#5 Want Wind or Speed?

North & South Forebays

Reserved for non-motorized use only, the North Forebay is a sailor’s ream come true. Ranked as the best sailing and windsurfing north of the Bay Area, these waters and winds are delightful. The spot is also popular with those who prefer to canoe, swim, or just relax in the sun. A 200-yard sandy swimming beach has men’s and women’s dressing rooms, drinking water, and a special feature — shade trees that keep the sun off of your picnic table and you. A 15-space RV campsite and restrooms are also found at the North Forebay.

In addition to the North Forebay, there is a 7,000 sq. ft. aquatic center on site. The Forebay Aquatic Center is a collaborative effort between the Department of Boating and Waterways, the Department of Water Resources, the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Chico Rowing Club. The center provides boat rentals, such as kayaks (both single and double), pedal boats, hydro bikes, canoes, and sailboats. In addition to the rentals, the center offers courses in sailing, sit-on-top kayaking, sea kayaking, canoeing, wakeboarding, rowing, and aquatic camps for youths ages 8-16. The Aquatic Center is open Wed. through Sun., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

The South Forebay is the spot for speed competitions. Jet ski, speedboat, and hydroplaners all come here to show what they’re made of. The water action is exciting, and there’s a new swimming beach, a picnic area, and a fish cleaning station, as well as new shade trees.

West of Hwy. 70, north of Oroville
(Garden Drive Exit)
Classes: 624-6919;

Fountain at Riverbend Park

#15 Swing Into Fitness

The Outdoor Fitness Course is state-of-the art and is designed for low impact cardio-vascular health and fitness for all levels. It consists of four stations, each with directions for the various activities. A project of the Rotary Club of Oroville, it is accessible for all, including the disabled. The sports clubs offers facilities for just about everything for anyone interested in getting or staying in shape: aerobics/fitness programs, weight-support programs, etc.

If you prefer a park-like setting, try Bedrock Park for eight lighted tennis courts.

Anytime Fitness
1124 Oro Dam Blvd.
(530) 533-7770

Outdoor Fitness Course
Riverbend Park, W. end of Montgomery/HWY. 70, along the bike trail
(530) 533-2011

Oroville Sports Club
2600 Oro Dam Blvd.
(530) 538-0123

Bedrock Park
Fifth Avenue & Stafford Street

Feather River Fish Hatchery

#16 See Nature in Action

Fish Hatch

Feather River Fish Hatchery & Nature Center

When Oroville Dam was built, several miles of spawning grounds were no longer available to salmon and steelhead trout returning to their home stream to spawn. To compensate for this loss, the Dept. of Fish & Game and Dept. of Water Resources opened this state-of-the art facility.

The hatchery can accommodate 9,000 adult salmon and 2,000 adult steelhead. The incubators can hold 20 million eggs, and 9.6 million fingerlings can be reared in the eight concrete raceways. During their Fall-run (heaviest in September-November, but extending into February) the fish can be seen, through windows built into the wall, jumping the ladder-like steps leading to the gathering tanks, providing an aquarium-like view.

If you’ve never witnessed this life cycle, try to find time to watch nature in spectacular action at this official California Watchable Wildlife site.

Built of stone and sitting beside the river just across from the hatchery on Old Ferry Road, the 1930’s WPA bath house has been restored and converted into a Nature Center. Beautifully constructed from nature’s gifts, it’s our favorite structure in the county and a wonderful place to commune with nature during any season of the year. Picnic tables are provided along with the nature!


Feather River Fish Hatchery & Nature Center Park
Off Tabe Mountaiin Blvd. at Feather River Crossing
Visiting Hours: 8am to Sundown
Fish Ladder opens the day after Labor Day.
Tours: (530) 534-2306

Chinese Temple

#17 Gifted With Gardens

Three of Oroville’s gardens are featured in Garden Getaways-Northern California (1989, Tioga Publishing Co.), which is quite a compliment for the city. “Closed off to the world outside its gates, the garden is a mystery from outside but a place of shelter and tranquility within,” is how the author describes the Chinese Temple Garden after listing dawn redwood, ginkgo, wisteria, bamboo, waterlilies, and other specimens to be enjoyed here.

Lott Home03

After discussing species in Sank Park, “…a rose garden…a trellised gazebo, and wide lawns with beautiful specimen trees… the garden today is ideal for strolling, sitting, and for more formal gatherings,” the author wrote.

One of the historic garden spots in Oroville is the former California Display Garden at Western Pacific Brewing & Dining. The garden was originally used to “greet and introduce” rail travelers to the huge variety of California fruit trees. After traveling through the snow in the Sierras, we bet they were see avocados, palms, a fig, olive, persimmon, and pineapple guava. Little remains of the garden now, but you can use your imagination and understand the thrill that rail travelers once experienced.

