Discovery Bay

My sister and brother-in-law sold their home in Dublin, CA and moved to Discovery Bay. Discovery Bay; sounds like a place where children learn about the wonders of science. But no, it's an upscale waterfront community located in extreme eastern Contra Costa County, California in the United States. It is situated approximately 60 miles (97 km) east northeast of San Francisco. As with many homes, my sister’s place has a private dock with access to the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. My brother keeps a boat there.

Discovery Bay Yacht Sales image

Their home is spacious and beautiful. We’ve had the pleasure of spending time there on a couple of occasions. I like it so much, I did a bit of research on the area. Here’s what I found:

The Delta

The Delta region is comprised of over 1,200 miles of waterways protected by over 1,000 miles of levees.  The area is enjoyed and relied on by those seeking the rich agriculture of the region.

In 1839, John Sutter and 13 others traveled the delta region in search of settlement opportunities for others migrating from Europe. The group navigated the Delta waters, departing from Yerba Buena (San Francisco) and after 12 days they met up with the American River, making land at what would eventually become the capitol city (Sacramento).

During the Gold Rush period beginning in 1848, James Marshall—and then later thousands of others—set off to find gold in California. Voyages from Europe often took six months before making port in San Francisco. During this time, paddlewheel vessels traveled on the Delta waters from San Francisco, bringing the ‘49ers to the Northern California region now referred to as “The Gold Country.” 

In 1850, the Swamp and Overflow Land Act resulted in the transfer of ownership of all swamp and overflow land from the federal government to the State of California—including Delta marshes. By 1871, most of the area was privately owned and developers began working on a levee system that turned out to be inadequate protection. Larger levees were constructed via steam-powered dredges and then later with a clamshell-type dredge. After World War I, nearly all of the Delta marshes had been reclaimed and the large tidal marsh had become the waterways and islands that we see today.

The area is sought after for its leisurely living and recreational opportunities. The Delta also is an essential habitat for fish and wildlife. Those interested in learning more about the Delta’s historical significance visit Old Sacramento, home of the Sacramento History Museum and the California State Railroad Museum, as well as nearby Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park.


The city of Discovery Bay has a short history. It began as a planned community in 1964, and was originally designated as "Riverside" and "River Lake." It was built on land known as the Byron Tract, which was previously used for growing barley and potatoes. In 1968, Jurgen Lunding led an effort to give the community its current name.

In July 2007, Discovery Bay received its own ZIP code: 94505. Formerly it had shared 94514 with Byron.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 7.0 square miles (18 km2), of which, 6.2 square miles (16 km2) of it is land and 0.8 square miles (2.1 km2) of it (11.7%) is water.


The Town of Discovery Bay Community Services District (CSD) serves as Discovery Bay's local government. Its primary duties are handling water, sewer, landscaping and recreation. The CSD Board has five members that are elected by community residents. While the CSD Board has no land use or zoning authority, the CSD can advise the County on decisions related to police and fire services, residential and commercial development and more.

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