Home Things to do Best Things to Do in Merced, California – A Local’s Guide

Best Things to Do in Merced, California – A Local’s Guide

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Things to Do in Merced

Merced is the county seat of Merced County in California. The Merced river flows near it and it has many scenic locations to be found in the San Joaquin Valley. One of the reasons why Merced California is well known is that it is called the Gateway to Yosemite. The Yosemite National Park is very close to the city of Merced. Furthermore, Merced is well connected to other scenic locations in California such as Monterey Bay and several beaches.

This post will bring to you all of the best places to visit and things to do in and around the city of Merced. We have tried to include the most relevant and awe inspiring attractions in this list. We hope that by reading this article, you will be able to plan your trip to Merced with ease. So, with no further ado, let us begin.

Lake Yosemite

Lake Yosemite

Lake Yosemite is a man made reservoir in the Sierra Foothills. It has been here since 1888. While its main use is irrigation, Lake Yosemite has now become a tourist hotspot because of the water based activities it offers. While you are in Merced, California, you should definitely take some time and visit Lake Yosemite. You will be enjoy a large number of activities here such as boating, jet skis, and sailing. There are even places that have been ear marked for swimming here.

A great place for a picnic, Lake Yosemite has picnic areas and places for barbecuing. Amenities at this Lake include restrooms, parking areas and also playgrounds for the children. The lake is home to a marina from where you can take a boat out into the water. Along with the activities in the lake, the beautiful scenery will delight you as you spend your time here.

Find Lake Yosemite on Google Maps by following this link.

Merced National Wildlife Refuge

Cranes Flying at Merced National Wildlife Refuge
Merced National Wildlife Refuge

A location that makes Merced a great place to visit any time of the year is the Merced National Wildlife Refuge. Covering over 10000 acres, the Merced National Wildlife Refuge features a diversity of geographical terrain. As such, you will not only be able to enjoy differently scenic locations within the wildlife preserve, but also experience a variety of flora and fauna. From wetlands to grasslands, the Merced National Wildlife Refuge has so much diversity it can offer you. Enjoy sightings of duck, geese, elk and deer while you are here.

Visiting the Merced National Wildlife Refuge is one of the best things to do while you find yourself in the city of Merced. Be sure to make the most of it.

The address for the Merced National Wildlife Refuge is 7430 W Sandy Mush Road in Merced.

Henderson Park

Henderson Park at Merced
Henderson Park | Photo by Josephine Baran on Unsplash

This picturesque park right at the shores of the river Merced is a great location in the city. On the days you might be weary of traveling from one location to the next, a trip to Henderson Park will relax and rejuvenate you. While you are at Henderson Park, you will be able to have great picnics and enjoy activities such as fishing. If you are lucky to come to Merced during the summer, then Henderson Park might be the very place to start your kayaking and paddling experience in the Merced river.

Even if you are not looking for things to do and just want to spend a quiet day without feeling like you’re missing out, then Henderson Park is a really great option. Be sure to enjoy it the next time you find yourself in the county of Merced.

Henderson Park’s address is 2641 Merced Falls Road in Snelling, Merced County.

County Courthouse Museum

The County Courthouse Museum in the city of Merced is a really great attraction. If you are someone who enjoys history and culture, then visiting the County Courthouse Museum in Merced is a great way to spend your time. Learn all there is to know about the history of the county of Merced when you are here at the museum. Learn about the settlers of the Great Central Valley and other facts about Merced county.

Furthermore, you should know that the building of the County Courthouse Museum is one of the oldest buildings in the state of California. This building served as the county courthouse for Merced for over a century. It also shows up in the US National Register of Historic Places.

Visiting days at the museum are Wednesday through Sunday.

Their address is W 21st and N Street in Merced California.

Merced Fruit Barn

Merced Fruit Barn

A very unique and fun attraction at the city of Merced is the Merced Fruit Barn. This is a farmstall that sells fresh produce and farm products. You will be able to find it on the road leading up to Yosemite. This makes it a really great attraction and rest stop as you can buy some great items for your picnic at Yosemite Lake. From fruits to dry sweets and nuts, you will really love the selection at the Merced Fruit Barn. This place is so great that it shows up on almost every list of things to do in Merced for tourists.

Not only is the Merced Fruit Barn a really great rest stop, but it is a classic picnic location as well. There is a great lawn here where you can spend a couple of hours of fun and relaxation. Be sure to make a stop at the Merced Fruit Barn on your next trip to the city.

Their address is 4526 E in Merced California. Their official website is linked here, be sure to visit it to read up on all there is to know about them.

Applegate Park Zoo

Close-Up Photo of an Alpaca at Apllegate Park Zoo
Applegate Park Zoo

The Applegate Park Zoo gives a home to many animals that have been saved from danger. The zoo brings its animals from wildlife rescue centers and provides a habitat to these unique and exotic wildlife creatures. As a visitor to the Applegate Park Zoo, you will be able to see just how these animals would have been living in their natural habitats. While you are here, you will be able to see cougars, coyotes and other animals including bears.

