Where you stay when visiting Yosemite National Park makes all the difference. With nearly 1,500 square miles of terrain to explore, finding the right base camp can go a long way towards maximizing your vacation joy. We’re here to help you find that happy hub. For a great place to stay, look no further than the town of Mariposa.
This Yosemite gateway buzzes with Gold Rush glitter and grit, small-town charm, and country comforts. Discover an expansive range of accommodations, great dining options, shopping, and delightful diversions, all within steps of your front door. And the main event, Yosemite Valley, is just over 40 scenic miles away up the beautiful Merced River Canyon via All-Season Highway 140.
Perfect Places: Where to Stay
Not only is Mariposa where you’ll find the richest range of destination amenities in Yosemite Mariposa County, but it also boasts a variety of lodging styles and price points whether that’s at a hotel, inn, or vacation rental cabin.
National brands? Check. The Quality Inn Yosemite Valley Gateway and Best Western Plus Yosemite Way Station offer a nice balance of value and extras like free breakfast, free parking, a pool, and a hot tub.
Historic and boutique properties? Mariposa has them too, including the Mariposa Hotel Inn overlooking the leafy Mariposa Creek Parkway in a building that dates way back to 1901, and the River Rock Inn, officially Mariposa’s oldest motel in a building that dates back to 1891 (though you wouldn’t guess it from the property’s recent renovation). The chill Sticks Coffee café is right next door.
Mariposa’s availability of vacation cabin rentals is exceptional and encompasses Airbnb, VRBO, and private management companies. These locally-owned properties are known for offering extra space, well-equipped kitchens, hot tubs, and more. The Main Street Boarding House is a shining five-star example, a remodeled historic home in the heart of Mariposa with two bedrooms, a huge kitchen for cooking and socializing, a fire pit, a running river fountain, and a hot tub bubbling in the back. The Loft at 1850 is another popular option, located on the second floor above the hoppy 1850 Restaurant & Brewery.
Local culture is a key variable for the best vacations. As the largest local town and county seat, Mariposa has that “it” factor. The local populace is a vibrant mix of flannel-lined denizens and newly minted foothill pioneers. Immersing in Mariposa’s rich leather and lace legacy is the perfect counterpoint to the outdoor recreation surrounding the town that draws visitors from far and near.
Mariposa is built on a bedrock of California history, with museums and historic landmarks to show for it. The Golden State’s official California State Mining & Mineral Museum is here, with sparkling artifacts including the Fricot Nugget, a 13-lb. chunk of crystalline gold discovered in 1849. The Yosemite Climbing Association Museum & Gallery and the Mariposa Museum and History Center are two additional must-sees.
That local “flavor” extends to dining as well. There’s a delectable range of restaurants to discover in Mariposa with menus ranging from ramen to ribeye, and almost every table is within walking distance of everything. At the table next to you could be a rock climber, ranger local rancher, artist, winemaker, or fellow traveler, all ready to share why Mariposa is such a special place to visit or call home.
Can’t-miss local spots in Mariposa to eat and drink include slurpilicious Little Shop of Ramen (try the citrusy Lemon Shia Ramen), country-chic Frederick’s of Savoury’s, and Happy Goat, a farm-to-table diner with dishes like the Country Nerd Mushroom Sando and the Hwy 140 Cubano. Local favorite 1850 Restaurant & Brewery is home of legendary mains like Tri-Tip and Smoked Rib Eye, well washed down with a pint of house-brewed Trail Blazer Pale Ale.
Music and nightlife, too. Get your groove on at The Grovehouse for food, drink, and music, or duck into The Alley for craft beer, local wine, pizza, and bands on the back patio stage. Up for a nightcap? Mariposa’s Hideout Saloon offers a truly eclectic spot for a tipple. And on the uphill edge of town, the apple orchards of Sierra Cider make for an inviting day trip and tasty tour.
Mariposa’s economy is buoyed by local merchants and artisans. Its authentic Gold Rush Main Street vibe fosters a shop-local showcase for “Made in Mariposa” products, from jewelry, home décor, and bath products to edible and drinkable delights, handmade apparel, hand-tooled footwear, and fine art. Pro tip: Amiable shopkeepers are always a fantastic resource for local intel on what to see and do in town. Make the most of Mariposa’s friendly locals and say hi!
Nativeearth is a company of craftspeople making artisan footwear and accessories with old-school elan. Visit their Mariposa factory and shop to discover handmade shoes, boots, slides, and sandals.
Brick Wall Boutique offers on-trend threads, vintage finds, and handmade accessories in a historic building downtown. Okie-Dokie is another perfect example of how shopping in Mariposa is equal parts discovery and delight. Handmade leather goods, pottery, specialty foods, and bespoke home accessories fill the shelves of this light-filled shop just off Highway 140.
Winter, spring, summer, and fall – Mariposa is your four-season gateway to all the wonders Yosemite Mariposa County has to offer. Too many travelers drive through in a rush to reach the Park. It’s worth a brake-tap to discover what’s here and better yet, make Mariposa your all-season Yosemite base camp. Don’t feel like driving to the Park? There’s direct service from Mariposa up to Yosemite Valley via YARTS, Yosemite’s cushy public transportation option. Start your journey at Yosemite.com, check out the digital Vacation Planner, and away you’ll go.