Welcome to Bethel Island
Many cities claim to be located at the “heart” of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. However, unlike other cities, Bethel Island has the distinction of being completely surrounded by numerous waterways near the geographic center of the California Delta. A welcoming community comprised mainly of waterfront property and vacation homes, Bethel Island real estate is one of the more unique locations in a completely unique section of the state.
Lay of the Land
Bethel Island is located in the extreme eastern edge of Contra Costa County in the center of the California Delta. The tiny unincorporated community is surrounded primarily by the waterways of the Delta and is relatively isolated when it comes to major metropolitan neighbors. Though technically part of the Bay Area, the city is an equal distance from San Francisco in the west and Sacramento in the north. The city has a modest population of 2,137 and an equally modest economy. The average household income ($35,442) and home value ($216,354) are well below the state average and the norm for the county.
Transportation for the city is primarily accomplished by boat. Using one of the 13 marinas in the city, it is possible for residents to access any of the numerous towns located within the California Delta as well as the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. Road access to the city is limited to a single bridge along Bethel Island Road. Eventually, Bethel Island Road connects to State Route 4 in the south which grants access to the western section of the county.
Public transportation is unavailable in a direct fashion to the city of Bethel Island. However, Discovery Bay, accessible by boat to the south, is part of the Tri Delta Transit system. Tri Delta provides bus and shuttle services to the cities of the eastern edge of the county. This includes connections to the Bay Area Rapid Transit station located in the city of Pittsburg.
Unsurprisingly, the main attractions in the Bethel Island area are all associated with the numerous waterways surrounding the island and the city. Though the city is home to numerous marinas, Bethel Harbor is the largest and most well known. Located near the downtown section of the city, Bethel Harbor features numerous amenities, including a store, campgrounds, shower area, indoor boat storage, covered berths, and maintenance area.
However, any one of the local marinas is the perfect staging ground for a wide range of aquatic activities. This includes fishing, skiing, birdwatching, camping, windsurfing, sailing, or sunbathing. The local waters are full of black bass, striped bass, crappie, catfish, perch, and even sturgeon. The island is also surrounded by the Franks Tract State Recreation Area, to the east, and the Big Break Regional Shoreline, to the west. Both locations are state maintained and supported protected spaces with a full range of park amenities and recreational support structures.
Many visitors and residents also enjoy taking advantage of the Bethel Island Golf Club. The club features an eighteen hole master level course that was designed by famous architect Bob Baldock. The generally flat course seeks to take advantage of the natural scenery, incorporating local waterways and geographic obstacles in addition to the designed hazards and sand traps. The club also features a full service bar and restaurant.
Finally, Bethel Island is also the home to a wide range of eateries. The widely differing nature of the local eateries reflects the diverse needs of residents and visitors. Many locations feature waterfront access and a wide range of easily consumable foods, catered to active visitors grabbing a bite to eat in between activities or stopping by the town on the way to somewhere else in the Delta. However, Bethel Island also has several eateries on the more formal side. While also located near the waterfront, they utilize the Delta backdrop to create a relaxing and romantic ambiance.