San Joaquin Valley
- Fresno County
- Kern County
- Kings County
- Madera County
- Merced County
- San Joaquin County
- Stanislaus County
- Tulare County
English and Spanish are both spoken in the San Joaquin Valley. It's helpful to know a little of each, as many people speak only one or the other. Punjabi and Tagalog are also widely spoken by Indian and Filipino immigrants in major cities.
Interstate 5 and State Route 99 are the main routes through the region.
This is a car based area. Some public transit is available in the form of buses, but it is highly inefficient. Taxi service is also available by reservation.
- Pixley National Wildlife Refuge (from SR-99 take exit 56 5.7 miles west). This wildlife refuge is the winter home to up to six thousand sandhill cranes from September to March, with numbers peaking in January. The refuge's habitat also supports a variety of raptors and waterbirds, accessible via a single 1.5 mile loop trail that leads to an overlook of the wetlands. Visitors hoping to see cranes should utilize their ears as much as their eyes - the cranes have a distinctive call, and will often be found outside of the refuge in nearby fields during daylight hours.
The Central Valley can get very foggy in winter, making driving extremely dangerous with visibility of 100 feet and less. On the faster highways such as Interstate 5 and State Route 99, the fog can turn small accidents into smash-ups of dozens of cars.
Gang activity is quite common in the larger cities. Avoid being out alone after dark, and avoid wearing solid red or solid blue, as these are gang colors and may make you a target.
San Joaquin cities such as Bakersfield, Fresno, Visalia, Merced, and Modesto have very bad air quality. In fact, all of these cities rank among the top 15 smoggiest cities in the U.S. Summer temperatures can soar above 110°F (45°C). Drink lots of water, heat strokes and dehydration is very common during the summer.
- Sacramento Valley and the Gold Country, to the north
- Sierra Nevada to the east
- Central Coast to the west
- Southern California to the south