North America’s highest waterfall, the world’s tallest uninterrupted granite monolith, both a UNESCO Heritage Site and a U.S. National Park, and some of the nation’s largest trees are just a few of the reasons to visit the first National Park in the United States. Yosemite National Park is a major California bucket list destination, but it isn’t just Yosemite National Park that is filled with great things to do. There are tons of fun adventures near the southgate entrance that you can add to your southgate Yosemite bucket list. After spending time in the area, we’ve come up with a southgate Yosemite bucket list that includes the best of the best in the region.
Southgate Yosemite Bucket List
Where to Stay
The Pines Resort
The only lakeside resort in the Yosemite area, The Pines Resort is the ideal addition to your Southgate Yosemite bucket list. The Pines Resort provides stunning mountain lodging just 17 miles from the Southern gate of Yosemite National Park. Recreational fun includes boating, fishing, swimming, sports, barbecues, camping, and much more. The resort focuses on family-fun and they offer creative activities for the whole family. From s’mores at the firepit to interactive games, you’ll feel like part of the family at The Pines Resort. Their extensive variety of accommodations include mountain chalets, upscale lakefront suites, and fully-furnished two-story cozy mountain cabins with full kitchens. They also have a restaurant, gas station, a convenience store, a spa, and pool facilities onsite for a complete resort experience.
A great place to stay or just visit for dinner, Tenaya Lodge has a lot to offer. They are an elegant resort in the California High Sierra with four seasons of adventure. What don’t they have at Tenaya Lodge? With an indoor and outdoor pool, a massive spa, a variety of accommodation options, multiple restaurants, wedding space, an on-site skating rink and sledding area, daily activities, and specials and packages, it’s worth it to visit the region just to stay at Tenaya Lodge.
Where to Dine
Ducey’s on the Lake
Ducey’s on the Lake, the signature diner of The Pines Resort, is a lakeside restaurant with authentic mountain lodge ambiance. The restaurant boasts historical Bass Lake photographs and handcrafted tables fashioned by a local artesian. It’s open daily for breakfast & dinner. It offers “farm to table” foods, using only locally grown and organic produce. All sauces, soups, and dressings are made in house. Come for the food and stay for the remarkable view.
Casual and laid-back, Miller’s Landing is the ideal lunch spot for families. They use the freshest, highest quality ingredients available, and every item is made fresh to order. Some local favorites include the famous charbroiled Miller Burger, Baja Fish Tacos, Pastrami Melt, Maui Melt, Fish & Chips, and the popular Bbq Chicken Salad. They serve beer and wine including local favorite Southgate Brews on tap. You can dine outside on the patio overlooking the lake, at the loft with spectacular views, or inside at a table by the window. They even offer take-out orders that they will bring down to the dock if you’re traveling by boat.
Their ice cream bucket is a real treat for the whole family. Bring your appetite, though, because it’s huge. The day we had their ice cream bucket might have been the happiest day in Athena’s life.
South Gate Brewing Company
South Gate Brewing Company is near the crossroads of Highway 49 and Highway 41 leading into Yosemite National Park. Make sure you visit South Gate to refuel in a stylish and welcoming dining room and sample some of their delicious, handcrafted beer. They make every effort to utilize the very best pastured meats and local produce. Their beer is handcrafted in small batches and visiting is the perfect way to finish a day of crossing items off your southgate Yosemite bucket list.
Where to Play
Discover Yosemite Tour of Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is going to be at the top of your southgate Yosemite bucket list and you’re going to need at least one full day to explore the park. Discover Yosemite makes your visit to Yosemite National Park both relaxing and unforgettable. They plan the day, pick you up, feed you, and transport you through the park. On the tour, you see the magnificent vistas of Half Dome, El Capitan, Bridalveil Fall, Yosemite Falls, Three Brothers, Leaning Tower, Glacier Point, Ribbon Fall, Cathedral Spires, Royal Arches, Yosemite Chapel, and Vernal & Nevada Falls. The knowledgeable guides take the guess work out of visiting the park and you don’t need to worry about parking or getting lost.
I’d suggest visiting one day with Discover Yosemite and returning on the last day of your trip for more awe-inspiring moments on your own.
Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad
Rich in history and natural beauty, Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad offers an exciting 4-mile railroad excursion. Ride a powerful locomotive through massive, towering trees as you learn about the logging history of the Sierra Mountains. Kids love the open carts carved out of trees and everyone loves the sounds of the train chugging down the tracks.
Fossil Discovery Center
The Fossils Discovery Center offers many different exhibits documenting prehistoric life in the San Joaquin Valley during the last Ice Age. These fossils are of particular significance for California and the western United States because there are few sites known from this time period, especially with so many species present.
The most popular spot for children is the “Mock Dig” where they can excavate 22 replicas of some of the fossils that have been found in the area. This includes skulls of Saber-tooth cats, Dire wolves, camels, and giant sloths. It was a highlight for Athena during the trip.
Madera Wine Trail
Discover Madera’s wine heritage on the Madera Wine Trail. Guests visiting the Madera Wine Trail enjoy the benifits of the region’s rich history, knowledgeable hosts, and tasting rooms still small enough that you can visit with the winemakers themselves. It’s one of the oldest grape growing regions in America and each winery is dedicated to promoting excellence in wine making.
Don’t miss Ficklin VIneyards for their award-winning Ports and Papagni Wines is a personal favorite. Their Barbera has aromas of blackberry, blueberry, and elderberry wrapped in a bouquet of cedar, nutmeg, cola, and a hint of clove. It’s a must-try when visiting the region.
How to get There
2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
When driving in the mountains and around the lakes, you’ll want a reliable vehicle with solid brakes and 4-wheel drive. The 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is a great option. It’s a small crossover with plenty of room for a family and luggage. It handles well on the turns and is equipped with Active Stability Control, employing a series of sensors that constantly monitor the grip of each tire. If a wheel begins to slip, ASC automatically communicates with the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) to help you maintain control of the vehicle in just about any situation. Glacier Point is a viewpoint above Yosemite Valley. It’s a Southgate Yosemite bucket list must if the road is open, but even this time of year there is plenty of snow and ice on the road. You’ll be grateful for the handling features of a crossover like the Outlander when exploring the park.
Yosemite National Park is best known for its waterfalls, but within its boundaries, you can find vast valleys, grand meadows, gigantic cliffs, and ancient sequoias. Just outside of the park, you can find award-winning wineries, majestic lakes, local produce, and a region steeped in history. This is just the beginning of your southgate Yosemite bucket list. The Southern Yosemite Visitors Bureau is a great resource for additional information on the area.