And you just haven’t seen Spring until you view the 165 varieties of azaleas in April bloom at Minasian’s.

Chinese Temple Garden
1500 Broderick St.

Lott Garden in Sank Park
1067 Montgomery St.

Minasian Azalea Gardens
1681 Bird St.

Western Pacific’s Calif. Display Garden
2191 High at Oliver


#18 Horsing Around

This new state-of-the-art facility features 15 campsites (two horses per site), a restroom with shower facility, a horse washing station and horse tethering and feeding stations. What more could you ask for?

The area features 44 miles of riding and hiking trails traveling from an elevation of 200-1000 feet. The trail meanders by many sights, including an old settler’s cabin and an 1850’s water flume. It’s a beautiful ride.

A trail map, developed by the Lake Oroville Mounted Assistance Unit, is available for $1.50.

Loafer Creek Horse Camp
Lake Oroville Recreation Area
(530) 538-2200
Reserve America,
(800) 444-7275

Bidwell Marina

#19 Rent a Boat & View a Lake Oroville Sunset

Some folks prefer sunrises, but we’re partial to sunsets, and we don’t think they come any better than those shining their colors across Lake Oroville. Since they’re twice as nice if you’re surrounded by water, why not enjoy one the best way, viewed from the deck of a houseboat.

Both marinas have party boats, ski boats, fishing boats, wave runners, skis/toys available for rent at a nominal charge, and Lake Oroville Marina rents houseboats. You can get snacks to take along, as well as bait and tackle if you want to fish, in their grocery store. And then there’s the party barge — huge patio boat/dance floor/campsite/conference room — it’s all of these.

Camping and picnic facilities are available near both marinas. Call ahead to be sure of a boat when you arrive.

Bidwell Marina
801 Bidwell Canyon Drive
Oroville, CA 95966

Lake Oroville Marina
3428 Pentz Road,
Paradise, CA 95969
530-877-2414 or 800-255-5561

Huntington's Sportsman's Store

#20 World Tour of Wildlife

You may have seen wildlife museums that contain a nice variety of area wildlife, but Oroville is home to one with over 100 “trophies” from all over the world. Many photographs taken during the hunts are also displayed, and in the cases surrounding the museum room is an outstanding and unique collection of firearms.

Huntington’s also has cases filled with memorabilia from Oroville’s past: antique bottles and many Indian artifacts, including an exceptional collection of baskets. It’s easy to see why it’s called “Northern California’s Most Unique Sportsman’s Store!”

Huntington’s Sportsman’s Store
601 Oro Dam Blvd.
(530) 534-8000
Hours: Mon-Fri 9-6, Sat. 8-5
Admission is free


#23 Up, Up & Away

Oroville Air Corp.

The sign on Wilbur Road reads “Oroville Air Corp.–Spectators Welcome.” And you can watch model airplanes being flown all most every day—every description of plane and some with wingspans of 120 inches—even helicoptors.

The group encourages spectators and urges young and old to put their own craft in the air, pointing out that you can be piloting your own radio-controlled airplane for less than $300.

The group meets monthly.

DWR built a 350 x 300 foot runway, but the Wilbur site is best known because it affords both land and water takeoffs and landings. Oroville is one of only two places in Northern California where both land and water facilities are available.

Oroville Air Corp.
North Wilbur Road at the Afterbay Canal
(530) 370-0318



#30 Fishing or Bird Watching


Just outside the Oroville city limits are 11,000 acres of preserved natural beauty with ample opportunities for fishing enthusiasts and birdwatchers. Egrets, beaver and river otters are among the many animals found here.

Administered by the California Department of Fish and Game, the area is divided into two units: the 4,300-acre Thermalito Afterbay with its 26 miles of shoreline and the 5,700-acre Borrow Area Preserve. Bass, catfish, and crappie are found in both the ponds and the afterbay area, and salmon, steelhead, and shad can be caught in the river, twelve miles of which wanders through the Borrow Area section. Canoes or car-top boats can be launched in several spots along the river.

Some fishing restrictions are men-tioned on maps available at the entry points. There are campsites (no fees) in the southern half of Borrow Area.

The area is also popular with birdwatchers since it provides a year-round or seasonal home to 171 species of birds.

Oroville State Wildlife Area
Headquarters: 945 Oro Dam Blvd. W.Entrances off of Oro Dam Blvd. W.,
Hwy 70, Pacific Heights Rd, Larkin Rd., Vance Ave. & Palm Ave.
Maps available at Entry Points
(530) 538-2236