Get Out on the Water
Ready to slow down the pace? Take a day away from the trails and relax at Bass Lake, just 7 miles from Oakhurst. An idyllic place to kick off your hiking boots for a swim, the lake is surrounded by marina resorts that offer families many recreational options. We stopped at Miller’s Landing for a sunset kayak adventure that explored the lake’s scenic coves. The resort also rents out paddleboards, Jet Skis and boats.
Make sure to close out a day on the lake at the Ice Cream Fountain. Those with a real sweet tooth might dare to order the Fudge Bucket, a plastic sand pail filled with ice cream topped with hot fudge, whipped cream, nuts, sprinkles and cherries — and served with a shovel!
Enjoy Fresh Fruit
Whether you’re just setting out on your journey along the Majestic Mountain Loop or heading home, grab fresh snacks for the drive at one of the Central Valley’s farms. Around Visalia, there are many opportunities to pick your own fruit as well as several seasonal fruit stands and farmers markets.
Outside Visalia on Avenue 322, Big L Ranch invites you to harvest your own organic blueberries for $5 per pound when they are in season. Located on the northern banks of the Kaweah River, the 10-acre farm grows five varieties of the berries. Kayaks and canoes are available for rent.
Discover the Parks’ Gateways
Oakhurst and Visalia serve as gateways to the three national parks. With a population just under 3,500, Oakhurst is a small town that offers a lot of family fun. We stayed at the new, pet-friendly Holiday Inn Express. Kids will enjoy the pool, and a free breakfast is provided.
About 30 minutes from Yosemite National Park, Oakhurst is even closer to the Lewis Creek National Recreation Trail, which leads to Corlieu Falls and Red Rock Falls. Though this hike lies outside of Yosemite’s boundaries, the scenery is similar. Bookended by two waterfalls and meandering along the beautiful Lewis Creek, the trail is just under 4 miles long. Before leaving town, stop at Judy’s Donuts on California Highway 41 for an apple fritter.
Visalia, situated about 90 minutes from Kings Canyon and 45 minutes from Sequoia, is known as the crown jewel of the Central Valley. Home to some 135,000 people, Visalia emanates a suburban feel. Downtown, you’ll find boutiques with vintage storefronts and restaurants that serve locally sourced, farm-fresh meals. Families will enjoy the ImagineU Children’s Museum, which offers hands-on, interactive exhibits.
Whether your family spends three days or two weeks along the Majestic Mountain Loop, time spent together exploring California’s greatest treasures will generate memories that last many years for children and adults alike.