Gateway Towns

13 Gems in Mariposa County on the Edge of Yosemite

Explore this beautiful area near Yosemite for a taste of California culture.  

Do an olive oil tasting, stay in an Airstream, take a scenic flight plus 10 more things in this charming historic area of Mariposa County on the west side of Yosemite National Park.

1. AutoCamp Yosemite

AutoCamp Yosemite Airstream Interior near Mariposa
Stay in a custom Airstream cabinPhoto by Thomas J Story courtesy of AutoCamp Yosemite

Why go: See the area’s newest, hip lodging and stay in custom Airstreams with spa-inspired bathrooms, cabins with modern interiors and kitchens or rough it a little in tents with wood-burning stoves. Avoid the hassle of parking and driving by taking the daily YARTS shuttle from here directly to Yosemite National Park. That means less time in traffic and more time in AutoCamp’s heated pool when you get back from Yosemite

Tip: Whether it’s a cool Airstream at Autocamp Yosemite, groovy digs at the Yosemite Bug Rustic Mountain Resort or resort luxury at Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite, there are hundreds of unique lodging opportunities near Yosemite National Park. Staying outside of Yosemite helps your vacation dollars go farther, and it’s often easier to get a hotel room in towns like Mariposa and Midpines than in the park.

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2. Skydive Yosemite

Tandem skydiving with Skydive Yosemite in Mariposa County
Tandem skydiving with Skydive Yosemite Photo: Skydive Yosemite

Why go: Fly over Yosemite Valley and catch spectacular views of Half Dome and El Capitan. Since it is illegal to land in Yosemite, your jump from the plane will not take place in the park. As you fly through the air, look for Half Dome and El Capitan. You’ll land safely at the Mariposa-Yosemite Airport, next to where the check in office is located.

Tip: If skydiving is not for you, soar over El Capitan and Half Dome far above the crowds in a Cessna with Airborrn Aviation Services. See item no. 11.

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3. Brick Wall Boutique

Brick Wall Boutique in downtown Mariposa, Calif.
Shoppers stop in MariposaYosemite Mariposa Tourism Bureau

Why go: Find unique shoes, dresses, tops and home goods at this boutique in historic Mariposa. Dating back to the 1850s, the Bogan & Company building has been a centerpiece in town, housing a general merchandise store in its early days. Since those early days, it has housed a bank, restaurant and barber shop.

Tip: Downtown Mariposa has a number of boutiques lining it. But if you drive a few minutes from downtown, you’ll discover NativeEarth where you’ll find locally made leather boots and shoes.

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4. Charles Street Dinner House

Charles Street Dinner House in Mariposa, Calif.
Chicken Caesar Salad at Charles StreetYosemite Mariposa Tourism Bureau

Why go: This local favorite is easy to find since it is at the corner of 7th Street and Hwy. 140, the same road leading to Yosemite.

Tip: Order the Charles Street Burger made with a steak-quality burger, topped with American cheese, grilled onions, a secret sauce and Dijon mustard on a Jantz Bakery bun.

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5. Casto Oaks Fine Wine and Art

Casto Oaks Wine in Mariposa, Calif.
Photo courtesy Casto Oaks Wine

Why go: Family-run by Kris Casto and grandson/head winemaker Jason Smith, Casto Oaks has a tasting room and winery. Stop in to taste their Syrahs, Zinfandels, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah Port.

Trivia: Kris and Jason maintain the vines by hand every year. They produce 800-1,300 cases per year.

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6. Mariposa Museum and History Center

Mariposa History Museum near Yosemite National Park
Museum exhibitYosemite Mariposa Tourism Bureau

Why go: Discover the stories behind this beautiful area, including artifacts from the Miwok people, Chinese immigrants and settlers who mined gold and worked in the mining camps.

Tip: Call (209) 966-2924 in advance to arrange a tour of the blacksmith shop and to pan for gold.

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7. CostaLivos Mountain Gold Olive Oil Tasting Room and Gift Shop

Costalivos Mountain Gold Olive Oil in downtown Mariposa, Calif.
Costalivos Mountain Gold Olive OilPhoto courtesy Yosemite Mariposa County Tourism Bureau

Why go: Family-run by Don and Kim Costa, this tasting room in Mariposa serves and sells locally made olive oils and vinegars. The shop is a favorite of foodies and a great experience for those who have never done an olive oil tasting.

Tip: Try the jalapeño olive oil and the blackberry balsamic vinegar.

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8. California State Mining and Mineral Museum

California State Mining and Mineral Museum in Mariposa, Calif.
California State Mining and Mineral MuseumPhoto courtesy of Yosemite Mariposa County Tourism Bureau

Why go: Discover the stories behind California’s mineral wealth. You’ll see more than 13,000 gems in this interactive museum.

Tip: Don’t miss the Fricot Nugget that weighs a whopping 13.8 pounds. It’s the largest remaining intact mass of crystalline gold dating to the California Gold Rush. Back in the day, nuggets this size were melted down right away.

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9. 1850 Restaurant + Brewing Co.

Best burger in Mariposa County at 1850 Restaurant + Brewing Co.
Best burger in the county at 1850 Restaurant + Brewing Co.Photo courtesy of Yosemite Mariposa County Tourism Bureau

Why go: Entrepreneurs Jake and Hanna Wackerman opened this Mariposa restaurant in 2013. It serves hand-cut steaks, burgers, locally sourced veggies and craft brews.

Tip: Order a burger as this restaurant has won the “best burger in the county” award.

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10. Airborrn Aviation Services

Airplane tour over Yosemite with Airborrn Aviation
Airplane tour over Yosemite with Airborrn AviationPhoto courtesy of Yosemite Mariposa County Tourism Bureau

Why go: Soar over El Capitan and Half Dome far above the crowds in a Cessna.

Tip: Plan ahead since tours can accommodate a maximum of three passengers per flight. Tours start at $199/passenger and take off from the Mariposa/Yosemite Airport several miles from Mariposa.

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11. Tenaya Lodge

Dawn at the pools of Tenaya Lodge. Courtesy photo
Dawn at the pools of Tenaya Lodge. Photo courtesy of Tenaya Lodge

Why go: Close to Yosemite’s South Entrance, the four-star Tenaya Lodge in Fish Camp, Calif., offers a full resort experience for those looking for an upscale vacation, including a spa, pool, a range of dining options and local guides who’ll show you the best of the park.

Tip: Take a dip in the resort’s gorgeous pool.

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12. Yosemite Ziplines & Adventure Ranch

Ziplining with Yosemite Zipline and Adventure Ranch. Courtesy photo
Ziplining near YosemitePhoto courtesy of Yosemite Zipline and Adventure Ranch

Why go: Get your adrenaline flowing in this two-hour, guide-led zipline tour in Mariposa. As of September 2021, this zipline was closed but go to the website below for up-to-date information.

Tip: Participants must weigh over 60 pounds and less than 250 to do the zipline. Other activities include gold panning and a ropes course.

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13. Yosemite Climbing Museum

Yosemite Climbing Museum in Mariposa, Calif.
Yosemite Climbing Museum (Photo: Courtesy Yosemite Mariposa County Tourism Bureau)

Why go: The Yosemite Climbing Museum and Gallery in Mariposa, California features artists, amazing artifacts and photographs about the evolution of climbing and gear over time, as well as the history of climbing.

Tip: You can opt for a guided tour by contacting the museum by phone or email for availability and pricing at (209) 626-9789 or

For more information:
Yosemite Mariposa Tourism Bureau
(866) HALF-DOME or (866) 425-3366
5320 State Hwy. 49 North, Mariposa, CA 95338