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Region Detail Page to Region Profiles

Central Valley Region Profile

Running right down the middle of California, this broad region contains some of the most productive farmland in the world. The wine country around Lodi features big, bold reds. Further south, the Fresno area has a lively arts scene.


  • Bakersfield houses the country’s largest concentration of Basque restaurants, including the 125-year-old Noriega Hotel.
  • California’s largest inland deep-water port is in Stockton, an influential driver of the downtown waterfront culture and Opportunity Cruises’ riverboat tours.
  • The Yolo Bypass has become a visual attraction for bird-watchers since its official wildlife area designation.
  • The region lays claim to the Delta, a filigreed network of some 1,000 miles of braided waterways, dotted with marinas, houseboats, campgrounds and waterfront resorts.
  • In the heartland of California, the César E. Chávez National Monument in Kern County pays tribute to Chávez’s life and activist farm workers.
  • Foodies and craft beer fans can enjoy the “Beer-muda Triangle”— a self-guided tasting tour in three Yolo County towns.

Counties, Major Cities and Attractions



There are 14 counties in the Central Valley region of California:
  • Butte County
  • Colusa County
  • Glenn County
  • Fresno County
  • Kern County
  • Kings County
  • Madera County
  • Merced County
  • San Joaquin County
  • Stanislaus County
  • Sutter County
  • Tulare County
  • Yolo County
  • Yuba County


Major Cities

Cities and town found in this broad valley, stretching for over 400 miles/644 kilometers, are rich with history, international culture and “everyone’s welcome” charm.
  • Bakersfield
  • Fairfield
  • Fresno
  • Lodi
  • Merced
  • Modesto
  • Stockton
  • Tulare
  • Vacaville
  • Visalia

Major Attractions

California’s heartland offers up one of the state’s most authentic and sensory-rich experiences, with chances to see - and taste - the state’s bounty at every turn. 

  • Buck Owen’s Crystal Palace: This venue began in the 1930s and shaped the style of country music that became widely known as the Bakersfield Sound
  • Cambodian Buddhist Temple (Wat Dhammararam): This temple in Stockton features over 90 colorful and larger-than-life jewel-encrusted statues that celebrate the life and story of the Cambodian Buddha
  • Forestiere Underground Gardens: 10 acres of subterranean tunnels, chambers and grottos in Fresno were hand-chiseled by Baldassare Forestiere, who emigrated to California from Sicily in the early 1900s
  • Fresno Blossom Trail/Fresno County Fruit Trail: A scenic trail presents the perfect opportunity for visitors and photographers to catch blooming fruit trees and wildflowers
  • Wind Wolves Preserve: The largest nonprofit nature preserve on the West Coast offers the perfect venue for walking or mountain biking amid grasslands, wildflowers and grazing tule elk



The Central Valley features a semi-arid climate with mild, moist winters and very hot, dry summers, displaying Mediterranean characteristics.









California Welcome Centers

The Central Valley has two California Welcome Centers:

Related Central Valley Images & Video

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