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Madera County

On Madera County holidays you get the best of both worlds: the natural wonderland of Yosemite National Park is right on your doorstep, yet there's all of beautiful Madera County to discover too. That means you get double for your money - because as well as the chance to explore the jaw-dropping sights of Yosemite, you'll have easy access to a whole host of other top attractions, from scenic national forests and shimmering lakes to historic towns.

This is a stunning part of California that’s rich in history, and as you get to know its story you'll discover the area's deep ties with Native American traditions, gold prospecting and logging. There's a whole clutch of sites and museums where you can re-live the area's past, and you can hike 'the Way of the Mono' to learn about the Mono Indians, or stop by the Fresno Flats historical park to experience first-hand how the early pioneers lived. You can even take a ride on a historic logging train.

Scenic beauty comes on tap in this corner of America, and there's a feast for the eyes at every turn. Yosemite's spectacular sights go without saying, but there's also the panoramic mountain vistas of the Sierra National Forest to marvel at, plus the sapphire-blue waters of Bass Lake - a hit with hikers, fishermen and watersports fans alike. Elsewhere you'll find valleys chequered with vineyards, orchards and ranches, as well as pomegranate and almond farms where you might want to stop to sample the goods.

With such an abundance of fresh local produce, the food and drink on Madera County holidays packs quite a punch, and wine lovers can follow the local Wine Trail for tasting sessions at award-winning producers. All of which goes to show - Madera County holidays are about so much more than just Yosemite.

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Bass Lake

Not only is Bass Lake blissfully beautiful, it comes complete with a list of top amenities. Fringed by forest, it makes for the perfect place simply to lie by the shore and relax. But its warm waters are also ideal for sports, and fishermen pull rainbow trout from the depths, while sailors, jet skiers, canoeists and wake boarders skim across the surface.

In Touch With the Past

There's a whole clutch of museums where you can uncover the area's past. The Fossil Discovery Centre has Columbian Mammoths and Sabre-Toothed Tigers; the Madera Courthouse Museum tells the story of the loggers who sent felled lumber down into the valley by flume; and the 110 year-old Coarsegold Historic Museum is brimming with artefacts and gold-mining history.

Sierra Vista Scenic Byway

Take a drive on the wild side as you twist and turn for 100 miles among the massive granite peaks and dense forests of the snow-topped Sierra Nevada mountains. There's stunning views aplenty along the way, especially at Mile High Vista, plus you can get up close to Giant Sequoias at Nelder Grove and take a cooling dip at Mammoth Pool.

Yosemite

Madera County isn't known as the 'Gateway to Yosemite' for nothing. It sits at the park's southern entrance, meaning all of Yosemite's iconic sights are within easy reach. You can tick off stand-out landmarks like the rocky outcrop of El Capitan and the cascading Yosemite Falls, before admiring the breathtaking view from Glacier Point and wandering among Giant Sequoia trees at Mariposa Grove.

Ticket to Ride

All aboard the Sugar Pine Railroad! Take a four-mile ride through the forest, pulled by a steam locomotive which once lugged lumber. Chug past spectacular mountain scenery or hop onto the Moonlight Special to discover the beauty of the forest at night.

 

 

Fly Drive Holiday: Yosemite and the Mountains

San Francisco – Lake Tahoe – Yosemite/Mariposa County – Monterey – Santa Cruz

Our suggested fly drive itinerary is perfect for those who love the great outdoors and want to savour some truly remarkable scenery. Start your holiday in San Francisco and see the many sights it has to offer before heading on to Lake Tahoe where you can partake in a variety of watersports or adopt a more sedate approach and simply enjoy the stunning surroundings. Journey onwards to captivating Yosemite, home to a sublime collection of cascading waterfalls and striking mountain scenery. Your fly drive discovery culminates along California’s coast in the beachside towns of Monterey and Santa Cruz, the ideal place to relax and unwind before heading back home.
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Fly Drive Holiday: Sacramento and the Gold Country

Napa Valley – Sacramento – Yosemite/Mariposa County – San Francisco

Our suggested fly drive itinerary showcases the culture and history of California, combined with the wine country and unforgettable sights of Yosemite. Begin your adventure in Napa Valley, home to a charming collection of quaint wine producing towns that makes California wine so popular. Next up is Sacramento where you simply must visit the famous Capitol Building then head onwards to the Yosemite region, offering outdoor enthusiast great hiking trails and mountain views. Finish off your holiday in San Francisco, offering the perfect opportunity to pick up mementos to remember your trip, and be sure to explore the iconic sights and attractions.
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Time Difference:
GMT- 8hours

Closest Airport:
San Francisco International Airport (approx. 11 hours)

Getting around:
Hire a car and explore the surrounding areas. Check out the great selection of dining options, attractions and local excursions available. Care hire is available from £19 per day.

Insider Tip:
Madera is one of the largest wine grape-producing counties in the state of California with a history of viniculture dating back to the late 1800s. Follow the Madera Wine Trail to learn more about the wines produced here and taste a few along the way.

You’re going to need an ESTA:
For anyone travelling to the USA, the US authorities have imposed a requirement for passengers travelling under the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP), to register for Electronic Travel Authority. Just fill in the online application form which you can find at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov. You will need to apply for entry via ESTA at least a minimum of 72 hours prior to travel.

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Many of the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLCertificate

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