Yosemite National Park one of 10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards for Kid-Friendly, says USA Today Readers
The winners of the 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards for Best Kid-Friendly Destinations are in.
Nominees in the contest, sponsored by USA Today and 10Best.com were chosen by a panel of experts and voted on by the public Yosemite National Park secured the spot of No. 10, the only national park on the list. Other picks were the theme park homes of Anaheim (No. 4), Orlando (No.6) and San Diego (No.7). Niagara Falls, New York took the No. 1 spot.
Yosemite National Park’s gateway communities, such as Yosemite Gold Country, the most direct route to Yosemite from Northern California via State Highway 120 are also kid-friendly. Miles of mountain bike trails, swimming and fishing spots, historic gold rush era towns like Jamestown and hands-on state parks like 1897 Railtown, with real steam locomotive train rides, and Columbia Historic State Park, for a step back in time and ride on a stage coach are designed for kids, as well as the kid in everyone. These two museums will keep children interested; the Sonora Fire Department Museum and Groveland Yosemite Gateway Museum. A favorite activity in the Gold Country, where gold was discovered in 1848, is still trying your luck at panning. Three gold panning locations and mines keeps history alive in the area; Hidden Treasure Gold Mine Tours & Matelot Gulch Mine Supply Store in Columbia, Gold Prospecting Adventures in Jamestown, and 49er Mining Supplies in Columbia.
YARTS, the public transportation system for Yosemite National Park is also kid-friendly. Children 12 and younger ride free with a paying adult, and the adult price of $25 includes the Park’s gate fees. YARTS uses “bus-only” access lanes during peak traffic periods to reduce travel times and connects directly with the free Yosemite Valley Shuttle within the park. The bus runs daily from May 16 to September 20, and twice daily during peak season, June 13 to September 7. YARTS bus stops are throughout the county including three major hotels; The Hotel at Black Oak Casino Resort in Tuolumne City, Best Western Plus Sonora Oaks in East Sonora, and the Inns of California in downtown Sonora. No reservations are necessary; tickets may be purchased on board. (For more information, visit www.TuolumneCountyTransit.com
Other stops are in Groveland/Yosemite Pines, Buck Meadows/Yosemite Lakes and Big Oak Gate/Crane Flat. Additionally, the YARTS stop in Mariposa is also operating.
`The Yosemite Gold Country/Tuolumne County Visitors Center at Chinese Camp on Highway 49/120 provides information on lodging and campsite availability with on-site reservation assistance, maps, park tour options, historic gold rush sites, souvenirs and activities, and an overview on exploring the rest of the Gold Country. For more information, visit www.YosemiteGoldCountry.com.