Things to Do near Yosemite National Park
Hotel Charlotte is located in Groveland, CA, convenient to all of the best activities and vacation attractions surrounding nearby Yosemite National Park. There is never a shortage of fun to be had during your visit to the area and there really is something for everyone to enjoy.
EXPLORE THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Hotel Charlotte sits at the entryway to the beautiful Yosemite National Park. We are also a close drive from Stanislaus National Forest, Pine Mountain Lake, and Tuolumne River.
VISIT YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK
Yosemite National Park is the most sought-after attraction near Groveland, CA. Take a walking tour or backpack trip through the mountains and observe the beautiful rock formations. Take advantage of the Yosemite Area Regional Transit System (YARTS) from Groveland to Yosemite and throughout the park.
Yosemite National Park, one of the first wilderness parks in the United States, is best known for its waterfalls, but within its nearly 1,200 square miles, you can find deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, a vast wilderness area, and much more.
STANISLAUS NATIONAL FOREST
Welcome to the Stanislaus National Forest, where you can fish in over 800 miles of rivers and streams, stay in a campground, or hike into the backcountry seeking pristine solitude. You can swim near a sandy beach or wade into cold clear streams cooling your feet while lost in the beauty of nature, raft the exciting Tuolumne River, or canoe one of the many gorgeous lakes.
PINE MOUNTAIN LAKE
Pine Mountain Lake is a beautiful private community with oodles of resort-styled amenities including a golf course, tennis court, campgrounds, swimming pool, horse stables, country club, lake with beaches, boats, swimming, marina and fishing. Many of our guests stay with us as they spend time looking at property for their retirement home, second home, permanent home or just a get-away place. Located around the corner from us, we couldn’t be more conveniently located as a place to stay while you search for you next house!
TUOLUMNE RIVER RAFTING
Because we are located midway between the river’s put-in and take-out points, Hotel Charlotte is a great Tuolumne river rafting hotel choice. The Tuolumne river is designated a wild and scenic river and offers class IV+ white water rapids through the spring and Class IV in the summer. Cherry Creek, a northern fork to the Tuolumne runs Class V White water rapids and is for the experienced rafters. Most of the outfitters have departures on either river. Tuolumne trips can be from 1-3 days and Cherry a single day.
SEE YOSEMITE IN WINTER
There are plenty of things to do near Yosemite in the winter. When snow falls in Yosemite National Park, it becomes a winter wonderland. From snowshoeing and ice skating to the thrilling experience of downhill skiing, there’s nothing you can’t do in Yosemite in the winter.
Outdoor Activities near Groveland, CA
Walking Tours/Hiking/Backpacking – Yosemite features four guided walking tours including a bike tour, slow paced scenic tour, “The Story Within the Stone” Tour, and a longer adventure hike. Along with the wonderful walking tours, there are also opportunities for private hikes and backpacking trips to explore the many wonders Yosemite has to offer.
Shuttle Tours – Another great option for visiting Yosemite is to do so by shuttle tours. These include trips to the Valley Floor, Glacier Pont or Tuolumne Meadows. There are also some unique night tours – the Valley Moonlight Tour or the Glacier Point Stargazing Tour. Some of these tours can be taken one way, giving you a great opportunity to hike back.
Y*explore Yosemite Adventures – Custom guided Yosemite tours in every month (Adventure Hikes, Half Dome Hikes, Backpack Trips, Nature Walks, Birding, Snowshoeing, and Photo Workshops). We guarantee small group sizes for a personalized experience with professional local guides.
Lasting Adventures – Enjoy backpacking trips and day hikes through Yosemite National Park with experienced and credentialed guides. All of their guided hikes and backpacking trips help fund their outdoor youth camp and programs. So, these adventures are not only fun, but for a great cause!
Kids Adventures in Yosemite
For Kids – Yosemite is a great destination for children, offering programs like Wee Wild Ones Preschool Program, Junior Ranger Program, Story Time and Children’s Theatre.
Sequoia Big Trees
Visit the Sequoias! – See some of the tallest, biggest and oldest living trees in the world. Nearby there are three options, the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, Merced Grove, or Calaveras Big Trees.
DISCOVER LOCAL GOLD RUSH TOWNS
Explore the historic Gold Rush Towns near Groveland, CA. Visit these unique towns that started in the mid-1800s and still retain their Gold Rush charms today. Explore shops with authentic Gold Rush architecture, wineries, and restaurants.
