Explore this beautiful area near Yosemite for a taste of California culture.
1. 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.
More info: www.yosemite.com/autocamp-yosemite
2. 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.
More info: www.yosemite.com/be-brave-skydive-yosemite
3. Brick Wall Boutique
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.
4. Charles Street Dinner House
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 house-ground beef, topped with American cheese, grilled onions, a secret sauce and Dijon mustard on a Jantz Bakery bun.
5. Casto Oaks Fine Wine and Art
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.
6. Mariposa Museum and History Center
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.
7. CostaLivos Mountain Gold Olive Oil Tasting Room and Gift Shop
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.
8. California State Mining and Mineral Museum
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.
9. Epic Alpacas
Why go: This downtown store sells sweaters and other goods made from alpaca wool from the state's largest alpaca farm, which is east of Mariposa.
Tip: Even in the heat of the summer, consider purchasing a sweater, which may be the softest item you ever wear.
10. 1850 Restaurant + Brewing Co.
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.
11. Airborrn Aviation Services
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.
12. 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.
13. Yosemite Ziplines & Adventure Ranch
Why go: Get your adrenaline flowing in this two-hour, guide-led zipline tour in Mariposa.
Tip: Participants must weigh over 60 pounds and less than 250 to do the zipline. Other activities include gold panning and a ropes course.
For more information:
Yosemite Mariposa Tourism Bureau
(866) HALF-DOME or (866) 425-3366
5320 State Hwy. 49 North, Mariposa, CA 95338