Oakhurst, California

The Talking Bear intersection in Oakhurst, California

Location:  15 miles (24 km) from Yosemite entrance; 45 miles (72 km) from Yosemite Valley; via Highway 41 (map)

population 13,300; elevation 2,300 feet (700 meters)

Oakhurst is the largest of the towns in the mountains surrounding Yosemite. It's home to a handful of midrange motels and the Château du Sureau, a luxury hotel with an attached five-star restaurant, Erna's Elderberry House.

Pro:  Good access to southern Yosemite and a tolerable drive to Yosemite Valley. Oakhurst has two large supermarkets, a rarity in the mountain area, and you'll probably want to stock up on groceries here if you're staying in a cabin elsewhere. Oakhurst itself lies in a pretty valley where the foothills and mountains meet. Besides its proximity to Yosemite, Oakhurst is 6 miles (10 km) from Bass Lake and 11 miles (18 km) from the Chukchansi Indian casino/hotel.

Con:  Oakhurst is an unincorporated city with little urban planning or aesthetic oversight, and the result - let's just say that your fast food and gas station needs will not go unmet here. In a curious bit of symmetry, the gas stations are all on the going-to-Yosemite side of the road, while the fast-food franchises are all on the returning-from-Yosemite side.

Dining:  Crab Cakes and Oka's are good choices for seafood and Japanese, respectively. El Cid's, purveyor of Mexican food, is very popular with locals. Foodies drive hundreds of miles to eat at Erna's.

Shopping:   If you're approaching Yosemite from the south, Oakhurst is your last chance to get supplies until the smaller and more expensive stores in Yosemite itself. There are two full-sized grocery stores here (Vons and Raley's) and two full-sized drug stores (Longs and Rite-Aid). The Raley's shopping center includes a small sporting goods store where you can get Yosemite-useful gear like walking sticks and carabiners. The town is also dotted with art galleries eager to help you accessorize your tent. Oakhurst's business district is located almost entirely on highways 41 and 49, so a few minutes' wandering will suffice to find anyplace mentioned here.

Coffee Emergencies:  There's a Starbucks inside Vons and another, this one with a drive-through, along Highway 41 near the middle of town. You can get Peet's coffee inside Raley's.

ATM Machines:  There's a Wells Fargo machine outside Vons and a branch office inside. There's also an ATM at the United Security Bank in the same shopping center. In the Raley's shopping center are branches of Chase Bank, Bank of America, Yosemite Bank, and the Golden 1 Credit Union, each with ATM's. There are also ATM machines in several of the gas stations along Highway 41.

Tire Chains:  Available at Big O Tires (purchase only), Oakhurst Chevron (purchase only), Kragen-O'Reilly Auto Parts (purchase only), Yosemite Gas (purchase only), and Stevens Napa Auto Supply (purchase only, but can be returned unused within one week for a 50% refund)

YARTS Stops:  At the Yosemite Gateway Inn Best Western (see the going to Yosemite and returning from Yosemite schedules)

Attractions & Entertainment:  The largest nearby attraction is the Chukchansi Casino & Hotel, 11 miles (17 km) south near Coarsegold (and currently closed due to tribal management disputes). Besides the usual slots, poker, etc., it frequently books big-name acts of the "Hey, it's good to know they're still alive" variety.

If you're in Oakhurst on a Friday evening in the summer, head to the Pines Resort in Bass Lake (6 miles/9 km away) for Jazz on the Lake, a series of outdoor lakeside jazz concerts that usually runs from late May until the end of August.

The Yosemite Sugar Pine Railroad is an antique logging train that runs daily for most of the year. It's 13 miles (20 km) north of Oakhurst and two miles (3 km) south of Fish Camp on Highway 41. It's usually daytime only, but there are occasional moonlight runs; see their schedule for particulars.

The most interesting option in Oakhurst itself is probably the Golden Chain Theatre, which does surprisingly high quality productions for a small town theater troupe. There's also a multiplex cinema here, in the Raley's shopping center, that went out of business in 2012 and was resurrected by local owners who introduced memberships and all-you-can-watch pricing plans. If you're marooned in Oakhurst in the daytime and not interested in a matinee, you might be able to divert yourself at Fresno Flats, a collection of historical buildings, or the Children's Museum.

