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10 Reasons to Plan a Family Holiday in Mariposa County

By Natalie Zensius

The following article is the first of many to come, written by a local expert who can provide an authentic and unique perspective of the Yosemite Mariposa County destination.

Vacation Rental Mariposa

Copperlodge Vacation Rental

When guests choose our vacation rental home in Mariposa, California, most do so because of its close proximity to Yosemite National Park. Yet they often tell me upon departure that they wished they’d had more time to enjoy our house, property and the surrounding area. They’ve come to realize that in addition to Mariposa County being home to Yosemite–one of the most desired tourist locations in the world–it’s also a worthwhile destination unto itself.

The holidays commemorate a coming together with friends and family to appreciate life’s gifts and enjoy quality time. It also happens to be a magical time to be in the Sierra Nevada foothills. So, why not combine the two? Here are 10 reasons why you should consider a “staycation” at a vacation rental in Mariposa County for your upcoming celebration.

  1. Reduce the stress of hosting
    When families gather for the long weekend, every minute counts. On top of shopping and cooking, it takes a lot to prepare a home for guests. At a vacation rental home, everything is already clean, organized and ready to go, leaving you with more time for things you’d rather be doing, such as being outdoors or relaxing inside. Plus, at the end of the gathering, someone else takes care of the cleaning for you.

Tip: Ask your host to provide you with an inventory of serving dishes, utensils, kitchen supplies and tools. They should also be able to tell you what cooking basics are on hand, such as herbs, spices, and condiments. This tip is especially helpful for the food-focused Thanksgiving celebration!

  1. Make room for everyone
    Packing everyone in for the holidays can get tight. If you don’t have room in your own place, a vacation rental that’s big enough for your whole group might be the answer. There are around 600 vacation rentals in Mariposa County, ranging in size from romantic hideaways for two, to large compounds that can accommodate a multiple family get together. With a large variety of different vacation rental options, you’re sure to find something that will make the whole family happy.
Vacation Rental Mariposa

Copperlodge Vacation Rental

Tip: Check your host’s listing to make sure they are able to accommodate your group. Also, review photos to see sleeping configurations and how the house balances togetherness and privacy.

  1. Keep your own kitchen spotless
    With a vacation rental, you get the best of both worlds–collaborating on a home-cooked holiday feast, while leaving your personal kitchen mess-free. And if you don’t feel like cooking at all, there are lots of places in Mariposa, the surrounding areas, and the park, that are open and serve delicious meals during the holiday. Find special fall and winter meals along with things to do in our posts: Fall Festivities & Holiday Events.

Tip: Ask your host to provide you with Mariposa’s grocery stores and holiday hours, as well as a list of restaurants in the area with their hours. You can also see a schedule of Mariposa County and Yosemite events here.

  1. Include your pets
    If you have to leave a beloved furry family member behind, visiting family over the holidays can be problematic (and costly). Many vacation rentals in Mariposa are set up to be pet-friendly so that your pets won’t get left out of the festivities.

Tip: Check with your host to see if they welcome pets and if they require an additional deposit for doing so. Consider bringing extra towels and blankets for wiping off muddy paws.

  1. Change things up
    Doing the same routine every year can get stale. Perhaps you live in an apartment, or your home has a small yard and you want a new experience. Most of the vacation rentals in Mariposa County are on acreage, so there’s room to roam and explore (and get some emotional space if you need it!). Many have breathtaking views, some sit on lakes, some are in the oaks or the pine trees, and many are within or close to town.

Tip: Check out each listing to see pictures and descriptions of what the property offers. Use the search filters on Airbnb or VRBO to find the kind of home and experience you’re looking for.

Mariposa, Main Street

  1. Enjoy the romance of the holidays in a real mountain town
    Mariposa stays alive and vibrant during long weekends and the holiday season. What better way to get in the spirit by getting an early start to holiday shopping on Main Street, seeing some live music, checking out the festivities at one of the restaurants in town or sampling locally made craft beer, cider, wine, and even olive oil.

Tip: Visit the Mariposa Chamber of Commerce website to see a directory of local businesses. Also check out Made in Mariposa, for a list of locally produced artisanal gift ideas.

  1. No need to go into the Park (unless you want to)
    While many folks visit Yosemite in summer, it’s fantastic to experience the valley in any season. Fall and winter are particularly beautiful and peaceful. The weather is still mild in the fall and great for hiking and climbing, but the air becomes crisp and clear. As fall begins to progress into early winter, waterfalls start to flow again, rejuvenated by the rain and snow. That same moisture simultaneously amplifies a classic pine tree aroma to pair with the smell of campfires nearby.

Tip: Do an outdoor activity you like in the morning, then visit the The Ahwahnee Hotel and relax in front of the massive stone fireplaces with a book and a warm beverage.

  1. More rental options
    Perhaps, like many of our guests, you’ve already been to Yosemite. All vacation rentals in Mariposa County are within reasonable proximity of the park, but not having to focus on traveling back and forth every day opens up additional options to rent vacation rentals that are interesting just on their own merits, and are now more likely to be available because it’s not the tourist high season.

Tip: This lodging link gives a good overview of available vacation rentals in each part of the county.

  1. Get your nature on
    You don’t have to go far to see beautiful scenery and views. They can likely be found right at your vacation rental home, just by walking around the property. Weather permitting, there are also many hikes and biking trails to enjoy throughout Mariposa County that are spectacular. Check out the Stockton Creek trails just behind the town of Mariposa.

    Stockton Creek Preserve

    Stockton Creek Preserve / Photo Credit: David Hunter

Tip: Mariposa Hiking Adventures: Day Hikes in the Foothills near Yosemite National Park can help you find wonderful trails in Mariposa County. Each hike described includes the location, difficulty, length, elevations and approximate time it takes to walk round-trip.

Vacation Rental Mariposa

Copperlodge Vacation Rental

  1. Slow it down
    The holidays present a dizzying array of demands, but life still moves at a more leisurely pace in Mariposa County. Many vacation rental homes have bocce ball courts, table tennis, corn hole, and other outdoor games. Some have hot tubs and saunas. Most come with books, board games, fireplaces–either inside and out–and movies to watch. Whatever your relaxation speed, you can dial things down here to find it.

Tip: Most of Mariposa County is low enough in elevation that it often has mild weather in the fall, enabling you to be outside with ease during the day. Bring a variety of clothing you can layer, plus waterproof boots, to offset cool or wet weather so you can be comfortable.

The Bottom Line
Mariposa County has a wide variety of vacation rentals that are not only the ideal base camp for a visit to Yosemite National Park, but there are great places for you to make memories with your family and friends this fall and winter holiday season in a beautiful Sierra foothill setting.

Natalie Zensius, and her husband Jon, own Copperlodge vacation rental. When not renting it out, they spend as much time with family and friends there as possible. Copperlodge is located in Mariposa, CA.Natalie and Jon Zensius

For a complete listing of vacation rentals click here.

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