Discover Local Gold Rush Towns
Columbia – Historic Gold Rush Town – Want to step back in time? Columbia is the perfect place to be enveloped in a quintessential Gold Rush experience. This town was established in 1850 when gold prospectors set up camp. It retains much of its Gold Rush charm thanks to shop keepers in traditional costume, a Main Street lined with authentic storefronts, and pedestrian-only roads.
Murphys – Old West meets Wine Tasting – The Murphys, California of today, known as “Queen of the Sierra,” grew from a single trading post and gold mining operation in 1848. Murphys combines the old with the new, thanks to its historic buildings which now house updated shops, restaurants, and many entertainment options. With over 26 wine tasting rooms and an olive oil tasting room, Murphys is the perfect day trip that will tantalize your taste buds and let you explore the up-and-coming world of Calaveras County Wine!
Sonora – Gold Rush Town and County Center – In 1848, Sonora, California was named after Sonora, Mexico, in homage to the hometown of many of the gold miners who helped establish it. Today Sonora retains much of its Gold Rush architecture and allure, but is also known to be a center for modern culture in Tuolumne County.
If you’re looking for adventure, take on the thrilling experience of whitewater rafting along the Main Tuolumne and Cherry Creek or the Merced River through Yosemite. This is one of the best things to do in Groveland, CA.
There are some great rafting companies in the area, OARS, All Outdoors, Sierra Mac, ARTA and Zephyr that all provide different options for experiencing whitewater rafting near Yosemite whether you are looking for a fun 1-day trip or a 3-day wine tasting and rafting tour, there’s a trip for you!
Tuolumne River Whitewater Rafting
The Main Tuolumne and Cherry Creek are classic California whitewater rafting runs. The Tuolumne is an advanced Class IV-V river and the Creek is V+, experts only. The Main Tuolumne and Cherry Creek are located 30 minutes west of Yosemite National Park, with some of the best California whitewater rafting in the Sierra Nevada foothills. California whitewater enthusiasts have been rafting on the Tuolumne since the 60’s.
The Main Tuolumne is located just west of Yosemite National Park, with some of the best California whitewater rafting in the Sierra Foothills. The Tuolumne is a premier California whitewater rafting river, and is also considered one of the all-time Classic California whitewater rafting runs. The run starts at Meral’s Pool and flows through 18 miles of intense boulder slalom rapids down to Ward’s Ferry. Not only does this river offer challenging whitewater rafting, add excellent scenery and solitude and you get the Tuolumne.
Cherry Creek Rafting – Not for the faint of heart
Cherry Creek is an experts-only run rated Class V+. With an overall gradient of 110 feet per mile and a “Miracle Mile” dropping at over 200 feet per mile, Cherry Creek is possibly the most challenging whitewater rafting run in the nation. Once the winter snowpack has finished melting and spring rivers run short on water, river flows suitable for whitewater rafting allow Cherry Creek to run as late as October.
Only two small 20-person commercial trips are allowed in the canyon per day, so you will always feel like one of the few privileged humans in this wonderful place.
Rafting Through Yosemite on the Merced River
The Merced River tumbles over the cascading Nevada and Vernal Falls of Yosemite National Park. The river meanders along the valley floor through Yosemite and builds into a river of pure whitewater.
With its steep gradient, sweeping bends, and few obstacles to negotiate, the Merced provides long straight-forward rapids with big rolling waves. This Class IV river is an excellent step up into the realm of advanced California whitewater rafting.
Wild and Scenic, the Merced is a free flowing river and only runs in the spring from April to July depending on winter snowpack. The Merced has 2 sections of river, both are excellent California whitewater rafting run’s, with plenty of Class IV whitewater. There are several camping options along the river if you choose to string both sections together for a 2-day trip. Otherwise there are other camping options with a close proximity to the river. River Shuttles to the different access points are fairly straight forward.
Fishing is one of the more sought-after things to do near Yosemite. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast who considers themselves an angler, you’ll find many fishing spots throughout Groveland, CA.
FISHING ON THE TUOLUMNE
Ready to wet a line? You will find plenty of great fishing locations between Groveland and the Yosemite Park Highway 120 entrance. Fishing tends to be better in this corridor than in the park itself. There is no fish planting in Yosemite and with the crowds that Yosemite experiences, decent fishing will usually take a bit of a hike, and the fish are usually small.
However, you’ll find great fishing between Groveland and Yosemite on Highway 120. Stream fishing is most popular and the main, middle, and south forks of the Tuolumne River all offer great trout fishing. The South and Middle Forks are planted weekly with rainbow trout, but also host a healthy population of native rainbow and also occasional brown trout. Headwater stretches of these rivers also have some native brook trout. The main fork of the Tuolumne is a little more work to access but the reward is larger rainbows and browns!
