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Once known as a mining community in the Sierra Nevada foothills, Mariposa is a gorgeous mountain town east of Merced in California. Mariposa comes from the Spanish word for butterfly and was named by the early explorers for the copious amounts of butterflies that spend their winters in the warm Mediterranean climates of Central California.
Before the arrival of European settlers, Mariposa was a peaceful village belonging to the Southern Sierra Miwok indigenous people. In the mid-19th century, the area was swarmed by prospectors in search of gold, and the small mining camp of Agua Fria was established a few miles from Mariposa.
In the present day, Mariposa is the county seat for Mariposa County, a swath of land that contains parts of California’s Central Valley and a large chunk of Yosemite National Park. Much of the local economy is intertwined with this massive national park found minutes away to the east of Mariposa, making it a fantastic place to rent an RV. Aside from the many national parks and forests found in the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the east, you can visit several cities quite easily when you book an RV in Mariposa. Sacramento, the capital city of California, is only a few hours’ drive north, while the San Francisco Bay area is a couple of hours west on the Pacific coast.
The number of parks, forests, recreation areas, and conservation lands in California can be overwhelming when it comes to planning a trip. When you rent an RV in a place like Mariposa, there is great potential to cover a large territory with your newfound mobility. Lake McClure is a nice place to kick off your tour through California and cool off in one of the larger lakes in the state. Lake McClure is noteworthy for being a prime place to fish, go boating, swim, or go hiking. There are four campgrounds and recreation areas on the shores of the lake, like Barrett Cove Recreation Area, McClure Point Recreation Area, and Hunters Valley Point Recreation Area, all of which are suitable places to camp with your Mariposa RV rental by owner.
Great Valley Grasslands State Park can be found on the other side of Merced, California when you rent an RV in Mariposa and head west on CA-140. This sprawling grassland is protected and recognized by the state government for its importance to the environment. The park is known for its stunning wildflowers of all different hues and excellent fishing in the rivers and streams on site. This massive wetland area is one of the largest in all of California and features an impressive variety of wildlife that can be seen and photographed by guests.
Sierra National Forest is a sprawling wilderness area due east of Mariposa, with ample space to explore, go hiking, or camp out in your Mariposa luxury motorhome rental. The majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains are the main attraction at Sierra National Forest, and well over a million acres of hidden lakes, lofty waterfalls, and ancient groves of sequoia trees can be discovered by explorers in the John Muir Wilderness Area in the forest.
It would be absolutely egregious to omit Yosemite National Park from the list of things to see when you pick up your camper rental in Mariposa and set off for adventure. This national treasure attracts well over four and a half million visitors each year to witness one of the most iconic stretches of nature in America. Rock climbing, in particular, is a popular pursuit at Yosemite with many of the campgrounds dedicated to climbers at the bottom of its climbing routes. El Capitan is a large granite monolith at Yosemite that is perhaps the Holy Grail of rock climbing, with unreal beauty and treacherous conditions making for expert-caliber climbing.
Since it is found only about 40 miles from the entrance of Yosemite National Park, the area is teeming with campgrounds and RV parks that can accommodate you. Yosemite Westlake Campground & RV Park is located quite close to the national park's entrance and is full of fantastic scenery and spacious camping sites.
High Sierra RV & Mobile Park is also located nearby, with lots of wonderful amenities like swimming areas, a recreation room, a supply store, fishing spots, and much more. There are way too many campgrounds in Yosemite National Park to possibly name, but check out Jerseydale, Dry Gulch, or Indian Flat Campgrounds as they are closer to Mariposa than the others.
No matter where you choose to camp, one thing is certain: the scenery will be breathtaking and the camping will be sublime anywhere near the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Sequoia groves of Yosemite.
Mariposa acts as the county seat for all of Mariposa County, so it holds all of the vital services and county government buildings in the heart of town. The historic courthouse for the county was erected in 1854, and people are gently reminded of this fact when they see the date inscribed on the small white building reminiscent of a New England coastal town.
There are plenty of wineries to sample California wine in town, as most of Central California is excellently suited for the growing of grapes. The Mariposa County Visitor Center is a fabulous resource to take advantage of when you rent an RV in Mariposa, CA. There are local maps, hiking trail guides, and Yosemite National Park information at the helpful center, as well as a gift shop with souvenirs.
The California State Mining and Mineral Museum is dedicated to preserving and studying the history of California’s gold mining industry that was largely responsible for bringing a large influx of migrant workers to the west coast of the United States. The museum has a wealth of minerals, gems, and mining implements in informational exhibits as well as a welcoming gift shop with fun gifts to bring home to friends and family. The Mariposa Museum and History Center also focuses on the history of Mariposa and Mariposa County, with some information on the mining industry too. This institution covers history dating back to the Native Americans that called Mariposa home long before Europeans reached the continent.