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Stay, Work, Rest and Play in Yosemite Mariposa County: Things to Do

Yosemite Falls with laptop

What does your office look like today? ATT and Verizon data is available in Yosemite Valley.
Photo: Theresa Ho

You’ve lost track of how long you’ve been working from home. The kids are getting antsy as they attend their new classroom (AKA the kitchen). The house is feeling cramped as everyone beings to feel closed in.

But it doesn’t have to be that way! Trade in the shut-in feeling for the wide-open spaces of Yosemite Mariposa County where the ability to work and study meet in beautiful harmony with the great outdoors and Yosemite National Park.

There are countless reasons to relocate your family pod to Yosemite Mariposa County for a longer stay where you can work and play. This region is filled with healthy outdoor activities, history, culture, and wide-open spaces to roam and explore. Getting the kids (and adults) engaged intangible things stirs the curiosity, fires the imagination, and makes learning fun.

This is especially true if you are one of the many people exploring new remote work and education situations.

Replace screen time with scene time in Yosemite Mariposa County.

People on the deck at a Yosemite cabin

Step out of the routine and enjoy some outdoor time on the deck of a Yosemite vacation rental cabin.
Photo: Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite

It may not be easy to completely escape the responsibilities of the working world. Online learning obligations require a certain amount of connectivity. But what about those in-between times?

Research shows that spending time in nature can decrease stress, increase happiness, promote creativity, and even make you and those around you nicer people. Who couldn’t use a little more of that these days?

In Yosemite Mariposa County you are literally surrounded by nature.

Wake up in the mountains to the warm light of the sun streaming over the hills. Mix up your routine and take the time to enjoy your morning coffee on the deck of your Yosemite cabin rental amidst a pine-scented forest. Take a lunch break with a picnic by the Merced Wild and Scenic River. Then spend the evening and weekends exploring the trails or learning something new about the wide world around you.

You can find places to hike within a few minutes of your front door, regardless of where you choose to stay. Plus, it’s easy to make the drive into Yosemite National Park and all of the world-famous hiking and scenery there.

Pro tip: Look for communities with better internet and cell phone access. This may be the mountains, but internet access in many places is still good enough for streaming video and Zoom calls. Be sure to ask about connectivity before you book, and be cautious of high-latency satellite internet if you need to have real-time online meetings.

Try any number of great activities that will reconnect you with the natural world – horseback riding, biking, rock climbing, or fishing. You can even try skydiving – a thrill that goes far beyond any rollercoaster ride, with literally a bird’s eye view of Half Dome as a bonus.

Get out there and enjoy!

Mother and child in Yosemite Valley

Experience the joy of spending time in Yosemite Mariposa County.
Photo: Nancy Robbins Photography

Lessons From the Great Outdoors

In addition to providing ample recreation, Mother Nature is an amazing teacher. Real-life experiences inspire curiosity and a love of learning.

For a deluxe experience, sign up for a program like The Family Camp program by NatureBridge. NatureBridge has been introducing students to environmental education for generations, with the expertise and lesson plans to match.

With all the resources and activities in Yosemite Mariposa County, you’ll find it easy to craft a fun and mind-expanding trip on your own too.

 

History –

Family exploring mining equipment at the Mariposa History Center

Bring history to life at museums in Yosemite Mariposa County.

No more dull memorizing of dates and names. Yosemite Mariposa County brings history to life with exquisite detail.

You might start by reserving a place to stay in one of the historic towns surrounding Yosemite, like Mariposa or Coulterville. See for yourself what life might have been like during the gold rush era at the Mariposa Museum and History Center or the Northern Mariposa County History Center. Experience the hopes and excitement of the gold rush as you learn how to pan for gold. Imagine what it might have been like to bump down dusty roads into Yosemite on one of the stagecoaches at the Pioneer History Center in Wawona. The windows of historic buildings present views into what pioneer life was like at the turn of the century. The Yosemite Museum in Yosemite Valley highlights the history and culture of the Miwuk tribe who lived in this region long before white people settled here. Discover plants they used to make arrow shafts, baskets, and rope.

Geology –

Fricot Gold Nugget at the Mining & Mineral Museum

Imagine finding this 1.3-pound nugget of gold. See it at the California Mining and Mineral Museum.

Stop in at the California State Mining and Mineral Museum in Mariposa to admire some of the colorful and fascinating minerals you might come across in your other wanderings. You won’t want to miss seeing the Fricot Nugget – a 13.8-pound single nugget of crystalline gold along with more historic mining equipment. (Note: the California State Mining and Mineral Museum closed in 2020 due to COVID-19.)

Pick up Geology Underfoot in Yosemite National Park by Allen Glazner and Greg Stock. This remarkably accessible book highlights the landscape features you’ll discover on specific hikes or simply looking out across Yosemite’s iconic cliffs.

Ecology –

American dipper

Keep an eye open for wildlife, like this American dipper. These birds live in rushing water. You might notice them doing their characteristic bobbing dance by the edge of a stream.

What better place to learn about the natural world and how interlinked we are with our environment and other living things than Yosemite? The Laws Field Guide to the Sierra Nevada is a portable field guide popular among local park rangers. You can use it to identify everything from trees and flowers to insects, birds, and mammals.

Astronomy –

Star gazing at Glacier Point

Take advantage of the dark night skies to learn a little astronomy.
Photo: Yosemite Hospitality

Take advantage of the dark night skies to go stargazing. On a clear night, the Milky Way earns its name in a clear path of light across the sky. If you’re lucky, you may be able to join a starry skies naturalist program, but even if you can’t, you can grab a star chart or app. Learn the Greek and Roman myths represented in various constellations or make up your own stories and constellations.

Writing and Art –

Ditch the Zoom meetings for a moment and zoom in on the natural world around you with art and writing projects.  You’ll notice more detail, and make connections that you might have missed otherwise.  You don’t need to be an amazing artist or a Nobel Prize-winning poet to create something personal, remarkable, and memorable. Looking for inspiration? Try a few of these outdoor art activities.

If nothing else, you will have a unique and personal record of the special time spent in a beautiful place.

Become a Junior Ranger –

Junior Ranger badges on a vest

Become a Junior Ranger at Yosemite National Park. It’s not just for kids!
Photo: Theresa Ho

Overall, the most important thing you can take from spending time in nature is an appreciation for our wild places and a sense both of belonging and stewardship.

There is no upper age limit on becoming a Junior Ranger.  Although they are kid-appropriate, the exercises in the Junior Ranger books open the door to learning for people of all ages. You’ll learn to look carefully, and think about how your actions impact the natural world. There are lessons on ways to understand and protect wildlife. Review practices to minimize our negative impacts on fragile ecosystems, and maybe pick up some new tips. There is even an opportunity to give back to this beautiful natural space by spending a few minutes picking up trash while you go about your day.

A Friend Request

Hopefully, you’ll be able to join us here in Yosemite Mariposa County soon to take in all the amazing benefits this region has to offer.

In the meantime, feel free to connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube for more information and ideas for planning your upcoming visit. Got a question? We’re happy to help.

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