If you are into bait/spin fishing, the “Lumsden” area of the Tuolumne River is a good area to target larger rainbows and browns. Local fisherman Rick Martinez recommends Panther Martin Salamander Spinners or mini crawlers for river fishing. In the smaller Middle and South forks of the Tuolumne, bait fishing is recommended, with worms, eggs or powerbait being the best producers.
FLY FISHING ON HIGHWAY 120
If you are into fly fishing, all of these rivers provide terrific nymph and dry fly fishing opportunities. Blue-winged olives, pale morning duns, caddis and stoneflies make up the bulk of the diet of our local trout. Best producing flies are Parachute Adams, E/C Caddis, Elk Hair Caddis, Black Copper Johns, and Bead Head Hare’s Ears – all in size 16; small egg and San Juan Worm patterns are also effective. You can pick up a selection of our local guide’s favorite flies at Yosemite Adventure Supplies. If you need a guide for fly fishing, our local favorite is Tom with Yosemite Sierra Fly Fishing.
FISHING IN PINE MOUNTAIN LAKE
Pine Mountain Lake provides good fishing for rainbow trout, largemouth bass, black crappie, and bluegill. For fly fisherman, black, olive, or rust colored Beadhead Seal Buggers or Crystal Buggers in size 8 are a good choice for the trout, bass, crappie, or the occasional monster bluegill. Nearly any smaller fly will take bluegill in the shallows, and it is a great opportunity to get the kids into fishing. Bait fisherman can use red worms for bluegill and crappie; night crawlers for bass, crappie, and trout; and powerbait for trout. Bass anglers will do best with rubber worms in crawdad colors, rigged Carolina style. Some top water action is available early and late, using chug bugs or buzz baits. In the winter, jigs are a better choice.
Pine Mountain Lake is stocked at least twice a year with good sized trout. Some methods that have produce great results are trolling Powerbait (yes, Powerbait) behind flashers, also rainbow, orange, or white powerbait with glitter and scent. More traditional boat fishing methods that work at Pine Mountain Lake are trolling a night crawler, Kastmaster, or Needlefish behind flashers. For bank fisherman, Fisherman’s Cove is a good location to target all species and the dock at Dunn Ct beach is good for trout.
There’s something to do for everyone near Yosemite, including activities for kids. From horseback riding to dressing in Gold Rush period costumes, there are many things to do in Groveland for kids. The attractions in Yosemite offer fun learning experiences for all age groups.
BUILD LASTING MEMORIES FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY DURING YOUR STAY WITH US AT HOTEL CHARLOTTE!
With so many nearby kid-friendly activities and attractions, Groveland, CA, is the ideal spot for your next family vacation. Whether your family prefers exploring gold mining towns and horseback riding trails, or taking art classes and sitting in on story-time, opportunities for fun are endless! At Hotel Charlotte, we know all of the best things to do and places to see in the area, so let us help you plan the best family vacation ever!
Gold Panning in California Gold Country
Hotel Charlotte is right in the midst of the Gold Country so what better thing to do then to immerse yourself in the local history and see what made Tuolumne County the destination it is today. There are a few locations that provide a true experience of how it all came to be.
- Historic Columbia State Park. The Hidden Treasure shop was built in the mid 1800’s and was originally a bee keeper’s cabin located on Shaw’s Flat Road. The cabin was transported over 3 miles and relocated to Columbia State Historic Park in the 1900’s.
- Jamestown, CA. California Gold Panning or Gold Prospecting have exactly what you are looking for a full on gold mining experience!
These locations have guides that dress in period costumes. It is such a neat and fun learning experience for the whole family to partake in.
Horseback Riding at Pine Mountain Lake
Do you want to explore your Cowpoke side? Pine Mountain Lake offers year round guided trail rides. Children must be 8 years or older and at least 44 inches tall. Plan ahead because advanced reservations are required. Take the opportunity to explore what most don’t get to. You can go exploring for a quick one hour ride or get adventurous and do a guided river ride that goes for four to five hours. Also starting in June and going through August they offer a Little Wrangler Camp for children 7 to 13 years of age on every Tuesday and Thursday.
Art Classes in Yosemite
In a place as beautiful as Yosemite, and scenery that seems to only expand in marvel with every corner turned, you could imagine the desire to capture its magnificence on paper. May we suggest this wonderful experience for you little guy or gal of all ages; Yosemite Conservancy has artist-led classes in the park’s extraordinary Yosemite Valley.
