enough to work up an appetite that you can then sate in Rookies’ Pub and Grill. It’s the very definition of a family fun time, especially in the summer when kids get two free bowling games per day - even out of season, though, it’s just 4 USD for adults and 3 USD for kids.
Address: 1251 E Yosemite Ave, Manteca, CA 95336
Website: Manteca Bowl
Manteca is located within the Yosemite Valley, not far from Yosemite National Park, which is one of America’s finest natural locations. For a fee of just over 90 USD, you can see some of the most stunning scenery there is to be found anywhere in the US. Yosemite Falls, the Spider Caves and a preserved Pioneer Village are all part of one of the most rewarding tours you could possibly take on holiday. As a delightful side benefit, all profits from this tour go towards supporting a summer youth camp in the area - so you can have a good time and do some good at the same time.
Yosemite Valley Tour
Price: from 90 USD
5. Appreciate the bouquet at Delicato Family Vineyards
California is increasingly a part of the world that is associated with fine wines, and at the forefront of the “New World” producers. Manteca has its own slice of that action with the Delicato family, who have been producing wines for the best part of a century. The sustainable processes and diverse range of grapes used here make for a thrilling range of reds, whites and roses. Better yet, a visit to the tasting room is free; you may not be able to resist taking a few bottles away, though, and those need to be paid for!
Delicato Family Vineyards
Address: 12001 CA-99, Manteca, CA 95336
Website: Delicato Family Vineyards
6. Pass some contemplative moments at Wat Dhammararam Buddhist Temple
A warmly welcoming atmosphere awaits you at Wat Dhammararam Buddhist Temple, a Cambodian-style temple which was built by, and is maintained by, volunteers offering their time and more. It’s beautifully colorful and features a thrilling range of statues, arches and general decoration. Located in Stockton, about a quarter of an hour away from Manteca by road, it’s well worth the short trip.
Wat Dhammararam Buddhist Temple
Address: 3732 Carpenter Rd, Stockton, CA 95215
Website: Wat Dhammararam Buddhist Temple
7. Witness wildlife as it should be at San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge
If the trip to Wat Dhammararam has left you in a contemplative mood, then perhaps your next trip should be to the San Joaquin Refuge, set in well-maintained grassland and wetland. Here you will find numerous species of wildlife in their natural habitat; it’s a location which has been pivotal in the conservation of creatures such as the Aleutian cackling goose. Other birds and animals are located and looked after here too - it’s an uplifting experience set among beautiful scenery.
San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge
Address: 2714 Dairy Rd, Vernalis, CA 95385
Come to Manteca and look around - you'll like what you see!
Manteca, as well as its neighboring cities, are in that fine spirit of Californian openness and good times - from the bowling alley to the Buddhist temple, everything is infused with that sense of welcoming. That’s what makes Manteca and the whole San Joaquin region so worth visiting - and once you’re there, you’re sure to find yourself wanting to stay for longer.
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