Modesto is located in the heart of California's central San Joaquin Valley just off Highway 99, a mid-sized city of more than 210,000 that continues to expand apace. Surrounded by fertile farmlands and orchards known for their dairy products, fruits and nuts respectively, Modesto feels little like a major city and more like one big extended suburb, with a growing population of die-hard commuters (that brave traffic daily to reach jobs in the Silicon Valley, Oakland and San Francisco) to supplement the locally employed population base. While not known as a tourist destination per se, it is a relatively convenient springboard for major houseboating lakes to the east like New Melones and Don Pedro or natural attractions like Yosemite National Park.
Should you in fact find yourself in town for any period of time, consider a drive through the outlying orchards (best in spring) or a tour of local sights like McHenry Mansion, George Lucas Plaza and Modesto's modest downtown. If you're in search of a broader selection of cultural attractions, consider a trip 75 miles north to Sacramento, the state's capital city, or 90 miles west (outside of peak commuting hours preferably) to the Bay Area.
Modesto is in Central California, south of Sacramento, east of the Bay Area and west of Yosemite National Park.