Groveland, CA Library and Museum
Only steps away from the Hotel Charlotte, is the Groveland Library. It also shares the building with the Yosemite Gateway Museum. So after story time in the Library, go explore the history of Groveland and surrounding areas at the museum and check out the gift shop.
Private Yosemite Tours
The Hotel Charlotte is excited to offer private Yosemite tours to our guests through our partner, Yosemite Family Adventures. Spend your time in Yosemite hiking to its iconic waterfalls, fly fishing on back country rivers and lakes or capturing views of the rings around Saturn and the Andromeda Galaxy. Regardless of your desires, these private Yosemite tours have something exciting to offer for everyone in your group.
Every tour is a private outing and your professional, local guide will pick you up at our hotel and transport you to Yosemite for an exciting day of unforgettable adventure.
Click here to learn more about all the private tours that we offer & to reserve your own private tour today.
About Yosemite Family Adventures
Yosemite Family Adventures is a locally owned and operated tour company located in Groveland, CA. They are the only company in the Yosemite region that exclusively provides private, customizable tours in Yosemite. Due to their high quality service, they have been awarded TripAdvisor’s “Certificate of Excellence” award two years in a row. Click here for more information about Yosemite Family Adventures and the Yosemite tours their private and professional Yosemite guides provide.
RESTAURANTS IN GROVELAND, CA
Groveland, CA is home to some spectacular restaurants and cafes. While staying with us at Hotel Charlotte, choose from a variety of restaurants with unique menus, many of which use local ingredients. Whether you’re looking for fine dining or a casual meal, there’s an option for every occasion in Groveland.
1. GROVELAND PROVISIONS
Groveland Provisions is a Grab&Go bistro open from 7am – 9pm daily located in the Groveland Hotel, our sister property across the street. Groveland Provisions is your source for hot breakfast sandwiches, smoothies, fresh-baked goods, artisanal salads, sandwiches, cheese and charcuterie platters. We also carry an array of local wine, craft beer and specialty cocktails. Our food is perfect to pack with you on your adventure or enjoy on our beautiful, leafy patio.
2. IRON DOOR SALOON
The Iron Door Saloon is a favorite amongst regular two-wheeled travelers to Groveland. The eclectic saloon boasts of being the oldest continuously operating saloon in California and the aged woodwork and huge iron doors are testament to this. Once famous for their buffalo burgers, guests can now also enjoy such California-styled treats as chicken Caesar rollups and a selection of Chinese treats. The Iron Door Saloon is absolutely worth a stop, hungry or not! 209.962.8904.
3. BUCK MEADOWS
Returning to Highway 120 and heading East 12 miles you will come to a widening around the road called Buck Meadows. Wave at our friends off Hamilton Station Road at Blackberry Inn, but consider a stop at Yosemite Ridge, 49er Restaurant where they serve up traditional diner fare with a Hollywood flair, located just East of the Motel. 209-962-6788
4. MOUNTAIN SAGE
Wonderful coffee, inviting atmosphere, nursery out back and beautiful artwork from local artist Robb Hirsch.
5. PRIEST STATION CAFE
Priest Station is a family-run restaurant serving classic American food. We offer grass-fed beef burgers and 6-oz. certified Angus burgers. Dine in a relaxed setting with panoramic views.
6. PIZZA FACTORY
Pizza, pasta, sandwiches, salads, calzones. We offer great food for dine-in, take-out and delivery. We have a large arcade for your kids as well as a bounce house for special events.
7. TWO GUYS PIZZA PIES
Family-style pizzeria offering indoor and outdoor seating. Salad bar, baked subs, calzones and of course, pizza!
8. THE GRILL AT PINE MOUNTAIN LAKE
This 16,000-sq-ft restaurant and lounge overlooks the Pine Mountain Lake Golf Course with majestic views of Yosemite’s peaks. The outside deck is perfect for outdoor dining, cocktails or your special function. Guests can enjoy live music while dining on most Saturday nights.
9. FIREFALL COFFEE ROASTING COMPANY
If you’re looking for delicious roasted coffee, Firefall Coffee is the place to go. Firefall serves a variety of their own in-house coffee of the highest quality. This is a great place to stop by for the perfect warm cup of joe to start off your day of adventures!
10. KEVIN AND RANDI’S OLD FASHIONED MEAT MARKET
Kevin ‘n’ Randi’s Old Fashioned Meat Market is the perfect local spot to satisfy every meat lover’s palate. They offer a variety of options from grass-fed beef, choice beef, organic poultry, deli meats, breakfast meats, quality pork, to deli sandwiches, cheeses and salads.