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Escape the Pre-Holiday Madness to Yosemite Mariposa County

Let’s face it, 2020 has been a bummer. With election craziness, fires, smoke, working and studying from home – not to mention worrying when anyone near you coughs! It just hasn’t been a good time.

And if you’re like us, you flipped the calendar to November and thought two things: ‘I didn’t do anything fun this year’ and ‘the holidays got here fast’. During the pandemic, holiday shopping will be even more harrowing in the big cities.  Big office or neighborhood holiday parties aren’t happening. That typical metropolitan traffic, crowds, and long lines are the stuff of nightmares that you just want to run away from. It’s time to escape the hustle and bustle for something slower and quieter.

Here’s some good news! You can skip the pre-holiday madness of highly populated cities for some fun and wrap up the year in a more positive and serene way – a trip to Yosemite Mariposa County will salvage the year we’re all ready to forget!

Here are six reasons that you should get to Mariposa County to escape the pre-holiday madness of coastal cities.

1. Yosemite National Park is open, and reservations AREN’T required!

yosemite valley in the winter with snow caps

As of November 1st, limitations on Yosemite National Park have been lifted which means that one of the most magical times of year is open to explore. Yosemite between Thanksgiving and the traditional December holidays is especially quiet and peaceful. The snow begins to fall. The animals are easier to spot. And traditionally, visitation is light. These three things make the winter a favorite time to visit the park for Yosemite Mariposa County’s residents. Plus, the reservation system from the summer is gone which means the Park is wide open to explore.

2. Yosemite Mariposa County is among the safest destinations in California

Due to our county’s wide-open spaces and natural social distancing, Mariposa County has been able to keep its COVID cases low making it a safe place to visit. It also means there’s more to do here than many other California destinations. Our great museums to showcase the region’s rich Gold Rush history and the characters that made Yosemite and Mariposa County the place it is today. There’s no need to worry about shivering while you wait for your meal in a restaurant’s outdoor seating. Our restaurants are open for indoor dining and many have heated outdoor dining areas if you prefer that option. Plus, you can feel good about helping support small businesses that are going through a tough year.

Note: Please help us keep our case counts low by wearing a mask, social distancing and washing your hands when you visit. Even consider taking things a step further and make getting a COVID-19 test part of your trip-planning process to ensure you’re being a safe traveler.

 3. Getting here is probably easier than you think.

We hear two things from people when we talk about visiting in the winter. One, “isn’t Yosemite closed?” and two, “I don’t want to drive in the snow.” Fortunately, we have some good answers to share. Yosemite stays open year-round and you can easily avoid the snow. Highway 140, also known as the All-Weather Highway enters Yosemite Valley at low elevation – below 3,000 feet. Even better, Yosemite Valley is at 4,000 feet. In Yosemite Mariposa County you can get the best of both worlds. The towering walls of Yosemite Valley are dusted with snow at the top, while the Valley floor often stays dry. Yosemite Valley’s average high temperatures in November and December are in the mid-40’s to high-50’s and historically December sees an average of seven days of precipitation. At lower elevations in Mariposa, the average temps are even higher in mid-50’s to mid-’60s

Note: conditions in the mountains can change quickly in the winter. So be sure to have tire chains with you. A warm morning can sometimes turn into a snowy evening.

4. Shopping doesn’t have to be done online.

We’ve all heard horror stories about someone who made a purchase online like buying a sweater that showed up two-sizes too small or purchasing something on December 1st only to have it arrive on January 1st. In Mariposa, there are great opportunities to not only find a great, thoughtful gift for someone special but also support local artists. From paintings to photographs of Yosemite to handmade Jewelry; you’re bound to find a Made in Mariposa gift that is great for anyone.

5. There are great special offers on lodging.

If you’re looking for a place to stay in Yosemite, the High Sierra or in Mariposa Gold Country, our special offers page has something that you and your checkbook will love. If you’re looking for a free night at The Ahwahnee or Yosemite Valley Lodge, deals on a private cabin in Yosemite, or even specials at art galleries or on wine, you’ll find them on our page.

 6. No vacation time? No problem!

Hiking Yosemite in the snow is fun and relaxing.

Relaxing after hiking to Dewey Point in the snow

If not having time to take off or the kid’s distance learning is keeping you at home, we’ve got good news. In the internet age, working and learning can be done from anywhere. Mariposa County’s hotels, lodges and cabin rentals have high-speed internet that will allow for everyone to get their work done from anywhere. Then once the workday is done, outdoor adventure is waiting just outside the front door. Try a snowshoe hike to Dewey Point in the high country or build a snowman with the kids in Yosemite Valley.

Note: Call ahead to get an idea of what connectivity is like at your choice of lodging before you book.


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