Things To Do
Merced boasts dozens of tree-shaded parks, miles upon miles of bike paths and plenty of choices for sailing, water skiing and fishing. Lake Yosemite is a favorite with sailors and windsurfers alike, and its grassy, tree-lined shore makes a perfect setting for a Sunday afternoon picnic.
Or you may prefer to take in a play at Playhouse Merced or stroll through an art exhibit at the Multicultural Arts Center in the lovely Downtown.
Within 120 Miles
Options for a quick day trip or weekend getaway are shaped by our location between two mountain ranges and within the sphere of the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento.
Merced is known as the Gateway to Yosemite National Park, home of the famed Half Dome and at least 10 signature waterfalls. Celebrated for over a century by the likes of naturalist, John Muir, and photographer, Ansel Adams, accommodations range from rugged camping to the elegant Ahwahnee Hotel. The Arch Rock entrance is 69 miles from Merced on Highway 140.
Golden Rolling Hills
Options for hiking, camping, hunting, fishing, horseback riding and other outdoor pursuits extend well beyond Yosemite’s borders, in the valley and foothills. You can also explore California’s Gold Rush in the historical communities along Highway 49.
Living in the San Joaquin Valley means farm-fresh produce and wine tours. Among the highlights are the Fruit Barn and Vista Ranch
right in Merced. A short drive will take you to a cheese company as well as a lavender farm, alpacas, and several vineyards.
Just 15 miles away is Castle Air Museum. This former Air Force Base now houses over 70 aircraft, including the famed SR-71 spy plane and a former Air Force One used by presidents Reagan and Clinton.
More populous attractions lie within a drive of two hours or so, including Monterey Aquarium and Cannery Row; Sacramento, California’s State Capitol; and San Jose/Silicon Valley. Just beyond the 120-mile mark is San Francisco, a destination worth many return visits.