Content Produced in Partnership with Visit Mammoth
Tucked away in California’s Eastern Sierra mountain range within Inyo National Forest lies a treasure of outdoor adventure for kids young and young-at-heart. While Mammoth Lakes is known for its first-class ski resort, the locals here have a saying that rings true: You'll come for the winter, but stay for the summer.
Mammoth Lakes is nearly 8,000 feet above sea level and is characterized by its mountains, lakes, streams and forests that turn into picturesque wilderness as the snow melts away. Families flock here for scenic hikes through wildflowers, mountain biking, clear lake waters and fly fishing on winding streams. Getting to Mammoth Lakes is easy; a flat drive of about 325 miles north from Los Angeles, about the same distance east from San Francisco and 164 miles south of Reno, Nevada, gets you here in just a few hours. Yosemite National Park’s eastern entrance is located just 32 miles north of town, too.
If you’re looking to elevate your family’s summer vacation to new heights, and aren’t afraid of epic adventures, then Mammoth Lakes should be at the top of your list.
Where to Stay
There’s no wrong place to stay at Mammoth Lakes! With the Sierras surrounding the town, majestic scenery is bound to find you. Mammoth Lakes does offer plenty of accommodation options for any group size and budget though.
The Westin Monache Resort is a logical pick for families with a convenient resort location within steps of the village at Mammoth, which offers abundant restaurant selection, shopping and nightlife. Their two-bedroom suite comes complete with a gas fireplace, LCD television and plenty of seating for the whole family to enjoy meals cooked in the high-end kitchen. Or instead, order dinner from Whitebark Restaurant and have it served at the heated outdoor pool flanked by two hot-tubs as the sun sets behind the mountain crest.
Guided Nature Adventures
No experience necessary to have epic family adventures at Mammoth Lakes! Come as you are and take advantage of the various group and private classes taught by knowledge staff all around town. You and the kids can learn how to Stand Up Paddleboard, fish, horseback ride or even mountain bike (complete with bike rentals) for a full day of outdoor exploration.
For full immersive, head over to The Troutfitter in town on Main Street for a guided nature experience of a lifetime. After a lesson in basics, you’ll be off to the fly-fish races with some of the most beautiful vistas in Mono County. The guys at Troutfitter are true professionals and will teach you everything they know about the sport.
Lake Family Fun
A vacation toMammoth Lakes certainly wouldn’t be complete without a day of lake family fun. With a plentitude of lakes to explore, all with diverse landscapes and personalities, everyone in the family will have something to do.
Load the car up and enjoy an easy 25-minute drive to June Lake for a splendid day of swimming and boating in the clean lake waters after a morning hike. The peddle beach is a popular destination for families and offers SUP rentals right from shore. Or head over to June Lake Marina where you can rent boats of varying sizes for half or full day rentals. Stop into the quaint town for lunch or come prepared to picnic on the boat for an afternoon of cruising, swimming, fishing and adventure.
Hikes for everyone
If you can walk, you can hike, and Mammoth Lakes has trails for every ability. From paved walkways to sprawling mountain climbs, you’re bound to get dirty on these adventures. Mono Lake offers incredible landscapes, Rainbow Falls is popular and the Minarets at sunset is a must.
For a family friendly hike, Convict Lake Loop is a moderately strenuous 3-mile loop that kids love and provides ample views. The loop has varied terrain – everything from trails, paved walkways and even a boardwalk – so be sure to wear comfortable shoes and bring water. Before you start your hike, check in at the Convict Lake Store and pick up the best bagel breakfast sandwiches in town.
Mammoth Adventure Center
The Mammoth Adventure Center is the hub for all things adventurous. The Main Lodge is filled with skiers in winter months, while summer visitors access actives like mountain biking, scenic gondola ride to the top of Mammoth Mountain and the Eleven53 Interpretive Center. Purchase the Kids’ Adventure Pass to enjoy unlimited day access to Eurobungee trampolines, a zip line and rock climbing wall.
The Village at Mammoth
If you’re lucky enough to visit Mammoth Lakes during their jazz festival at The Village at Mammoth, get there early and save me a seat! With three days of free jazz and an outdoor venue under the stars, there’s truly no better way to spend an evening. But then again, there’s always something lively going on at the Village.
The Village at Mammoth is the it-destination for excellent dining, shopping and outdoor entertainment. Enjoy the cool air for an evening stroll while the kids enjoy gourmet ice cream and soak up the beauty around you. Gomez’s Mexican Restaurant offers delicious cuisine and savory delights while kids can play in the sandpit right outside. For a more casual experience, Burgers Restaurant is family friendly and serves up some the best burgers in town. For a treat that any kid will devour, head on over to the Mammoth Fun Shop for an ice cream sandwich made with warm cookies.