Big Break Regional Shoreline

69 Big Break Rd, Oakley, CA 94561



Big Break Regional Shoreline is a part of the great Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, 1150 square miles long. The water that flows past Big Break through Sacramento and San Joaquin-the State's two greatest rivers-drains half of California and creates the Pacific coast 's largest estuarine environment. This area is also known as the "Inland Coast."


Once upon a time Big Break was an upland farm, now submerged. This is a small bay or estuary at the bottom of the San Joaquin River and is situated in the region where salty seawater meets snowmelt and runoff from the mountains of Sierra Nevada. The mixing of salty and fresh water results in an "edge effect" which increases the diversity of habitat and species. Big Break is a fine place for a wide range of species, especially birds and fish, to stay or stop.


Big Break is home to 70 bird species, and many animal species. Twenty-seven wildlife species of special status have the potential for occurrence within the parkland; six wildlife species of special status are confirmed to occur. The nesting of black rails, northern harriers, white-tailed kites, and yellow-breasted chats are confirmed or presumed. Many wading birds like great blue herons, great egrets, snowy egrets, green herons, and white-faced ibis, forage in tidal sloughs and marshes of freshwater. Those areas also provide habitat for Special Concerned Western Pond Turtles, a California species. Big Break is an ideal breeding site for turtles, and females will lay their eggs in the sandy banks and well drained upland soils. The coastal sloughs, freshwater wetlands, and riparian areas also provide important habitat for beavers, muskrats, and river otters that forage at Big Break and probably den.


First settlers of the region were Native American tribes who have lived in the Bay Area for the last 10,000 years. In 1772 Spanish explorers arrived, and in 1832, French trappers arrived, attracted to the same abundant wildlife which the Americans had maintained. They were gathering beaver pelts for the European tophat trade. Mountain men like Jedediah Smith explored the region, and after building the first railroad tracks through the Sierra Nevada, the Chinese established farming levées in the Delta. Portuguese, Italian, Dutch and other nationalities have also been drawn into the area. Seagoing ships sailed the rivers carrying supplies, tallows, and furs that were exported.


The California Gold Rush has significantly transformed the entire Delta, driving the settlement of the Delta and the extensive land reclamation that changed the ecosystem of the Delta area. Forty-Niners, who were defeated, returned to the Motherlode Delta to cultivate the fertile soils. They had built makeshift levees because of the annual floods. The clamshell dredge allowed farmers to erect more stable and extensive levees in the 1870s.


In 1930, the reconstruction of Delta was nearly complete, with some 57 man-made islands occupying 550,000 hectares. Agriculture is the primary land use to this day, particularly the production of dry grains, asparagus, and other specialty crops. The name "Big Break" derives from a 1928 split in the levee that separated the San Joaquin River and Dutch Slough asparagus farm from that.

Ocean Rocks

This amazing attraction is located near the following parks in Oakley, California:


  • Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge

  • Nunn-Wilson Family Park

  • Antioch Bridge

  • Antioch/Oakley Regional Shoreline 

  • Contra Costa Canal

  • Sherman Island

  • Pistachio Park


And of course, if you are in need of an amazing dentist, call Balfour Dental today or stop by for a visit at our office located at 100 Cortona Way!