Stops on the Way to Yosemite

Our top picks for nearby towns and attractions to visit for the best outdoor activities, sightseeing, cultural attractions, dining, and more.

The Methuselah Tree near Bishop, Calif. Photo by Chao Yen via Flickr

Bishop County, Calif. – The Other Side of Yosemite

On the Eastern Sierra between Yosemite and Death Valley, walk among ancient trees, go trout fishing, and relax in a small town with down-to-earth people. Read More...

Wine tasting at Standing Sun Wines. Photo courtesy of Buellton Visitors Bureau

Buellton, California – Top 7 Things to Do

Peel off the coastal Hwy. 101 to a town made famous by the film Sideways that follows two men on a weeklong vacation in wine country. Read More...

Big Sur on California's Central Coast

California’s Central Coast – The Original Road Trip

Boasting 350 miles of coastline, the Central Coast stretches from Ventura County just north of Los Angeles to Santa Clara County south of San Francisco. Read More...

Phil McGrath in the fields. Photo courtesy of McGrath Family Farms

Camarillo, Calif. – Pick Produce and Pay Tribute to a President

Pick your own strawberries, tomatoes, winter squash or pumpkins, then go see a piece of the Berlin Wall and a replica of the Oval Office. Read More...

The sun sets over a tractor in the fields outside of Visalia, Calif. Photo by Troy Williams via Flickr

Fields of Dreams Border Sequoia and Kings Canyon

Discover more than the biggest trees and the tallest mountains. Find out how the areas nestled against Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks feed the world. Read More...

The Pyro Chefs in Gourmet Alley serve up sizzling calamari at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. Courtesy photo

Gilroy, CA – Garlic Capital

The annual Gilroy Garlic Festival has grown into one of the nation’s most famous food fests. Also visit historic buildings and Gilroy Gardens Theme Park. Read More...

The sunrises over South Lake in Inyo County, Calif. Courtesy photo

Inyo County, 3 Museum Stops in the Land of Extremes

Inyo County claims the highest and lowest points in the lower 48. Stop at a WWII internment camp, read tales of local mountaineer, and see restored trains. Read More...

Vineyards near Lodi, California. Photo courtesy of Visit Lodi!

Lodi, Calif. – Behind the Wine

With 85 wineries and more than 300 labels, Lodi knows a thing or two about wine. But our story only starts there. They’re also a favorite for lovers of the outdoors and food. Read More...

Flower fields in Lompoc, Calif. Photo by Chelsea Cochran courtesy of Lompoc Valley Chaber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau

Lompoc, Calif. is a Walk in the Park

From wine to La Purisima Mission State Historical Park, Lompoc offers an authentic taste of the area. Stroll down Art Alley through 30 outdoor murals. Read More...

"Welcome Fisherman, Hunters, and Other Liars" greets customers to Manteca's Bass Pro Shop. Photo by Orin Zebest via Flickr

Manteca, California’s Artsy History

Alongside redwood forests on the way to Yosemite, stroll among 30 giant murals, shop in a museum-like outdoor store, and learn about a sugary town history. Read More...

A classic car show and cruise in Modesto, California. Courtesy photo

Modesto, CA – Classic Car Cruising Capital

World-class entertainment, a vibrant art scene, and rich with local history and contemporary attractions. Read More...

Mono Lake State Tufa Reserve is home to Gulls, Loons, Osprey, and other waterfowl.

Mono County – Lake Tufas, Devil’s Postpile, and Ghost Town

Just 12 breathtaking miles from Yosemite’s East Entrance. The “East Side” of Yosemite with its towns of Lee Vining and Mammoth Lakes has unique attractions. Read More...

Roping competition at the Oakdale Rodeo. Photo by Micadew via Flickr

Oakdale, Calif. is hailed the Cowboy Capitol of the World

Turn off the main strip to explore the historic downtown. Start at the Cowboy Museum, then learn about or experience a rodeo. End the day at the H Bar B. Read More...

Pismo Beach Sunset on Pier

Pismo Beach, Calif. has Waves and Butterflies

Enjoy a sunset stroll on the boardwalk and pier in this classic California beach town. In winter, see the migration of thousands of monarch butterflies. Read More...

Petroglyphs near Ridgecrest, California. Courtesy photo

Ridgecrest, CA – Ghost Towns, Naval Museum & Petroglyphs

The most fun route between Yosemite and Death Valley goes through Ridgecrest, California.. Read More...

Sacramento RiverTrain. Courtesy photo

Sacramento RiverTrain

Taste local wines, sample some of Northern California’s best craft brews or experience a Wild West train robbery aboard the Sacramento RiverTrain. Read More...

Baker Beach near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Photo by Grant Ordelheide

San Francisco, CA – 12 Fun Things to Do

See bison in Golden Gate Park, tour the famous Alcatraz prison, cruise in the bay, and meet sea life at the aquarium before heading to Yosemite. Read More...

Stroll through a California vineyard. Photo by Jeff Dow courtesy of Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce

Santa Maria Valley – BBQ and a Lost City

Savor our legendary Santa Maria-style barbecue and acclaimed wines along our friendly winery trail. Then discover the movie set buried under the sand. Read More...

Some of the 90 statues at Stockton's Cambodian Buddhist temple. Photo by Wes Rea courtesy of Visit Stockton

Stockton, Calif. – Stock Up On Art and Food

A 2-hour drive to the park, Stockton is an ideal launching point to Yosemite. See the Buddhist temple, Haggin Museum, farmer’s market and the waterfront. Read More...

Fog on Mt. Diablo at sunrise. Photo courtesy of Visit Tri-Valley

Tri-Valley’s Wine and Beer Trails near San Francisco

30 miles east of San Francisco, Tri-Valley enjoys an average of 264 days of sunshine a year. Sip on California wines or sample at 10 stops on the Beer Trail. Read More...

Groveland's Iron Door Saloon and The Groveland Hotel. Photo by Grant Ordelheide

Tuolumne County – 8 Things to Do in Yosemite Gold Country

More than half of Yosemite is in Tuolumne County, where visitors will also find rich and colorful Gold Rush history, High Sierra vistas, and state parks. Read More...