Visiting the Applegate Park Zoo is a really great way to spend some time in Merced, California. There are a lot of amenities here to make sure that the visitors have a great time. You will be able to have a really cool picnic while you are at the Applegate Park Zoo. Children can have fun looking at the animals and also enjoying at one of the many playgrounds here. Take way a souvenir home from the Gift Shop here.

If you are lucky, you might reach just in time for one of the special events that are hosted by the zoo.

The Applegate Park Zoo is located at 1045 W 25th Street in Merced California.

Merced Agriculture Museum

The Merced Agriculture Museum celebrates the heritage of Merced in terms of its role in agriculture. This industry has always been extremely important to the city of Merced. When you are touring the city, then it will be quite worthwhile to explore how agriculture has shaped the community of Merced.

While you are here at the museum, you will be able to look at farming equipment as well as other artifacts and collectibles pertaining to the agricultural industry in Merced. Other exhibits here include one working blacksmith workshop and a model of the New Yosemite Valley Railway.

The address for the Merced Agriculture Museum is 4498 East, CA-140, Merced.

Note: The Merced Agricultural Museum is closed indefinitely. You can suggest an edit if that’s incorrect.

The Merced Multicultural Art Centre

The Merced Multicultural Art Center has been an inspiration to many local artists in the city of Merced. This is a center that provides a space for the budding talents of many artist in the local community. As a visitor here, you will really enjoy looking at the many displays of art by these local artists. You can enjoy workshops as well as attend classes at the Merced Multicultural Art Center. If you are lucky and plan your visit, then you might be able to attend a special event here.

Visiting the Merced Multicultural Art Center is one of the best and most unique things to do in Merced, California. If you are a lover of art, then coming here is an absolute must.

The address of the Merced Multicultural Art Center is 645 West Main Street in the city.

Merced Antique Mall

Merced Antique Mall

The Merced Antique Mall is a rather unique and impressive location in the city of Merced. Your tours of the city of Merced will be incomplete if you do not visit this great location. Take away something antique to commemorate your trip of the city of Merced. This mall has over 40 dealers selling various antique items unavailable anywhere else. In any case, visiting this location in Merced will certainly give you a couple hours worth of entertainment. In your travels to other cities, you might not be able to find some location as unique as this one.

Ponder over the many items on display and learn their unique stories from the sellers. Take away something in any case, be it a valued antique or a story to tell your friends back home at the very least.

Find the Merced Antique Mall at 320 West Main Street in Merced.

Vista Ranch and Cellars

Vista Ranch and Cellars

The Vista Ranch and Cellars is a really great and wholesome place to visit in Merced. This ranch is operated as a family business and has many attractions such as a vineyard, tasting rooms and picnic areas.

The Vista Ranch is well known among the locals of Merced for providing fresh produce all year round. They are known to send away strawberries, sweet corn, pumpkins and pomegranates through their on site farm market.

As a tourist visiting the lovely city of Merced, your interest in the Vista Ranch and Cellars will primary be on their tasting room. There are two bocce courts on the site so that you can sample some delicious wine during the summer. The wine made here is some of the finest in the county. There are over 3 acres of farmland hosting Cabernet and Primativo vineyards.

Their tasting room is also an attraction in itself. It is a historic 1910 farmhouse with a great outdoor aesthetic.

You will be able to visit the Vista Ranch and Cellars at 7326 CA-140 in Merced.


What is the best time to visit Merced, California?

Merced is enjoyable year-round, but spring and fall offer pleasant weather for outdoor activities. Summer can get quite warm, so be prepared with sun protection.

How do I get to Merced, California?

Merced is conveniently accessible by car via major highways, including Highway 99. Additionally, the city has an Amtrak station, making it accessible by train.

How far is Merced from Yosemite National Park?

Merced is located approximately 80 miles from the entrance of Yosemite National Park, making it a convenient base for exploring the park’s wonders.

Are there accommodations near Yosemite National Park?

Yes, you can find lodges and campgrounds both within and near the park for a convenient stay.

Are there any admission fees for Lake Yosemite?

There is a nominal fee for vehicle entry into Lake Yosemite. The fees contribute to the maintenance and preservation of the facilities.

Can I explore Yosemite in a day trip from Merced?

While a day trip is possible, consider staying overnight to fully experience Yosemite’s beauty.

Are there any guided tours of Merced’s attractions?

Yes, you can find guided tours of places like the Castle Air Museum and the university campus.

Is Merced a family-friendly destination?

Absolutely! With its parks, zoo, and interactive museums, Merced offers a range of family-oriented activities.

In Conclusion

We hope that reading this article about the best things to do in Merced was engaging and fun for you. Merced is a place that is quite famous for being close to the Yosemite National Park and many other destinations in California. However, the city also has a number of attractions unique to itself. This post tries to explore these fun filled activities and places to visit in Merced, California.

If reading this article was fun for you, then share it with your fellow travelers. Give us a thumbs up and comment below to let us know your thoughts about it. If you have already been to Merced and would like to share your experience, please feel welcome to do so.

If you are looking for more posts like these, try reading more travel guides across cities in America at our website www.lookuptrips.com. Read about more locations in California such as San Diego, Santa Cruz and Hollywood. You should also check out this article on the best things to do in California.

Thanks for reading and enjoy your travels.

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