Oakhurst Hotels & Lodging

America's Best Value Inn

48800 Royal Oaks Drive · (559) 658-5500 · Map · Street View · Reviews · Website · $95 - $195*

69 guest rooms; outdoor pool; continental breakfast; HBO; guest laundry; meeting facilities; no pets; summer rates $145 - $195*

Château du Sureau

48688 Victoria Lane · (559) 683-6860 · Map · Street View · Reviews · Website · $425 - $2,950

10-room luxury bed & breakfast with rates from $425 - $645, plus the detached Villa Sureau for $2,950 nightly; spa with massages, facials, and sundry other services; five-star restaurant (Erna's Elderberry House) onsite; swimming pool, fountains, bocce court; fireplaces in all guest rooms

Comfort Inn

40489 Highway 41 · (559) 683-8282 · Map · Street View · Reviews · Website · $70 - $200*

113 guest rooms; free wireless Internet; free continental breakfast; free local calls; free coffee; HBO; outdoor pool; pets allowed (extra cost); summer rates $170 - $200*

Hounds Tooth Inn Bed & Breakfast

42071 Highway 41 · (559) 642-6600 · Map · Street View · Reviews · Website · $120 - $230

12 guest rooms and one detached cottage; rates from $120 - $230 per night; free afternoon wine, coffee, and tea; spas and/or fireplaces in some rooms

Oakhurst Lodge

40302 Highway 41 · (559) 683-4417 · Map · Street View · Reviews · Website · $112 - $166*

60 guest rooms; outdoor pool; queen beds, fridge, coffee machine, cable TV, and free Internet access in all rooms; continental breakfast during summer months; no pets; summer rates $112 - $166*

Sierra Sky Ranch Resort

50552 Road 632 · (559) 683-8040 · Map · Street View · Reviews · Website · $100 - $175*

24 guest rooms; outdoor pool; restaurant onsite; free wireless Internet; coffee makers in all rooms; dogs allowed in some rooms; summer rates $145 - $175*

Yosemite Gateway Inn Best Western

40530 Highway 41 · (559) 683-2378 · Map · Street View · Reviews · Website · $90 - $205*

122 guest rooms; indoor and outdoor pools; spa and sauna; exercise room; guest laundry; HBO; conference room; summer rates $150 - $205*

Yosemite Sierra Inn

40662 Highway 41 · (877) 642-2525 · Map · Street View · Reviews · Website · $110 - $330*

42 guest rooms; free wireless Internet; free continental breakfast; outdoor pool; refrigerator and microwave in all rooms; no pets; summer rates $110 - $330*

Yosemite Southgate Hotel & Suites

40644 Highway 41 · (559) 683-3555 · Map · Street View · Reviews · Website · $75 - $205*

80 guest rooms; rooms have either 2 queen beds or king bed & queen sofa bed; outdoor pool; refrigerator, microwave, and HBO in all rooms; free wireless Internet; fitness center, sauna, and hot tub; free continental breakfast; summer rates $165 - $205*

Additional Oakhurst Lodging

Apple Blossom Inn Bed & Breakfast

44606 Silver Spur Trail  ·  (888) 687-4281  ·  (559) 642-2001  ·  Street View  ·  Reviews  ·  Website  ·  $155 - $250

3 guest rooms with private baths plus a 2-bedroom, 1-bath suite; pets allowed ($20/night); no smoking indoors; $155 - $250 (see rates page)

A Bed of Roses Bed & Breakfast

43547 Whispering Pines Drive  ·  (888) 264-0733  ·  (559) 692-2100  ·  Reviews  ·  Website  ·  $165 - $205

Bed & breakfast with 4 guest rooms, all with private baths, mini refrigerators; free wireless Internet; 2 rooms have king beds and futons, 2 have queen beds; summer rates $165 - $205 (see rates page)

Evergreen Haus

43552 Whispering Pines Drive  ·  (559) 641-2220  ·  Reviews  ·  Website  ·  $140 - $185

Cabin with 4 guest rooms, all with king beds and private bathrooms; free wireless Internet; laundry facilities onsite; guests have full use of kitchen; no pets; smoking allowed outdoors only; peak season rates $150 - $185 (see rates page)

A Haven of Rest Bed & Breakfast

39681 Pine Ridge Road  ·  (559) 642-2617  ·  Reviews  ·  Website  ·  $218

1 guest room with king bed, queen sofa bed, & private bath; free wireless Internet; non smoking; $218 (see rates page); additional charge for 1-night stays

High Sierra RV Park

40389 Highway 41  ·  (559) 683-7662  ·  Overhead View  ·  Reviews  ·  Website  ·  $13 - $120

Yurts, RV sites, & tent/campsites; RV sites range from water + 30-amp electric to pull-through full-hookup, 50-amp; summer rates $23 - $35 for tent & campsites, $14 - $58 for RV sites, $90 - $120 for yurts (see rates page)

Homestead Cottages

41110 Road 600  ·  (800) 483-0495  ·  (559) 683-0495  ·  Reviews  ·  Website  ·  2 - 6 guests max  ·  $180 - $420

Four 1-bedroom, 1-bath cottages (2 - 4 guests max), plus a 1-bedroom, 1-bath loft (2 guests max), and a 2-bedroom, 2-bath house (6 guests max); free wireless Internet; no smoking, no pets; loft has kitchenette, other units have full kitchens; summer rates $260 - $280 for cottages, $180 for loft, $380 - $420 for house (see rates page)

Lyn-Mar Pond Guest Ranch

60072 Mammoth Pool Road, North Fork  ·  (559) 877-7260  ·  (510) 676-3800  ·  Reviews  ·  Website  ·  20 guests max  ·  $120 - $325

Two-unit ranch home on 40-acre property; unit 1 includes bedroom, living area, kitchen, and bathroom; unit 2 includes 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, living area, kitchen; available for weddings; continental breakfast provided upon request; summer rates $175 for unit 1, $275 for unit 2, $325 for both units (see rates page)

Mountain Trail Lodge

42150 Highway 41  ·  (559) 479-5698  ·  (248) 376-6385  ·  Street View  ·  Reviews  ·  Website  ·  $120 - $180*

Room types include queen, double queen, and king with sofa bed & kitchen; pool, free wireless Internet; next door to Golden Chain Theatre; summer rates $120 - $180*

Nature's Inn Bed & Breakfast

44625 Silver Spur Trail  ·  (866) 789-0123  ·  (559) 641-2444  ·  Street View  ·  Reviews  ·  Website  ·  $145 - $275

Bed & breakfast with 5 guest rooms, all with private baths; 3 have queens beds, 1 has king bed, 1 has queen bed plus kitchen and separate bedroom with 2 twin beds; some rooms pet-friendly; no smoking indoors

Paradise Springs

52770 Road 632  ·  559-642-2613  ·  Reviews  ·  Website  ·  $175 - $1,750*

7-bedroom villa (sleeps 20), plus two 1-bedroom, 1-bath cabins (sleep 4-5), a 3-bedroom cottage, and a 3-bedroom house (sleeps 8); 100-acre property includes a reception/banquet hall rentable for conferences or weddings (150 max occupants); summer rates $175 - $500 for cabins/cottages, $1,500 - $1,750 for villa*

Queen's Inn by the River

41139 Highway 41  ·  (559) 683-4354  ·  Reviews  ·  Website  ·  $90 - $225*

8 guest rooms, all with private baths, sleeping 2 - 4; free wireless Internet; 5-acre property with wine & beer garden onsite; pets allowed with $100 refundable deposit; summer rates $170 - $225*

Sierra Mountain Lodge Bed & Breakfast

45046 Fort Nip Trail  ·  (800) 811-7029  ·  (559) 683-7673  ·  Reviews  ·  Website  ·  2-4 guests max  ·  $105 - $195

Five 1-bedroom and two 2-bedroom suites, all with private baths, all but one with kitchenettes; no smoking indoors, no pets; max capacity from 2 - 4 guests per suite; summer rates $105 - $195 (see rates page); pricing based on double occupancy (additional charges of $10 - $20 for each extra guest)

VRBO.com

Website  ·  $100 - $1,250

40+ Oakhurst-area home rentals

Vulture's View Bed & Breakfast

39045 John West Road  ·  (559) 683-8470  ·  Reviews  ·  Website  ·  $160 - $200

3 guest rooms, all with private baths; free wireless Internet; pets allowed ($10 charge); $160 - $200 (see rates page)

Yosemite Sierra View Bed & Breakfast

39060 Highway 41  ·  (559) 683-7650  ·  Reviews  ·  Website  ·  $130 - $200*

3 guest rooms with private baths; no smoking; pets allowed in 1 room; summer rates $175 - $200*

* Asterisked hotels don't list rates (or at least not detailed or complete rates) on their websites, so rate ranges were obtained by haranguing hotel employees or checking a variety of dates in their reservation systems. Since they generally don't bother to inform yosemitehikes.com when they change their rates and calling them or checking their reservation sites every day would be intolerably boring, there's a chance that they've changed, so you'd need to check with the hotel to make sure that these rates are still accurate. Also, listed rates generally do not include taxes.